Innovation Gateway


A special thank you to all the experts who came and spoke with the various students participating in the Design Sprint!

Below we have included a list of the experts and the problems that they brought up!

  • Jenay Beer, Gerontology Researcher

    1. Older adults are a high risk group for COVID-19.  1 major concern for them, beyond higher risk of severe symptoms, is the negative effects of social isolation due to social distancing.  Older adults who experience social isolation and loneness are at higher risk of depression and decreased well-being.  Some work should be done designing technology interventions so they are user-friendly, accepted/adopted by older adults, and actually meet their needs.  You can hand an older adult a technology intervention, but unless it is designed for them, and with them (i.e., include them in the design process!) they will not adopt it.  A brilliant researcher can create the most innovative and impactful technology possible, but if grandma does not like it, it will end up stored and forgotten in a drawer or closet.
  • Karen Burg, Biomedical Engineering Researcher

    1. COVID-19 was transmitted from an animal to a human originally, and recent cases suggest that it can also potentially be transmitted from humans to animals. How can we balance animal and human health and protect the clinicians working in the veterinary hospitals under these emergency conditions?
  • Tim Burg, Biomedical Engineering Researcher

    1. How can I effectively decontaminate my mask after returning home from visiting the grocery store? Are there washing bags, innovations, or even a set of instructions or guidelines explaining how to properly take off your PPE and place it in your washing machine?
  • Mary Beth Cole, Social Service Provider

    1. Most local social service agencies have recently closed due to COVID-19, and many members of the homeless and unsheltered populations in our community now lack access to water and are unable to shower. How can we provide this service while practicing social distancing in a sanitized manner?
    2. Creature Comforts produced glass bottles containing hand sanitizer. How can we convert these glass bottles to something that is more portable without comprising its integrity?
    3. If you are a non-filer of taxes, there is an online IRS portal you can use to acquire funding through the COVID-19 stimulus relief package, but the computers in the public libraries providing Wi-Fi are no longer available. How can one access this portal during a pandemic while also practicing social distancing responsibly?
  • Len DeRamus, Healthcare Simulation Educator

    1. Social distancing has created problems with medical simulations and skilled training that often require hands-on experiences. How can we create virtual simulations to present to students? This training is typically conducted one-on-one or practiced using a technical device or lap equipment. This training becomes more challenging when you’re trying to learn skills outside of the lab that you would typically learn in a lab setting. Are there innovations or technologies that could help mitigate these problems?
  • John Drake, Ecological Modelling Researcher

    1. How can we effectively and efficiently scale up contact tracing for COVID-19? How can we adequately and remotely train a mobile workforce necessary for contact tracing? Contact tracing relies on individuals being able to recall their previous interactions. What tools are available to assist in obtaining this information from people whose memories may be diminished? There is an expectation of privacy in the U.S. How can the nation enact public policy changes and develop new technologies that allow for the appropriate sharing of anonymous private information that complies with HIPAA?
  • Lewis Earnest, Emergency Room Physician

    1. Exposure of viral particles to healthcare practitioners is a significant challenge and risk. Is it possible to develop a better seal or mechanism that prevents viral particles from escaping?
  • Dustin Gannon, Paramedic/Firefighter/Army Captain

    1. How can we address the scarcity of PPE and N95 respiratory masks across the globe? Is it possible to create a replaceable filtration system that can be quickly and effectively sanitized and sterilized?
    2. Creating an enclosed system for nebulized drug delivery for COVID patients during transport and holding at the hospital to prevent coronavirus spread for the safety of paramedics and other patients and healthcare professionals in the Emergency Department.
  • Dan Geller, Small Business Owner

    1. How are essential businesses and companies managing and balancing safe social distancing practices while also successfully pursuing their organizational goals?
    2. Self-employed individuals are having a difficult time applying for grants and loans through the COVID-19 economic relief opportunities. Is it possible to design an app that could help explain and address the types of business documents required for the stimulus funding?
    3. Individuals employed by other companies may be essential to the critical infrastructure of your company and need to periodically enter and exit your company building or office. How can businesses coordinate this type of personnel entering and exiting their buildings, while informing them of any sanitary or social distancing rules or guidelines?
  • Steve Harris, Emergency Preparedness Director

    1. Is there an opportunity to learn from other countries and communities across the globe that are reconnecting, reintegrating, and returning to society, specifically within higher education? Are there any lessons or “best practices” that we could learn from their experiences?
  • Lydia Moss, Veterinary Research Technician

    1. One problem is having to reuse veterinary medical masks. Is it possible to create a mask that can protect each other without frightening any animals?
  • Lisa Renzi Hammond, Gerontology Researcher

    1. Social isolation itself can be fatal for older adults. How do you know if and when it is safe to visit with an older adult and break quarantine? How do we know when it will be safe to change social distancing guidelines? Is there a technology or solution to ascertain remotely the well-being of an older adult?
  • Kenneth Rosenthal, Immunology Researcher

    1. One of the biggest problems is that COVID-19 can be spread through aerosols and fill up a relatively large space. Is it possible to develop an aerosol-related solution to disinfect a space that has been occupied, or is currently being occupied, by people?
    2. How can we develop a rapid means to determine if someone has developed antibodies or antigens to the virus and is thus safe from future exposure?