IDEA2 Madrid process makes ideas into healthcare technologies
The Madrid-MIT M+Visión Consortium, a partnership between MIT and the government of Madrid, awarded its finalists in the IDEA2 Madrid program on February 26th at the International Institute in Madrid Spain.
The IDEA2 Madrid program is one of the core programs of the M+Visión Consortium’s vision to foster the innovation ecosystem in Madrid by bringing together leaders in science, medicine, engineering, business, and the public sector to accelerate the development of translational research and to encourage entrepreneurship.
The IDEA2 Madrid awards represents the culmination of months of hard work by both the candidates who submitted their research proposals and the “Proposal Catalysts” (or mentors) who over many months guided the research groups through the development of a full proposal for a commercially viable medical device technology.
The ten finalists for the IDEA2 Madrid awards included:
- A new 3D modeling technique for the foot to improve foot surgeries
- Leveraging mobile devices to gain a better picture of cardiovascular health across Europe
- A biofeedback and multichannel brain stimulation platform for promoting more healthy mental states
- An automatic titration device for patients suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- A method for connecting patients to wireless electrodes to facilitate safer, faster, and more comfortable surgeries
- Embedding wearable electronic devices in socks to monitor key parameters in the prevention of complications associated with diabetes mellitus
- A device that measures the mechanical properties in living cells
And the three eventual winners for the IDEA2 Madrid awards:
- The use of augmented reality to help position patients for radiotherapy
- A corneal topographer that can be incorporated into a smartphone
- The development of a nanostructured coating that is both biocompatible and bacteria-inhibiting for orthopedic implants
One of the awardees, José Miguel García-Martín, a scientist at the Institute of Microelectronics in Madrid, explained that the guidance that the mentors provided over the months of development of the project were critical in making it relevant to the healthcare market.
“All the members of our team were either physicists or chemists,” said García-Martín. “So we were assigned mentors that filled the knowledge gap towards a real innovation: they had professional experience in big hospitals, large pharmaceutical companies and investments. Discussing with them was really helpful to focus our research activities and goals.”
For instance, the mentors advised that the primary target should be trauma open fractures because the risk of infection is higher than 10% in these cases and many orthopedic elements are flat or cylindrical, which are the shapes that the nanocoating that the researchers developed can easily handle.
In the case of the nanocoating technology, which was dubbed “Nanoimplant”, a patent application has been made and the researchers are seeking to license the technology to an implant manufacturer.
While the Madrid-MIT M+Visión Consortium has a larger aim of fostering the entire innovation ecosystem in Madrid, programs like IDEA2 Madrid help focus those broader goals down to the individual. A researcher who may have had an idea previously did not have an apparatus to make that vision into a reality. IDEA2 Madrid fills that gap.
“Idea2 is a unique opportunity for turning ideas into real projects,” explained Pablo Perez-Merino, who was one of the other winners for his development of a smartphone-based corneal topographer, dubbed “NiCO”. “Idea2 helped me by creating a network of expertise with financial, clinical and technical professionals, since different profiles are overlapped in NiCO idea. All the catalysts (mentors) showed me how important it is to make your idea understood by everyone and showed me the key aspects of my idea from different points of view.”
Giuesspe Fico, one of the finalists, developed “Smart Sock”, which would help people suffering from diabetes to get early detection of the symptoms of the Diabetic Foot Ulcer (a problem that affect 50 million people worldwide).
Fico found the mentors critical in the development of his project.
“Not only they did the catalysts (mentors) have outstanding experience and astonishing backgrounds in their respective fields of work, but they were as enthusiastic as I was and this motivated me a lot and multiplied my energy and passion in this adventure,” said Fico.
The awards do not stop the ongoing process of IDEA2 Madrid. While a new series of projects will get underway soon, with deadlines for new proposals set for May 4th, 2015, these projects will continue to get support through a network of contacts with the international biomedical community to keep their projects moving forward.