The third annual Medical Device Make-a-Thon held on February 26-28, 2021 was an exciting and successful intercollegiate engineering competition event. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s event was held virtually. However, previous years’ number of registrants were surpassed with 15 teams comprised of more than 70 university students from schools all over Texas. They competed to develop a solution for the prevention, treatment, or recovery for traumatic brain injury. With less than 48 hours, these bright engineering students utilized CAD, engineering coursework and teamwork to design and pitch their device to a panel of judges in the professional biomedical field. The top ten teams 3D-printed their prototype and presented their business models in the second round.
The Make-a-Thon aims to provide engineering students with hands-on experience using CAD and the design process in preparation for their capstone senior design project. For the last two years, the event has been hosted by The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). Students have the opportunity to prototype their device using the Makerspace Lab on campus, as well as resources from the College on Engineering Student Success Center. Utilizing 3D-printing, laser cutting, and other prototyping techniques, the teams work to turn their designs into a functional device to present to industry professionals from the rapidly expanding San Antonio Medical Community. This unique experience brings a long-lasting impact on participants. This Make-a-Thon would not have been this fruitful without the support from the UTSA College of Engineering, the UTSA chapter of the Biomedical Engineering Society, and companies from the biomedical industry sector.