By Jody Berger
Medical student Blynn Shideler arrived at Stanford with an award-winning health device – and every intention of improving it. The device addresses a need in the cerebral palsy community. Often, kids with cerebral palsy – a group of disorders that affect movement, balance, and posture – need daily sessions with a physical therapist to build strength and improve motor skills. As an undergraduate studying bioengineering at Columbia University, Shideler thought there must be a better way.
He collaborated with other students to design a device that would make it easier for these kids to perform their therapy exercises at home, or anywhere. The result was BUDI – the Biofeedback Upper-limb Device for Impairment – a bulky bracelet built with sensors that tracked motion and provided feedback on how the user might want to adjust how they are moving.
BUDI was named “Most Outstanding Design Project from Columbia Biomedical Engineering,” and Columbia shared the news on social media. People in the cerebral palsy community noticed.
“A teenager in Ohio reached out and said, ‘I have CP, saw your product and would love to try it,’ ” Shideler said.
But Shideler had no bracelets to give. His team had only built two prototypes. So, inspired by that message from someone he didn’t know living across the country, Shideler set out to produce BUDI on a larger scale.