USC Team Earns Spot at the National Academy of Inventors Student Showcase

The Senseer team (left to right): Tuan Hoang (Chief Operating Officer), Ellis Meng (Chief Scientific Officer), Alex Baldwin (Chief Technology Officer), Trevor Hudson, Sascha Lee (Chief Executive Officer), Eugene Yoon. Photo courtesy of Senseer.

A biomedical engineering research team from USC has been selected as one of six student teams nationwide to present at the upcoming National Academy of Inventors (NAI) Student Innovation Showcase in Washington, D.C.

Senseer, developed by USC Viterbi School of Engineering Biomedical Engineering students Alex Baldwin, Trevor Hudson, and Eugene Yoon, will present April 6, 2018 at the showcase, which takes place during the 7th Annual National Academy of Inventors Conference. The team also includes Ellis Meng (Chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering), Tuan Hoang (Biomedical Engineering lecturer), and Sascha Lee, an alumnus of the USC Marshall School of Business.

The Senseer team has developed multi-sensor technology to improve treatment and reduce healthcare costs for hydrocephalus, a chronic condition caused by accumulation of excess fluid in the brain leading to headaches, nausea, incontinence, and even cognitive decline in some cases.

The five other student research teams selected for the national showcase are: OptoDyCE: Optical Dynamic Cardiac Electrophysiology (The George Washington University); AssistENT (Johns Hopkins University); Powered Wrist-Hand Orthosis for Individuals with a Spinal Cord Injury (University of South Florida); and Brise-solette (Virginia Commonwealth University); and AMProtection, LLC: Surface-Tethered Antimicrobial Peptides (Worcester Polytechnic Institute).

According to the Senseer team, the standard clinical treatment for hydrocephalus is to surgically implant a shunt which diverts excess fluid from the brain to the abdomen; however, 40 to 50 percent of shunts fail within the first year of use, and 80 to 90 percent fail within a decade. Repeated expensive imaging studies and invasive shunt taps are currently used to try to monitor shunt performance, but these methods are inadequate.

Senseer is developing a multi-sensor module which can be implanted alongside hydrocephalus shunts. Patients will be able to query the status of their shunt in real time as often as desired in an outpatient setting. All sensor measurements will be uploaded to a secure database, allowing physicians to remotely monitor shunt status and giving them tools for diagnosing or predicting shunt failure.

The National Academy of Inventors (NAI) Student Innovation Showcase is designed to feature the inventions of outstanding student teams across all disciplines, and to recognize and strengthen the culture of inventorship for the next generation. Student teams from NAI Member Institutions, such as the University of Southern California, are invited to submit their inventions each year for the opportunity to present at the Annual Conference of the NAI.

–By USC Stevens Center for Innovation staff, published March 27, 2018