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4th place: Wirelessly zapping pain
4th place: Wirelessly zapping pain
Charles Lusk, Jordan Curnes, Will Rosellini, Joseph Picken (faculty advisor) and Ali Abbassi
Team name: MicroTransponder

School name: University of Texas Dallas, The School of Management

Team members: Will Rosellini, Jordan Curnes, Ali Abbassi, Charles Lusk

Concept: The founders of MicroTransponder believe they have found a way to eliminate the suffering of patients with chronic pain. Their product - RF-MEMS, or Radio Frequency Micro-Electromechanical Systems - sends wireless signals from a PDA or laptop that directs hair-thin devices injected near patient nerves to shut off pain receptors.

Currently, patients suffering with neuropathies - nerve function problems caused by disease, injury, infection or toxic substance exposure - lack reliable treatment. MicroTransponder's founders argue that the leading neuropathy medication is relatively ineffective, has negative side effects and is expensive. Traditional, wired neurostimulation devices that are surgically implanted also a number of limitations, including the size of the electrodes used and the reliability of batteries implanted in the body. The MicroTransponder is 100 times smaller than current devices, operates wirelessly, and does not require an internal battery.

Timeline: The firm hopes to have a prototype ready by 2009. -Shara Rutberg

NEXT: 5th place: Solar energy gets cheap

Last updated May 02 2008: 11:51 AM ET