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MaST@Danforth CTI students develop award-winning heart monitor

MaST@Danforth CTI students develop award-winning heart monitor

Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Categories: Great Things, Happenings @ TDSB, School Web Stories

Two MaST (Math and Science Technology) program students at Danforth CTI are winning accolades for their work on HeartWatch, a 24/7 wearable heart monitoring system that contacts emergency services when a user is in distress. Frank Nguyen and Andre Bertram developed a prototype device that has already received significant  attention and has earned the students work space and mentorship at Ryerson University and St. Michael's Hospital.  

The two students also created HelpWear, a company focused on the development of affordable and accessible products to support at-home health care. HeartWatch is its first product. 

“Heart-related illness is a major issue in Canada and all around the world,” said Bertram in a promotional video. The HeartWatch device is worn on a user’s wrist and relies on a sensor that detects small contractions in blood capillaries. “That allows us to get data on a user’s blood pressure as well as their heart rate,” said Bertram. “Wearing the HeartWatch means faster and more efficient patient care…relieving the Canadian healthcare budget of billions of dollars each year and, more importantly, saving the user’s life.”

For Nguyen, one of the primary motivations for developing the device was the health of his mother. “I worry that she may not get the help she needs whenever she’s alone,” he said. HeartWatch, noted Nguyen, is “a solution that provides round-the-clock, non-invasive heart monitoring that increases the likelihood of EMS response and provides an affordable and innovative way to have heart-care monitoring at home.”

Bertram and Nguyen met through the MaST program @Danforth CTI and conceived of HeartWatch there. In MaST, like-minded students are able to accelerate their learning in an enriched and flexible environment. The program “really focuses on finding technical solutions to real-world problems,” said Bertram.

Deryk Jackson, a MaST@Danforth teacher said that the program challenges students to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills that lead to creativity and innovation. “Frank and Andre exemplify what MaST offers, as they've taken advantage of every opportunity in our math, science and technology enriched program and have achieved beyond our expectations,” he said. “They are great examples that high school students can set goals to change the world and then succeed in doing so.”

The duo  recently won a silver medal at the Toronto Science Fair, a $10,500 top prize for the MAKO Student Innovation Award and they've been selected as one of 12 finalists at The Stage: National Competition 2016 where they will compete in May of this year.  They were also accepted into a Ted Rogers Management Conference to compete for $4000 of seed funding for their company.


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