Skip to main content
International Top 20


MEDMO is a digital healthcare system designed to mitigate the nuisance of managing medical drains and the chance of infections that could be life-threatening.

  • MEDMO wearable device.

  • Explains the inspiration, process, technology, materials and function of the MEDMO system.

    Explains the inspiration, process, technology, materials and function of the MEDMO system.

  • We explored context, material, technology, function and form to create our MEDMO healthcare system.

  • Explosion diagram exploiting materials and function of specific components.

  • MEDMO healthcare application designed for any smart device.

  • Diagram showing the process a user would take using MEDMO healthcare.

What it does

MEDMO is a digital healthcare system designed to mitigate the nuisance of managing medical drains and the chance of infections that could be life-threatening. It monitors fluid levels and notifies patients and caregivers through a wearable device and an app.

Your inspiration

Medical drains are used in hospitals and at home to collect excess fluids, proper management of which is critical especially in postoperative patients. When a team member’s grandmother had a blocked Jackson-Pratt drain after mastectomy surgery, she realized drains require constant attention and can cause serious health problems. Similarly, people in wheelchairs using indwelling urinary catheters face numerous challenges on a daily basis. Studies show that about 43% of users experienced leakage, 31% suffered urinary tract infections and 24% reported a blockage, which can lead to life-threatening complications such as autonomic dysreflexia.

How it works

MEDMO is a smart system that informs the user of a real-time overview of a medical drainage device they use or take care of. Consisting of a wireless fluid monitor, a wearable device and an integrated app, the system accurately measures the amount of fluid that has passed through to the collection container and communicates the information visually as well as tactilely so that the user can see and feel the notifications on their mobile phone and wearable device. Data from the fluid monitor is sent to the wearable device via RF communication between open-source microcontrollers, and a micromotor embedded in the repositionable device provides multilevel vibrations when an important change or an abnormal state, such as an elevated level in the collection container or a blockage, is detected. The app displays detailed information retrieved from the wearable device via Bluetooth, including history of notifications, temperatures, fluid levels and battery use.

Design process

A team member’s grandmother suffered severe issues with a surgical drain following a mastectomy, and a friend told us that her father, who had been paralyzed in an accident, was having constant grief with his urinary catheter. Our research into medical drains revealed most products are astonishingly primitive and they are responsible for innumerable issues including life-threatening complications. We decided to tackle the problem and firstly experimented with a range of sensors to find out the best method of measuring the flow of bodily fluids. As none of them met our needs in terms of accuracy and size, we developed a 3D printed wireless flow sensor that has a resolution of 0.5 ml. We then chose vibrations as our primary method of notification as they are far more recognizable than others such as lights and imagery. The decision guided us to making a unique wearable device that can be placed anywhere on the body comfortably yet securely. We designed a structure that fits nicely under clothing and stays onto the skin. Finally, a vibration motor connected to a microcontroller was implanted into the wearable device and coded to communicate with the flow sensor wirelessly. We also developed a mobile app to help the user manage their drain the easiest way possible.

How it is different

Drain monitoring is currently done by inaccurate visual examination and manual recording of analog data. As far as we are aware, there are no medical aids designed to ease the nuisances and challenges. We concluded that such an outdated paradigm was unacceptable and solved a plethora of issues in one small, compact system, which records fluid levels digitally and provides highly accurate volume measurements. MEDMO gives users more freedom; they do not always need to rely on a nurse or caregiver to help measure their fluid volume. When an aspect of the drain is not functioning properly or a collection container needs to be emptied, an alert is automatically sent to a vibrating wearable device and an app. This feature is particularly useful for elderly, blind or quadriplegic users as they can hardly feel when their collection container is leaking or full. MEDMO gives users more independence and dignity, empowering them to regain control over their own health.

Future plans

MEDMO has the potential to become a more integrated healthcare device that can assist people with more varied conditions. There is opportunity to explore integrating this device with external medical and research services such as Apple Health and Research Kit. Funding would be required to make MEDMO the lightest, smallest size possible. In the future, our team hopes MEDMO will be developed into an approved medical product that can save an immense amount of people from experiencing the pain and side effects of an ill-working drain. We hope to help destigmatize medical drains and catheters by making life easier for those who need them.


End of main content. Return to top of main content.

Select your location