The CHEO Research Institute and TECHi are collaborating with a number of innovators and companies at various stages of product development. Here are some of the innovative projects we have been in a part of:
CHEO Bears’ Den
TECHi hosted an innovation pitch event called the CHEO Bears’ Den in November 2022 that offered researchers, innovators and start-ups the opportunity to pitch their product ideas and innovations, which aimed to support and improve children’s health care. Watch the event highlight video here! Learn more about the CHEO Bears’ Den and read the 2022 news release.
CHEO has been working with 3D printing company PolyUnity since 2021 to provide in-house 3D printed parts at zero user cost. At present, CHEO has collaborated with PolyUnity to build replacement parts for healthcare equipment within the hospital.
3D printing reduces the cost and complexity of traditional healthcare procurement. Their technology is helping to build supply chain resiliency and reduce supply chain carbon footprint. It enables healthcare providers and their networks to design, access and produce what they need on-demand to optimize workflow.
More than 600 PolyUnity 3D printed parts are already in use across CHEO and the CHEO RI. In the following two success stories, PolyUnity delivered within 48 hours of the initial request.
Test tube racks to improve lab workflow
A researcher in the CHEO Research Institute, presented PolyUnity with a concept that would improve workflow in the labs. Within 48 hours, three unique test tube racks were combined into a single piece of equipment, which allows for faster access to vials, single-handed transport between stations, and individualized markings and colors for user/material differentiation.
Getting emergency stretchers back into service
The Biomedical Department of CHEO contacted PolyUnity with an urgent request – they needed to repair a hammock that sits on an airplane stretcher. The existing clamps used to attach equipment were causing damage to the hammock’s bed material, meaning CHEO had to put an otherwise perfectly functional stretcher out of service. Replacing the hammock would cost $600 with a two-month lead time, resulting in the equipment being grounded until the hammock could be replaced.
Within an hour, PolyUnity had a printed prototype and was able to complete delivery within three hours of the initial request.
SHOEBOX Ltd., an Ottawa-based technology start-up, is combining audiological and technical expertise to design and manufacture innovative medical-grade devices. Small enough to fit in a shoebox, Dr. Matthew Bromwich, a CHEO otolaryngologist, invented a tablet-based audiometer which enables more testing, by more people, in more locations.
Dr. Bromwich’s invention of a portable audiometer is the result of a need he saw through his patients and their families at CHEO, whose journey to the hospital is one both timely and costly. SHOEBOX makes hearing testing cheaper, faster and easily accessible for thousands of school-aged children and their families wherever they are located.
SHOEBOX has since been implemented at other hospitals and research institutes such as the Bruyère Research Institute where researchers noticed an influx of patients experiencing undiagnosed hearing loss which negatively impacted their ability to interact with clinicians. Since then, every new admission to the Geriatric Rehabilitation Unit at Bruyère is given both a ‘pocket talker’ and a SHOEBOX QuickTest hearing assessment to aid them during their visit.
Reusable Masks: An EcoEquitable X Dessius Collaboration – “The Ottawa Mask”
The CHEO’s Research Institute co-designed a reusable mask and sought to scale this product to be available for the Ottawa community, with emphasis on a design suitable for children and youth. The general public in Ottawa had to choose between single-use, not environmentally friendly hospital grade surgical masks or re-usable, cloth masks which often had poor filtration efficiency (averaging 30%).
A key step was connecting with both EcoEquitable, an Ottawa-based not-for-profit that provides women with sewing job/employment opportunities with a focus on recycling and sustainability, and Dessius, a textile consultancy in Calgary. The mask has completed filtration and resistance testing (National Research Council), fit testing and a satisfaction survey at CHEO. Available data* indicates that the mask does not just meet, but exceeds the standards set by American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). Importantly, the mask is safe to reuse making it environmentally friendly (filter demonstrated high efficiency when new (88%), with minimal loss following repeated washing (>70%).
On the horizon
The following companies are in a preliminary stage of working with the TECHi program. There are some exciting opportunities with these innovators as we continue to collaborate on making a positive impact on pediatric health care.
HyliDx is an Ottawa-based medical diagnostics startup that develops new technology and sensors for safe and effective at home blood assessment. By integrating advanced engineering, artificial intelligence, and secure cloud services in real time, HyliDx is able to care for critical illnesses anywhere.
HyliDX participated at the inaugural CHEO Bears’ Den event held in November 2022 and was the recipient of $10,000 of in-kind support for research and validation of their product.
Dot Mind Unlocked
Dot Mind Unlocked is a tech hardware startup offering a data driven approach to mental health. Using their DOT Headset that reads brainwaves and uses Artificial Intelligence technology to personalize therapy, Dot Mind Unlocked is helping to diagnose and treat ADHD with the help of neurofeedback-based technology.
Cavenwell AI is an Artificial Intelligence startup focused on AI explainability. Their software is capable of consuming arbitrary data sets and learning the best possible theory from them. Users can interact with the theory by posing hypotheses and goals to the AI. Cavenwell AI looks to provide support systems to Clinicians and Administrators that put them first, empowering them with the most advanced AI.
If you have an innovative idea or question about our program please contact us. We’re always looking to learn about, and collaborate on, new ideas to drive forward health care innovation.
Reach out to us at [email protected].