Dr. Randy Trumbower’s Students at GA Tech Win 2012 InVenture Prize


Dr. Randy Trumbower, Assistant Professor in the Division of Physical Therapy, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at Emory, as well as, Program Faculty in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology mentored a team of talented undergraduate students in Georgia Tech’s BME 4602 Capstone Design class toward a first place finish in the highly competitive InVenture Prize.

Team members Daphne Vincent, Alkindi Kibria, Elizabeth LeMar and Kunal Dean MacDonald of the Re-Hand project, a software-assisted, home-use hand assessment and rehabilitation device, won the 2012 InVenture Prize in front of a live television audience at the Ferst Center for the Arts. “It was amazing,” said Re-Hand team member Daphne Vincent, who graduated in December of 2011 with a degree in biomedical engineering. “We are so excited. We now have our first investment and will be able to get our invention into the hands of the people who really need it.”

The project’s design is based on the fact that loss of hand function is a debilitating consequence of neurologic injury and often results in significant reduction in functional independence. The manifestation of hand impairments following an injury to the nervous system (i.e., weakness and limited finger coordination) often lead to hand deformity and lost function. Unfortunately, there are no known stand-alone devices that can quantify changes in individual finger strength and coordination, which can acquire finger strength and position data, display visual feedback, as well as, adapt to the hands of patients with a broad range of impairments. Thus, the purpose of this project is to design/develop a strength assessment device that can quantify the restoration of finger strength in a heterogenous population of persons with neurologic injury. Students gained experience in mechanical design, programming, prototyping/testing of medical instrumentation, human experimentation, neuromuscular physiology, and clinical care of persons with a broad range of impairments.

The project started as a BMED 4602 CAPSTONE DESIGN class at Georgia Tech. For one year, students worked with Dr. Randy Trumbower on the design and development of a stand-alone hand assessment device. Dr. Trumbower oversaw the design process and provided mentorship to the students. Students completed a working prototype of the device in Dec 2011. The device finished 3rd place in the 2011 Capstone competition and 1st place in the 2012 InVenture Competition. The students recently submitted the project to the 2012 Popular Mechanics competition.