STA Engineering Challenge 2023 - more information coming soon!


STA Engineering Challenge 2022 - Active Moisture Elimination!

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The Engineering Challenge is a regular feature of the Annual Meeting, and will be held virtually on Saturday, January 15, 2022. As always, the intent of the Challenge is to educate the membership on an area of technology.


The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in increased use of novel ventilation solutions. A problem associated with prolonged ventilation is managing humidity. While passive heat and moisture exchange devices or active humidifiers provide adequate inspired humidity, water that is presumably laden with virus accumulates in the expiratory path and must be managed by healthcare workers. Thermoelectric cooling devices employ the Peltier effect to create a temperature gradient across a diode. These devices are commonly found in a number of applications requiring cooling, including semiconductors and beer. Deliquescence is a property of solids that permit absorption of water vapor from the gaseous phase. Several types of materials such as zeolites and silica gels  are examples. While typically passive (the packets in medicine bottles), active elements have been described. Such a device would load and unload water from a substrate by changing its adsorptive capacity, much as a pressure swing adsorption oxygen concentrator does in removing nitrogen from air. The 2022 Engineering Challenge is to develop a device that can maintain a humidity gradient between the patient side and the ventilator side.


The guidelines:

1)    A healthy subject should be able to breathe through the device.

2)    The device should not merely remove water from exhaled gas, it should also return it to inspired gas.

3)    The humidity gradient should be demonstrated.

4)    There is no restriction on the amount of duct tape or bailing wire used.

5)    The device should not turn into a molten slab of plastic or explode during the presentation.


The rules:

1)    At least one member of the team should be a trainee – student, resident, fellow, etc.

2)    Presentations will be submitted as a pre-recorded video, emailed to Marie Odden at the STA.

3)    A member of the presenter team needs to be available to answer questions from the audience during a 30-minute interactive session, which will be implemented as breakout rooms using the Zoom videoconferencing platform during the STA 2022 Virtual Annual Meeting, held on Saturday, January 15, 2022.


STA will provide up to $300 to defray the cost of hardware. Please submit the receipt for your hardware to Marie Odden at the STA. There is a limited amount of time for the session, and we reserve the right to limit the number of presenters. Only teams who present their project are eligible for reimbursement.

Past Participants

2020 Engineering Challenge Participants

Christopher Connor, MD, PhD, Brigham and Women's Hospital

Austin Culp, Pennsylvania State University

Eileen Petros, Case Western Reserve University 

Kevin Wang, MD, MSc

2019 Engineering Challenge Participants

Deepak Agarwal, DO, MPH, Cleveland Clinic

Michael Burns, MD, PhD, University of Michigan

Christopher Connor, MD, PhD, Brigham and Women's Hospital

Angad Kalra, BSc, MSc, University of Toronto

David Robinowitz, MD, MHS, MS, University of California San Francisco

2018 Engineering Challenge Participants:

Priya Ramaswamy, MD, M Eng, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Deepak Agarwal, DO, MPH, Cleveland Clinic

Mark Korenke, MD, University of Michigan

Giuseppe Grossi, B Eng, Sickkids Hospital

2017 Engineering Challenge Participants:

Rami Saab, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto

Nirav Bhasar, MD, University of Miami

Elie Sarraf, MDCM, B Eng, University of Vermont

Ryan Durk, MD, Washington University, Saint Louis

Krithika Anand, MD, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

2016 Engineering Challenge Winner:

Ali Jalali, MD, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

2015 Engineering Challenge Winner:

Hassanpour Ali, MD, Temple University

2014 Engineering Challenge Winners:

  • First Place: Nicholas McGill, University of Pennsylvania
  • Second Place: Ryan Durk, Washington University Saint Louis
  • Third Place: Goeto Dantes, University of Florida