Biodegradable Bone Screw Technology from China Wins Intel+Berkeley Competition

A novel biodegradable bone screw technology developed by Ihealth of China's Tsinghua University has won the fifth annual Intel+UC Berkeley Technology Entrepreneurship Challenge (IBTEC) on Nov. 19 at the Haas School. First place came with a $25,000 cash prize from Intel Foundation.

The annual competition is hosted by the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and sponsored by Intel Foundation. It took place in conjunction with the Intel and Lester Center’s first-ever Global Entrepreneurship Leadership Symposium to train potential mentors to support entrepreneurship and technology innovation around the world.

Ihealth’s novel technology saves patients a second surgery to remove traditional metal screws after a bone break. MPHB (modified polyhydroxybutyrate), the material used for the screws, is closer in strength to human bone than metal screws or existing biodegradable screws and promises no side effects and a much lower cost. The team consists of three students at Tsinghua University's School of Economics and Management.

Ihealth also captured a $5,000 prize given for the People’s Choice Award, selected by the audience attending the final awards ceremony.

The second prize of $10,000 was awarded to CaptchaAd of Technical University Munich in Germany. CaptchaAd has developed an innovative website security technique that incorporates interactive video advertising. The “captcha” spam bot protection can only be identified by humans, thus creating an opportunity to increase customer engagement while creating ad revenue.

Third place and $5,000 in cash was awarded to Zimplistic of the National University of Singapore for its Rotimatic kitchen appliance that quickly and easily makes roti, the daily staple of 800 million Indians. The Rotimatic also has other potential applications for the future, such as tortilla making.

UC Berkeley’s AutoTB team, a medical device company that screens for tuberculosis and malaria, made it into IBTEC’s final round. AutoTB’s automated digital microscopy device will make current diagnostic techniques more efficient and cost-effective. The team previously won the UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition.

Silicon BioDevices, also a UC Berkeley team, participated in the semifinals. This medical device company applies the microchip technology used in computers and cell phones to create the equivalent of a laboratory blood test in the palm of a hand.

All in all, the competition brought 27 teams from 18 countries to the Haas School for the semi-final and final rounds during Global Entrepreneurship Week.

Participants interacted with and were judged by representatives of more than 20 leading venture capital firms from the San Francisco Bay Area.

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