International success - students invent insulin delivery using 3D printing in developing countries

Students from CTU and CU won the international hackathon Hack for Healthcare in Zurich, Switzerland. One of the team members was Ľuboš Repka, a student of the Faculty of Information Technology of CTU and Second Medical Faculty of Charles University in Prague. The goal of the competition was to solve the material shortage in developing countries using 3D printing to enable rapid prototyping. The winning project found an innovative way of cheap and flexible production of insulin pens. Cooperation with Médecins Sans Frontières awaits him.

The students chose the challenge of a 3D printed unit for insulin delivery. Médecins Sans Frontières has been solving insulin administration in developing countries for several years. In 48 hours, the Czech team managed to find a solution by designing a universal insulin pen system that can accommodate any insulin cartridge and needle through the use of 3D printing. The pen is also easily recyclable. The winning team attributes its success in the competition to the diverse skills of its individual members, who were students Ľuboš Repka (FIT CTU and Second Faculty of Medicine CU), Natálie Bodnárová (FA CTU), Vojtěch Petrásek (FEL CTU) and Vasil Kostin (Third Faculty of Medicine CU). The team plans to continue to develop the project so that their proposal can reach those who need it most as soon as possible.

"Design assignment of the insulin pen was a big challenge for us. Chronic complications of diabetes are to some extent preventable, so it is important to find ways to start treatment for everyone as soon as possible. For a patient who does not have access to pumps, insulin pens are a great choice," says Ľuboš Repka, a 6th year student of General Medicine at the Second Medical Faculty of Charles University and also a first year student of the Faculty of Information Technology at the Czech Technical University in Prague.

Immediately following the hackathon, several meetings were held between the winning team and Geneva Médecins Sans Frontières, and based on the outcomes of the meetings, the necessary steps for certification are now being identified, the design is being fine-tuned and the accuracy of the proposed device is being improved. Field testing will follow.

According to the International Diabetes Federation, more than 300 million of the world's 463 million diabetics live in developing countries and the number is expected to increase by 100 million by 2045.

Ľuboš Repka and Vasil Kostin already succeeded with the Smart Trial app and before the Swiss hackathon, they won third place at the European Health Hackathon 2021 with NephroSense, an app that can automatically and accurately measure patients' urine output.

Winning team - from left: Natálie Bodnárová (FA CTU), Vojtěch Petrásek (FEL CTU), Ľuboš Repka (FIT CTU a 2nd FM CU) a Vasil Kostin (3rd FM CU)

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