A robotic machine that provides safety from dangerous needle pricks for doctors and other hospital employees.
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Date You Started Your Project Started
Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.
Idea (hoping to get started in the future)
1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?
The problem we are considering is the improper disposal of sharps, more particularly needles, and the implications it can have to those, such as doctors, sanitation workers, and children, who get pricked by them. Some risks include HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, tetanus, and in rare cases tuberculosis or malaria. This is a huge problem worldwide and is not only limited to hospital employees, as these diseases can spread rapidly through human interactions.
2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.
The solution to our problem is a simple machine that automatically disposes of needles, called BioBot. Through BioBot, we hope to prevent needle pricks and dangerous diseases (transmitted through needle pricks) in a hospital setting. BioBot is essentially a state-of-the-art machine, equipped with numerous sensors that work to prevent people from getting pricked by needles when disposing of them in sharps containers. We hope to incorporate an app, artificial intelligence, and sensors to make this process actually happen. The sensors will basically detect and notify the user of the app when the Biobot is full and needs to be disposed. Then the user of the app will send the Biobot information regarding the location of the trashcan (similar to a gps) through a bluetooth device. Lastly, the Biobot will use an artificial intelligence machine to navigate its way to the trash can, detecting sharp edges and corners. This relatively straightforward machine will prevent many infections transmitted through needle pricks in the hospital environment once we have executed it.
3. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?
Several peoples' lives have changed just through a prick of a used needle. Needle pricks are one of the leading causes of many blood-borne diseases, and this is especially true in hospital settings. During one of my doctor's visit, I was very intrigued as to why the needle she used to give me a shot was disposed in a special box. The doctor told me that since it was a sharp object that went through my blood, it may be dangerous if someone else gets poked by it. When I told her I thought that was really nice, she told me that it is actually potentially dangerous to doctors and other hospital employees since they are more likely to get pricked once it gets full or needs to be taken out. This shocked me because such a good idea has very counter intuitive effects. It was at that point that I felt a new idea needed to be in place to help sustain the efforts being made for safe needle disposal
4. Selfie Elevator Pitch: Include 1-minute video that answers the following “I am stepping up to make change because...”
5. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.
If hospitals become associated with our project, they have will have a much more efficient and safe way to dispose of used needles. Since BioBot will be able to detect when bio hazardous waste and sharps containers are full, it will eliminate the risk for anyone taking out the trash that contain the sharps. Additionally, doctors who throw out their sharps in the hazardous containers do not know to what depth the container is full. This may cause them to accidentally put their hand too deep in the container resulting in them getting pricked. Through the use of BioBot, a doctor could avoid getting pricked by a needle which would then allow them to avoid possible infections. If hospitals choose to use BioBot, these problems will be eliminated to the highest degree and will result in less infections transmitted via the blood throughout the community.
6. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?
BioBot is a unique idea that uses a different approach, because it is a simple way of addressing a huge medical concern. Most projects regarding an Artificial Intelligence enhanced disposal system, simply dispose waste at homes, but none so far actually prevent needle-borne illnesses using a technology driven bio hazard waste container. Therefore, the uniqueness of our idea makes it stand out, especially in the hospital because not only does it help prevent against numerous infections caused by a needle prick, but it is an innovative solution that has never been explored.
7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?
Since our project is still in the idea stage, we have not yet been able to spread this idea throughout our community. In the future we plan on talking to several hospitals around our area to help us test this device during our execution stage. Since BioBot has no significant ethical considerations, we can easily ask hospitals to test this out, of course after we confirm that this device itself works and is safe to use. We also plan on reaching out to more prominent organizations such as NIH to spread the BioBot throughout hospitals globally. Once it becomes successful throughout hospitals, we can then collaborate with research labs, including college chemistry and biology labs. BioBot would be a great help for college students and lab researchers when they break glass and need to efficiently dispose of it.
8. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?
In the future we hope to program this robot using three components: Artificial Intelligence, app development, and equipping BioBot with sensors. For the AI aspect, we hope to use an unsupervised training model using NLP to program the robot to actually move. In addition, we are planning to use LIDAR sensors (similar to those used in self driving cars) to sense corners and edges. Then, we hope to use an app that connects to the BioBot via bluetooth connection in order for the user to get a message when the BioBot is full and tell it where to dispose of the medical waste. The last physical component that we hope to build in the future is equipping the BioBot with sensors to detect when it is full.
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