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Rice University team's award-winning device could benefit treatment of hand injuries
Date:7/7/2009

A team of Rice University bioengineering students who invented a device to measure intrinsic hand muscle strength has won two prestigious honors for their patent-pending creation, PRIME. The device could revolutionize the diagnosis and treatment of hand injuries and neurological disorders, specifically carpal tunnel syndrome.

The OrthoIntrinsics team won first place and $10,000 at IShow, an innovation competition for graduate and undergraduate students sponsored by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in Palm Desert, Calif., this June.

They were then named one of five winners in a student design competition sponsored by the National Science Foundation at the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America conference in New Orleans in late June. The top five, unranked, were selected from more than 60 entries.

Graduates Caterina Kaffes, Matthew Miller, Neel Shah and Shuai "Steve" Xu invented PRIME, or Peg Restrained Intrinsic Muscle Evaluator, for their senior project. They are working with the Rice Alliance, which aids early stage technology ventures, and the Jones Graduate School of Business to refine their business plan while validation of the device is under way at two leading Texas Medical Center institutions, the Methodist Hospital and Shriners Hospital for Children.

The challenge presented by Gloria Gogola, an orthopedic hand surgeon specializing in pediatrics, was to create a device that accurately measures intrinsic hand muscles, which allow humans to play a piano or perform any task that requires dexterity and precision.

"Twenty percent of all ER admissions are hand-related," Xu said. "Neuromuscular disorders like spinal cord injuries, Lou Gehrig's, diabetes, multiple sclerosis -- all these diseases affect the intrinsic hand muscles."

For starters, the team is honing in on carpal tunnel syndrome. "U.S. surgeons will perform over 500,000 procedures for carpal
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Contact: David Ruth
druth@rice.edu
713-348-6327
Rice University
Source:Eurekalert  

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