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Meet Saud Sunba - Our 2018/19 BSA Innovation Award Winner!

Saud Sunba is a 20-year-old, third year Honours Biological Sciences student and 2019’s BSA Innovation award recipient. His work in creating an innovation, along with his teammates, portrayed his creativity within the realms of science and we wanted to share a little bit more about Saud and his interesting innovation.

During his participation in Innovation 4 Health’s Hackathon last year, Saud and his teammates, Linh Lam, Sanchit Chopra, Nameerah Wajahat, and Emily Hannah worked together under the direction of Dr. Joel Fox to solve an interesting problem.

“There are approximately 1000 monitor beds in Calgary, and they all have a connection to an electrocardiogram machine to measure heart readings. This is crucial in all departments of the hospital but because of emergencies that arise sporadically these cables often need to be removed very quickly and are often ripped out.”

This can cause discomfort to the patient and was an area that Saud and his engineer teammates set out to optimize. As he described it, it was “Not a life or death type of problem but still an inconvenience that can be fixed.”

Over the span of a couple months, Saud and his team brainstormed various ways they could tackle this problem. Their approach was “Feasibility, Usability, and Implication in the health care system.” in working to identify the best solution. the team encountered design problems as they tried to take into account things like heavy duty cleaning, quality of materials, functionality and minimization of cost. The struggles they faced were essential to their innovation process. This lead them to find a simple solution in the span of 24 hours under the pressure of the competition.

“A simple mechanism, heat shrink tubes. When heat is applied it shrinks down, [so we] put it over and shrunk it around the cable; which doesn’t affect the actual cable.”

The solution proposed by Saud and his colleagues was a feasible modification, even more so than their initial proposals, that could easily be applied to pre-existing cables for easy implementation.

Saud applies the notion of innovation even in his day to day life, incorporating into his research the same principles of the importance of failure and what it means in the scientific process of creation.

“Knowing that you fail a lot was a good mentality to have. [It is] frustrating but it’s all part of the process of knowing that you just need to devise your idea a little bit better.

Getting a negative, non-significant result in science doesn’t mean that what you did was down the drain, it could show the next person or even yourself that “ok that avenue just doesn’t work, let’s try new avenues.” [It] doesn’t mean you should stop and that your ideas are worthless, it’s definitely helpful to an extent and that’s exactly what we ended up doing.”

The idea of innovation is often allocated to fields like technology, but the BSA wants to highlight students like Saud that are working to incorporate their scientific knowledge to create new products that can be implemented in the future. We look forward to hearing from more students in the future that are working to create in the field of science!

Congratulations Saud!

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