London high school student wins national science award for an invention that monitors vital signs

The device was designed to better monitor patients in hospital waiting rooms

London high school student Danish Mahmood has won a national award from the Ontario Science Centre for an invention that monitors and wirelessly transmits patient vital signs to healthcare professionals.

The 15-year-old, who attends Central Secondary School, has been presented with the 2018 Weston Youth Innovation Award for a device that assists first responders, paramedics and hospitals to monitor patients’ vital signs.

“I really thought there was a need for something that was really compact and is more user friendly, where you can get all the information from one source. So I developed a small finger senor that uses light absorption techniques to monitor multi-parameter patient vital signs.”

Inspired as a patient

Mahmood says he got the idea as a child who spent long hours in hospital emergency waiting rooms as a low-priority patient.

“Throughout this time I noticed patients were left unmonitored for very long periods of time. And it turns out that there just aren’t enough nurses or medical nurses or medical personnel to keep track of all the patients.”

Mahmood says he observed that this would become a larger problem when hospitals are overwhelmed, for example when first responders are bringing in casualties from a local incident.

Currently, he says, responders and paramedics have to resort to more basic methods such as triaging patients using paper tags and bulky vital sign monitoring devices.

This inspired him to develop a more portable and cost-effective solution.

How it works

His device is known as the Wireless Interconnected Non-Invasive Triage System. It uses a biomedical finger sensor to continuously measure patients’ blood pressure, heart rate, arterial blood oxygen saturation and body temperature.

Patients vital signs are shared wirelessly to an online dashboard accessible to first responders, paramedics and hospital teams, reducing the risk of human error. It also saves time, labour and — ultimately — lives.

Mahmood’s current prototype costs $110 to produce.

Mahmood’s device transmits patients’ vital signs wirelessly to an online dashboard accessible to first responders, paramedics and hospital teams, reducing the risk of human error.

He says the existing market for vital sign monitoring devices is fragmented and doctors have to use different sensors with different techniques to monitor patients.

“So I really think this is going to be a game changer where we’re going to be able to assimilate all these different sensors into one, and to provide a mass information to doctors, as well as an online system which adds connectivity between them and their patients,” said Mahmood.

The Chief Science Officer of the Ontario Science Centre, Dr. Maurice Bitran, said the jury was “inspired by Danish’s dedication, skill and ingenuity in recognizing a problem and developing a cost-effective solution that will assist health professionals to better assess and prioritize patients.”

Mahmood will receive a $2,000 cash prize and will be recognized in an animation that showcases his award-winning device.


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