Highlights from BYU colleges: Grad student improves laparoscopy tech, AdLab wins 60+ awards

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Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology

BYU graduate student Jacob Sheffield has created a miniature windshield wiper for cleaning laparoscopy camera lenses. (BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)

A BYU graduate student has created a miniature windshield wiper for cleaning laparoscopy camera lenses, allowing surgeons to focus on patients without having to remove and reinsert laparoscopes constantly during surgery. Laparoscopes have to be pulled out and wiped clean every 5–8 minutes, posing a risk to patients as well as increasing doctoral expense times. Jacob Sheffield developed this technology in the Compliant Mechanisms Research Lab on campus with help from BYU professor Larry Howell and mechanical engineering undergraduate Amanda Lytle. The device is called LaparoVision and is so small it can rest on the end of a finger. The device is inspired by origami mechanisms. 

Sheffield’s concept earned him the title of 2021 Student Innovator of the Year at BYU. This award provided Sheffield with funding to help him take the device to the market. Sheffield has created a startup company, Bloom Surgical, and is working toward gaining FDA approval.

Marriott School of Business

Four teams of BYU information systems students placed in the top three in two national competitions at this year’s Student Chapter Leadership Conference. (BYU Marriott School of Business)

Four teams of BYU information systems students placed in the top three in two national competitions at this year’s Student Chapter Leadership Conference. The virtual conference is hosted annually by the Association for Information Systems. BYU Marriott students participated in the HP Design Thinking Competition and the Social Innovation Challenge with two teams entering each contest. The former competition asked students to create a solution for group collaboration in a virtual setting. The latter challenge asked teams to create initiatives to improve societal issues. 

The first-place team in the HP contest included students Jamie Cromar, Jefferson Ostler, Joslyn Orgill and Taylor Rees. This team focused on enhancing open communication in remote workspaces with their customizable web application Together that included Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Docs functionalities. The third-place team in the HP contest consisted of Kennedy Daniel, Josh Perry, Devyn Smith and Jacob Welling. Their project, Diversify3000, was designed as a social hub and project management platform highlighting diversity and inclusion.

The second-place team in the Social Innovation Challenge included Lilia Brown, Caroline Crane, Shannon Murray and Thomas Fife. Their web app, Amity, pairs middle and high school students with mentors who can support them through their education. This was inspired in part by a February BYU forum by Dambisa Moyo in which she discussed the underinvestment of Black and Latino students’ education. The third-place team consisted of Katie Bankhead, McKay Matheson, Orgill and Rees. They designed a web app to help women access birth control using Google Maps.

Competition mentor and professor Tom Meservy also won the Faculty Advisor of the Year award. 

“The IS program has such talented students who are eager to show off their capabilities,” Meservey said. “Students from the IS program know how to work in a team, quickly analyze a problem, create a pragmatic solution, and present in a way that increases conviction in the proposed solution.”

College of Fine Arts and Communications

AdLab students won awards from three major organizations this year: the ANDYs, the Clios and the American Advertising Federation. (BYU Photo)

AdLab students won awards from three major organizations this year: the ANDYs, the Clios and the American Advertising Federation. They won five ANDYs and were shortlisted for 16 for brands including Verizon and CocaCola. The AdLab also won seven Clios including a gold award for a student film on the LA Times and a silver award for innovation for Handimojis. 

The American Advertising Federation received more than 30,000 entries. The BYU AdLab won Best of Show nationally for their L’Oreal campaign. They also won three gold district awards and six silver district awards. The Utah Best of Show award went to their Ralph Lauren advertisement. They also won 10 gold state awards and 28 silver state awards.

“Considering the difficult and unique year we have all experienced with COVID-19 and the associated challenges of producing great advertising, we have had a remarkable showing in awards competitions,” professor Jeff Sheets said. “The judges commented how the student work was exceptional. They said they have never seen such great thinking and powerful executions from student categories in other judging they have done.”


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