Belgian students win the Texas Instruments prize for innovation


Two Belgian doctorate students from the KUL University of Leuven, technology campus Ghent, won the Texas Instruments Innovation Challenge (TIIC) Europe Analog Design Contest 2014, which is an international competition for electronics students. In doing so, they beat 793 students from 145 universities from 23 countries. Besides the honour of winning is a financial reward of 10,000 dollars.

Together with their professor Nobby Stevens, Stan Wielandt and Bart Thoen designed a prototype of the TIagnose Watch, a device to rapidly measure the medical condition of newborn infants. The wristband is intended for doctors or nursing staff. When they hold it against the skin of a newborn infant, the TIagnose Watch can record, in less than 2 seconds, measurements such as body temperature, bilirubin level and oxygen saturation. These figures can be consulted on the screen of the wristband and are sent wirelessly to the computer.

One of the differentiating technologies in the wristband is the ‘wireless power’ or charging without cables. The utensil does not work with a classic battery, but with a super capacitor, which allows it to be charged in a mere 5 seconds. This technology can only store a small amount of energy. However, as the wristband only works when held against the baby's skin and is otherwise turned off, this does not create a problem.

For the moment, there are no plans to commercialise the device, but in principle this is possible, should there be interest from a company.