UW News

October 24, 2016

HCDE professor’s invention wins Popular Science 2016 ‘Best of What’s New’ award

This simple IV drip device from Shift Labs, founded by UW HCDE professor Beth Kolko, won 2016 “Best of What’s New” Award from Popular Science.

This simple IV drip device from Shift Labs, founded by UW HCDE professor Beth Kolko, won 2016 “Best of What’s New” Award from Popular Science.Shift Labs

An IV drip technology developed by Shift Labs, founded by University of Washington Human Centered Design and Engineering Professor Beth Kolko, has been recognized by Popular Science with a 2016 “Best of What’s New” Award.

The magazine recognized the company’s DripAssist Infusion Rate Monitor, a simple, compact device that clips to any IV drip to monitor the rate at which medication or fluids are delivered.

IV infusions are one of the most common medical procedures in the world, but leading infusion technologies that are suitable for U.S. hospitals aren’t the right fit for fast-growing healthcare sectors elsewhere in the world.

Read about a UW and Microsoft DNA data storage project, another 2016  “Best of What’s New” Award winner.

The battery-powered DripAssist differs from more expensive and complicated infusion technologies like IV pumps by allowing clinicians to easily set doses of gravity drips and providing continuous monitoring to ensure safe dosing.

The device was recognized as one of the “12 most important health innovations of the year” by Popular Science, where the citation read: “In developing countries or military outposts, nurses often count IV fluids drop by drop to ensure medicine flows into a vein at the proper rate. Infusion pumps common in hospitals are expensive, large, and require electricity. The DripAssist is a stripped-down, compact infusion monitor that runs on a single AA battery.”

Shift Labs is also pioneering ways to integrate human centered design principles into all aspects of a medical device startup, said CEO Kolko, principles developed through her work in the UW HCDE department. The company has discovered that there are plenty of clinicians in the U.S. who want a simple infusion technology, too, and the DripAssist design makes it easy for anyone to use.

“We’re especially excited about the Popular Science award because it serves as recognition for what great design can accomplish in the medical space,” Kolko said. “We’ve built a product that is helping nurses in Haiti provide safer labor and delivery for mothers and, at the same time, is helping a hospital in North Carolina deliver better platelets to pediatric cancer patients. That’s global impact.”

For more information, contact Kolko at beth@shiftlabs.com.