Technology Accelerator Challenge: Non-Invasive, Handheld, Digital Diagnostic Device

The National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) has given innovators some advanced warned it intends to release a new Prize Competition Announcement this month: the NIH Technology Accelerator Challenge: Non-invasive Diagnostic Technologies for Global Health.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is supporting the bioengineering competition to spur the design and development of non-invasive, handheld, digital diagnostic devices that will target anemia, sickle cell disease, malaria, and other blood-related diseases.

The announcement is expected to be published February 2020 with an expected submission window from March 2, 2020 through July 2, 2020.

NIBIB intends to award cash prizes for the challenge competition. In addition, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will consider winners and honorable mentions identified through this challenge for potential follow-on support to accelerate development of the proposed device for global health settings.

Diagnostics are key to providing treatment for some of the world’s highest-burden diseases, but exiting options are not always practical for low-resource settings, particularly at the population level, due to high cost, invasiveness and the expertise required to administer the tests. The ready availability of a low cost, rapid, reliable platform for blood-related diseases would enable unprecedented community-level screening, monitoring and treatment. Identification and treatment of these disorders would be especially valuable for reducing the world-wide burden of these diseases.

This challenge seeks designs for non-invasive technology platforms to diagnose sickle cell disease, malaria, and anemia. While not constrained to any specific technology, the inspiration for this challenge comes from the widespread availability of mobile phones and the potential for mobile phone-linked sensor technologies to non-invasively detect changes in the blood and vasculature associated with these treatable diseases. Teams can submit a solution that includes data supporting the feasibility of the proposed device design and a plan for translating the device for use in global health settings.

Prize Competition Details

Participants will present a design and initial feasibility data or references for a non-invasive diagnostic platform to address two diseases in the vasculature (at least one of which must be sickle cell, malaria, or anemia). The technology design must describe both the biological principle of the test and measurement approach. Participants may share data collected on prototypes (if available) and evidence or feasibility data that de-risk elements of the test and the device. In addition, participants should present a description of the path for translation of the technology to global health use cases and how the technology will need to develop further to reduce cost and be suitable for field use.

The challenge announcement will be posted on: and websites. A participant or team will be able to submit an entry for the Challenge by registering at and following the links and instructions to certify that the entry meets all the Challenge rules and to submit the entry.

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