HOSA Applying For Patent
Bright fluorescent lights shone in their eyes as they stood on the stage. Top ten was already unbelievable. Then the sentence “Third Place is Kayla Berry, Neha Bollam and Kelley Sinning” blasted through the loudspeakers.
Shock ran through seniors Kayla Berry, Neha Bollam and Kelley Sinning as they learned they placed third in Medical Innovation – Original.
After going to the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) National Leadership Conference in Dallas during June 27-30, they are now applying for a patent to make their idea into an actual creation.
For their medical innovation, they created a portable tester for multidrug resistant tuberculosis (TB). Multidrug resistant TB is a form of TB that is resistant to the common medications used to treat this infectious disease. With this portable device, people will be able to self diagnose others with either normal TB or multidrug resistant TB.
Bollam said she was inspired by a video featuring a Stanford University professor. The professor created a centrifuge out of string and a circular piece of cardboard to determine if a person had malaria.
“We also wanted to find something that can be easily used for third world countries who can’t afford the high priced tools we have in America,” Bollam said.
Though there are many illnesses that affect third world countries, they chose TB because it is the most prominent one within those countries.
Bollam said the invention has taught her to think outside of the box more.
“A lot of the inventions we saw at Internationals were new and completely unexpected designs, while our design was an enhancement to a design that already existed,” Bollam said.
Along with that, she learned the importance of teamwork when working on a group project. Having coherent ideas and learning to work with different opinions ensured their process was smooth.
She said her team had many disadvantages compared to others. For example, HOSA is only a club at MHS. Many schools that competed at the conference were STEM oriented and had HOSA as a class, not as a club with about 60 members like MHS’ HOSA. While those students were preparing for their event in class everyday, Bollam’s team only had the weekends and Friday nights to work on their invention.
Lisa Del Pizzo, sponsor of HOSA, said the possibility of HOSA becoming a class is still up in the air.
“It would have to approved by our school board and there would have to be some funding from the district to provide the opportunity for us to pilot the class,” Del Pizzo said.
Del Pizzo is extremely proud of Berry, Bollam and Sinning for not only qualifying for Nationals, but also placing in the top three. Knowing how hard they worked on their project, she said it was a big accomplishment.
For Medical Innovation – Original, teams must create a prototype and deliver a seven-minute presentation. The group had a TB tester originally created from shoeboxes before it was upgraded to a sturdier wood structure.
Berry, said she realized how prevalent of an issue Tuberculosis is when researching about it. The group is currently looking for a lawyer who will work with them pro-bono to apply for a provisional patent, which can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000.
“We really have a lot of faith in our idea, so we wanted to take this opportunity to see if we could make it something real” Berry said.
Sinning said the hardest part of their project was understanding the technology behind their invention. By using a small design for a complex issue, clinics and villages in third world countries will be able to solve tuberculosis faster.
“In the end, our hard work on weekends and Friday nights paid off,” Sinning said.