Photo illustration of students brainstorming

Student engineers win Saint-Gobain design contest

Medical invention for polyp retrieval wins $10K prize

A team of students who developed a “Polyp Retrieval System” for medical procedures was the winner of a $10,000 prize in the 10th annual Saint-Gobain Student Design Competition at the Tinkham Veale University Center April 10.

The winning team was composed of Jasmine Sondhi, Rajiv Trehan, Doe Choi, Chao-yi Lu and Sebastian Pino-Peralta.

The runnerup was “Thinking Caps,” a team of Ellen Walter, Neil Chavan, Ian Parker, Adam Maraschky and Becca Segel. They’re developing an ultra-capacitor battery system designed to make renewable energy accessible 24/7 and consumer-friendly by extending battery life.

Third place was “Lumen Polymer,” a team of  Donghui Li and Zhe Ren. Their team is developing a bandage that removes easily when the adhesive is treated with ultraviolet light.

Prizes were $3,000 for second place and $2,000 for third place.

Saint-Gobain logo

The student inventors had worked with mentors from the French-based multinational company to develop and build “prototypes using materials that help create great living spaces and help improve daily life by combining comfort and sustainability,” according to the rules for the event.

“This competition is a unique opportunity for students to apply their studies to unsolved problems and build the next generation of materials solutions,” said Julia DiCorleto, director of Saint-Gobain Research North America.  “We are proud to give students the chance to bring their ideas to fruition through mentorship and real-world experience.”

Among the other teams this year were:

  • Vaccine Backpack: A custom-designed, lightweight backpack optimized for health care workers serving remote villages in developing countries.
  • Simple Bake: A polymer that helps safely dispose of needles at health care facilities in developing countries.
  • Combined Net Snare: A single-step net snare designed to simplify polyp removal during a colonoscopy, protecting patient health and saving time for doctors.
  • Suspen Sure: A smart, Internet of Things-connected delivery box designed to ensure transplant organs stay healthy during transport so more lives can be saved.

The Case School of Engineering has partnered with Saint-Gobain, which designs, manufactures and distributes building and high-performance materials, over the last decade as part of an overall commitment to student innovation and entrepreneurship.

The competition also is open to Case Western Reserve students from its Weatherhead School of Management and from the industrial design program at Cleveland Institute of Art.

With teams composed of students from different disciplines, the program welcomes an interdisciplinary approach—and team success is often driven by diversity of thought.

The competition also encourages engineering innovation within a business context by having interdisciplinary teams develop prototypes of novel ideas and assess their inventions for marketability, profitability and patentability. 

“This competition is an ideal fit for the ecosystem of innovation that has been nurtured and grown at Case Western Reserve,” said Venkataramanan “Ragu” Balakrishnan, the Charles H. Phipps Dean of Engineering and a professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. “Our educational approach includes a commitment to introducing all students to the merits of teamwork, innovation and entrepreneurial thinking, and this allows them to bring those lessons to life.”