Innovation Creation Series Make-A-Thon Hosted by McGuire Assistive Technologies

Over 100 engineers, designers and students, some as young as 10 years old, converged on the McGuire VA Medical Center with one common goal. Parlay their love of engineering and design into workable solutions to daily problems for Veterans.

The Ipsos Girls Lounge. A place for women to network.

The day began with registrations and several presentations to explain the VA's mission of providing healthcare to millions of Veterans at over 1700 sites of care across the country

Presidential Innovation Fellow, and Innovation Creation Series project manager, Andrea Ippolito welcomes the exuberant crowd of engineers to the Make-A-Thon July 28. 

Following introductions, a panel of Veterans had the opportunity to personally challenge the teams for solutions to some everyday problems.

"For me, I don't think there is a better thank you that you could give me." - Veteran Eric Young

Veteran Eric Young lost his right arm in an accident. He emplored the packed room of motivated minds to help him get back on his Harley Davidson motorcycle so he could go ride out to his daughter in California. The Innovation Creation used his challenge, to create a novel prosthesis terminal device that could be worn daily.

"I came here to help any Veterans I could. We are like family." - Veteran Kim Matthews

Veteran Kim Matthews became emotional when speaking of the simple things in life, which is also a key focus area of this challenge...unique issues Women Veterans have getting dressed, applying makeup and wearing high heels. Matthews has a hand tremor that makes it nearly impossible to apply makeup. Something she likes to do to get her confidence and feel good about herself. Her challenge of dampening an essential tremor was also met head-on by the inspired participants.

Army Sergeant Lisamarie Wiley used the entire stage during her appeal to the design teams.

Army Sergeant Lisamarie Wiley lost her leg below the knee from a bomb blast in Pain Kalay, Afghanistan. She has been provided many prostheses for different occasions, including sports. That selection also created her problem. Instead of a prosthetic socket for each attachment, she wanted the ability to use a single socket which could be quickly connected to different attachments via a custom quick-release interface.

The teams were then free to form, connect, and network their ideas to begin the design process.

Team Duck and Cover from First Robotics
Team e-Nable. Representative Peter Binkley is adamant about open sourcing. He worked on a shoulder harness for the Make-A-Thon.

Alain Regis, mentors a group of young designers on a CAD program. There were professionals facilitating progress for the teams in several disciplines.

Team Crew 2013

Team Spline decided to tackle Lisamarie's coupling problem.

Day 2 

After the teams delivered their design pitches, received mentoring from McGuire clinical staff, commercial engineers and designers and 3-D printing tips from 3-D Systems and Stratasys, the teams had five hours to make adjustments to designs and get their submissions printed.

The participants ranged from 10 years old, to the very senior, but all had a common purpose: Solving problems for Veterans.

In addition to the participants, there were many agencies and individuals assisting the teams with their builds like e-Nable, Ipsos, 3–D Systems and Stratasys. They brought 3-D printers, prototypes to use as models, and most importantly, mentorship like the individuals from the McGuire prosthetics lab, and the hosts of the event, Assistive Technology.

A collection of prototypes and 3-D printing technology provided by Stratasys..

Besides solving problems for Veterans, the participants were able to expand their horizons through collaboration between young and old, novice and professional and Veteran and civilian.

Soldier Lisamarie Wiley goes over her problem with a design team.
Edward McCarron, MD, came with an idea derived from treating a previous patient. He took advantage of the technological expertise at the Make-A-Thon and paired it with his medical background.
A participant seeks the advice of e-Nable designer and educator Peter Binkley.

And the winner is.....

Google, who provided $26,000 in prize money, was part of the selection panel that included executives from Toyota and GE. Here is a list of the award winners:

Team Spline with their coupler design. They were awarded the $20,0000 overall Google prize which was given to the winners of the GrabCad as well as Make-A-Thon challenges. Team Spline is: Matthew Kelly, Mihir Shelke, Jason Suh, Ausvin Khanna and Matt Baker and VA McGuire staff member Rod Goode.
Iris Lin and Kaila Grenier (not pictured), and their glucose tester. They won 1st Place and $2000 at the McGuire Make-A-Thon. Their motivation was to assist Veterans with comorbid conditions.
Joe Sigrin, Matt Brown and Joel Hemphill, took home 2nd Place, and $1000 with their prototype "Camo Cup." The design helps with flow regulation for people with dysphagia.
"Make-up Glove," submitted by Eric Lara, Sara Um and Carl Lewenhaupt (Team MAAG) the team's submission addressed one of the challenges introduced in Palo Alto, California. That challenge was dampening an essential tremor when a Veteran is performing fine motor tasks. Their submission took the, "Girl's Lounge Personalized Prosthetic +Assistive Technology for Women Challenge" award.
Team Drug Pushers won the $1000 "Pillbox Challenge," with their combination water bottle/pillbox. The team consists of Collin Mister, Iris Lin, Sarah Canafax and team lead, Carey Pohanka, from St. Christopher's School.
Dr. Edward McCarron was awarded the $1000 Google prize for his entry in the "Grip Strength + Speed Upper Extremity Prosthetic Challenge."
Team Duck and Cover took home the Spotlight Award, recognizing the best "Under 18" team. The First Robotics members were: Lacey Kelly, David and Hannah Hassouna, Eric and Lauren Silvester and Thomas Proffitt. They developed a coupler for prosthetic devices.

Congratulations to the winners, and all of the participants. Not only Veterans, but all patients will benefit from your curiosity, creativity and determination. Many of the projects created will be placed in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) 3-D Print Exchange for other "Innovative Creators" to pick up and advance in the future. Take a look at some of the other submissions...

"Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower" - Steve Jobs
Created By
Steven Goetsch
Photos Courtesy of: Steve Goetsch & Jason Miller Special thanks to: Google, Stratasys, 3-D Systems, GE, Ipsos, Toyota and all of the other outstanding sponsors and supporters of this event and the VA.

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.