Ph.D. student Rahil Jain and his team were awarded a Third Prize at the inaugural GIX Innovation Competition for their SmartDx project. GIX, the Global Innovation Exchange, is a partnership between Tsinghua University in Beijing and the University of Washington. The annual Innovation Competition for university students was created to spur solutions to global challenges. The Department of Electrical Engineering recognized Jain’s talent early on, honoring him in 2015 as the first recipient of the Vikram Jandhyala and Suja Vaidyanathan Endowed Innovation Award for his inventions.
The challenge SmartDx addresses is the accuracy of existing infectious disease rapid tests. More than 100 million rapid tests for infectious diseases are performed every year. SmartDx seeks to improve these tests by attaching contextual information – such as whether the patient has traveled to an affected area or has sick family members at home – to the interpretation of the physical test result. As a smartphone app, SmartDx will be easy for clinicians to use.
The GIX Innovation Competition theme was “Connected Devices, Innovation and Change.” Participating teams each submitted an original connected device project that addressed global challenges and opportunities in healthcare, consumer behavior or entertainment. The finalists were selected from nearly 300 entries from China, the United States, Britain, France, Australia and other countries.
Jain and his team traveled to Beijing to present the SmartDx project in the competition. As one of four Third Prize winners, the team will receive $10,000 and scholarship funding towards the GIX master of science in technology innovation.
Jain is a true inventor whose work has received several other awards at various competitions around the world. In June, In May, Jain, with SmartDx, was a finalist at the Ambulatory Practice of the Future Student Technology Prize. For Hook, a device hub that controls lights and appliances inexpensively (utilizing top tools like Amazon Echo), he received the Jones and Foster Accelerator Award, the Accenture Best Consumer Product Idea Award and second prize in the Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge.