University of Rochester

Pain-Monitoring Devices for Premature Infants Win top Award in Forbes Competition

May 6, 2011

A student team that presented a business plan to commercialize two devices for monitoring pain in premature infants took first place in this year's Forbes Entrepreneurial Competition at the University of Rochester.

Biomedical engineering students Benjamin Freedman and Johanna Kelly, which make up the OmNeo, LLC team, presented two systems: 1) wee rePLI, which objectively measures pain during procedures, and 2) ORB|IT, which continually measures an infant's pain. Reducing pain in premature infants can assist clinicians in better focusing treatment and can help prevent developmental health consequences. The devices were developed by a larger team of students, supervised by Professors Laurel Carney from Biomedical Engineering, and Martin Schiavenato from the School of Nursing.

Two other student teams tied for second place. The gluComfort team, consisting of Elie Glik, Brett Sternfield and Zeyu Zhao, presented a minimally invasive glucose meter for diabetics, and the DonDoff team, made up of Frances Bell, Jacy Krystal Bulaon, and Swapna Kumar, designed a system that allows patients to more easily get into and out of back braces following surgery.

The Charles and Janet Forbes Entrepreneurial Competition ( was created in 1989 to encourage engineering and applied science students to consider the commercial potential of their projects and research. Competing teams are required to submit business plans, which are judged on the soundness of the technology, the quality of the market study, and the estimated cost and timeline for starting the business.