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BME alumni Conrad Dear, a second-year medical student at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU), has developed a unique monitoring device for neonatal tracheostomy patients, the “TrachTracker.”

This device stemmed from his senior design project as a BME major at NC State University, where he investigated and prototyped the TrachTracker with four other engineering students. They met with doctors and nurses from the NC Children’s Airway Center and the team won the i4 Competition sponsored by the Joint BME Department. “Our university really believed in us,” says Dear. The team decided to use the prize money to pay patent lawyer fees and continue prototyping.

The TrachTracker is currently undergoing utility patent approval. The device reads muscle activity off the neck, as well as heart rate. When the electrical readings from these two signals form the right combination, a computer algorithm recognizes it and produces an alert. The computer will output a message to the parents to let them know that their child is in a state of distress and needs some attention or comfort. Congrats to Conrad Dear and his team! To read the full article, visit the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) blog here.

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