Miracle Workers Make Coming Home a Little Safer

New parents dream of bringing home their little ones to grow and thrive. In the future, new parents, especially those of premature babies, will be able to do so more easily. Winona State students Chase Lundstrom, Parbati Sanjel, and Tauseef Hemayet, dubbed the “Miracle Workers,” have developed an infant sleeping pad called the Cloud Monitor to protect babies from the tragedy of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Created as an entry for the 2012 Microsoft Imagine Cup competition, the Cloud Monitor took on a life of its own, providing an exceptional hands-on learning experience for its creators.

Composite cloud monitor device of the “Miracle Workers”. Photo credit Tauseef Hemayet.

Composite cloud monitor device of the “Miracle Workers”. Photo credit Tauseef Hemayet.

The Cloud Monitor is a soft pad with sensors inside that monitor a baby’s heart rate, respiration, and movement. A microcomputer collects information from the sensors and transmits it to the parent’s cell phone. If the baby’s vital signs fall below or above the pre-set ranges, the parents are alerted. “Initially, our incentives were to boost our resumes and gain exposure,” says Hemayet, “but we gained so much more. This project allowed us to apply what we’ve learned over the last four years.”

The Miracle Workers consulted professors from the WSU Nursing Department to learn more about SIDS, researched sensory devices with the Physics Department, and explored microcomputer and mobile technology through Information Technology Services. Mass Communication helped create a video to showcase the device for the Imagine Cup competition. When the project was selected as a top-ten finalist, University Communications and professors in the College of Business helped the Miracle Workers hone their presentation skills. Web Communications assisted in launching a social media campaign that helped the Cloud Monitor project win the Imagine Cup People’s Choice vote.

A WSU entrepreneurial organization, Stage One Group, connected the team with members of the business community to offer advice in preparation for the contest. “Speaking as an alumnus, it’s not that they’re a top-ten finalist, although that’s a huge win,” says John Freund ’85, founder of Stage One Group. “Just to see how this whole campus came together and got behind these three students, that’s the most exciting piece of this.”

At the finalist competition in Seattle, the Miracle Workers took second among the U.S. teams and were invited to the international competition in Sydney, Australia. The team has already been approached by several venture capitalists offering to purchase the idea. Instead, they decided to form their own company, secure a patent, and develop the Cloud Monitor into a viable product.

For parents like Miracle Worker Chase Lundstrom, that makes coming home with a baby even sweeter. “Children are what you do everything for,” he says. “They come into your life and completely change it.”

In the much the same way, the Cloud Monitor is positioned to transform the way hospitals and parents monitor premature infants.

Miracle Workers Tauseef Hemayet, Chase Lundstrom, and Parbati Sanjel hope their Cloud Monitor will transform care for premature infants.

Miracle Workers Tauseef Hemayet, Chase Lundstrom, and Parbati Sanjel hope their Cloud Monitor will transform care for premature infants.

-Margaret Cox

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About Winona State University

Founded in 1858, Winona State University is a comprehensive public university with more than 8,500 students. The oldest member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System, Winona State offers 80 undergraduate, pre-professional, licensure, graduate, and doctorate programs on its three campuses: the original Main Campus in Winona, the West Campus in Winona, and Winona State University-Rochester.

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