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National Runner Up

UVify

UVify is a compact, add-on, integrated and automatic disinfection device for active cleansing of stethoscope diaphragms which is engineered for the busy medical personnel on-the-go.

What it does

Healthcare professionals usually do not have an effective way to clean stethoscope diaphragms between medical visits. Infectious diseases could be transmitted from a prior patient. UVify involves smart automatic stethoscope disinfection using UV light system.


Your inspiration

We learned from site visits and attachment in hospitals and further research that doctors, nurses, and other medical assistants do not effectively clean the diaphragm of their stethoscopes between medical visits. Typical cleansing by alcohol swab is often neglected as is very time-consuming and inefficient. Therefore, the stethoscope diaphragm is heavily contaminated and this leaves each and every patient at risk of exposing to pathogens of infectious diseases transmitted from a prior patient. We were thinking of smart and simple technology to help doctors to clean the stethoscope so as to reduce infection risks without consuming time.


How it works

The technology involved is simple and smart. Capable of inactivating multi-pathogens, highly compatible, non-disruptive, and non-cytotoxic. We use far UV-C light with a specific range of frequency of around 260 nm as our main purifying agent. Because it is an anti-carcinogenic ray with a mixture of Kr-Cl gas, we succeeded to remove the concerns related to catalytic skin issues. As for the device itself, we are using a single chip control unit to connect our chain of lights, with a durable, non-corrosive outer shell that will be able to not only sterilize, but to protect stethoscopes. The outer shell is always extended out when not being used, lifting the head far from where it usually exposes. When the stethoscope is in used during medical consultation, its shell will automatically lift up, exposing the head for diagnosis. Once the consultation is finished, the shell will extend back, and the UV will light up to give the head a disinfection bath for 60s.


Design process

The first prototype was built with an extendable outer shell actuated by a mini motor. LEDs were used to demo the UV light at the bottom of the shell, where it can shoot the light to the stethoscope head for sterilization. The success of demonstrating the proof of concept made us enter the next stage of development. While conducting research and investigation, we designed different devices that are compact to the single head and double head stethoscopes respectively. The device for a single head can be easily installed on the top of the head. We designed the second device as a wrap to adjust the double head stethoscope. To embed all the components and units around the stethoscope, a compromise on battery live was made to ensure the integration of the device. We gave the prototype to a few doctors in local hospitals and medical schools to test around and the preliminary feedback was positive. After getting user feedback and a few iterations, we are approaching the final design. The lifting shell will be redesigned by replacing the actuation motors with adjustable springs, which will make the interface simpler and better. After the finalization of the prototype, it will be further tested for safety and quality as well as a clinical trial.


How it is different

The use of UV light sanitizer is well known and its application in stethoscope is still limited. While some prior art disclose UV light sanitizers being adapted for stethoscope which fulfill their particular objectives, it is noticed that none of them disclose sanitizers which can be integrated to the stethoscope itself (no external device is required); and none of them disclose that the whole sanitization is automatic to the extent that no extra step or attention is needed from the user. As such, there apparently still exists the need for integrated UV light sanitizers for use with stethoscopes, and in this respect, the present invention substantially fulfills this need. Our present invention generally comprises an integrated self-disinfection accessory for stethoscope which is an extendable device designed to simultaneously sanitize the stethoscope diaphragm during periods of non- usage.


Future plans

R&D We continue to optimize the prototype through user experience from potential customers and laboratory/ clinical trials. Partnership has been developed with local clinical departments and medical schools. Business We will be operating in Hong Kong and China markets after our successful patent application and product finalization. We are now participating in different competitions and incubations to learn from challenges and expert sharings. We will also reach out to manufacturing partners for collaboration and supply chain optimization, and raise funds from investors.


Awards

Champion in the MedTech Hackathon 2019, HKU-Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation-Stanford University International Top 10, HKSTP Elevator Pitch 2019 Elevator Pitch Award, HKUST-Sino One Million Dollar Entrepreneurship Competition 2020 Selected for “Science and Technology Entrepreneur Programme”, HKSTP


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