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Bond Transformer team hopes to change the face of palliative care

August 27, 2018

A team of Bond Transformer students has taken out second place in the university stream of the 2018 Telstra Innovation Challenge with their development of a real-time monitoring system that would allow palliative care patients to be looked after in their own homes.

Nick Inglis, Mona Izzeldin, her brother Mumin Izzeldin and Lucas Brown secured their place in the top three teams from more than 70 entrants nation-wide and were flown to Telstra’s global headquarters in Melbourne to pitch their idea for the Aijonet device.

“The challenge was to use Telstra’s Internet of Things (IoT) technology to develop an application for the health and wellness sector,” said Mona, who is in her final year of a Bachelor of Biomedical Science at Bond.

“Our solution was a device that would enable palliative care patients to record their symptoms and connect with the hospital while enjoying the luxury of their homes on their end of life journey.

“The device allows doctors and healthcare teams to customise indicators so it can be tailored to individual patients.

“Using a score-based scale, the patient can record their progress daily or even multiple times a day from wherever they happen to be.

“As such, our application allows palliative care patients to be monitored from the comfort and privacy of their own home where they are surrounded by loved ones, rather than spending their final months in a clinical hospital or hospice environment. That’s why we called it ‘Aijonet’ – using the Japanese word ‘aijo’ for compassion/care/love.”

Mona and her teammates brought a diversity of skills to the task of developing Aijonet.

Complementing Mona’s Biomedical Science input, Mumin is studying business, Nick is doing his PhD in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, and Lucas is studying at Bond University College.

They came together through the Transformer, an extracurricular program exclusive to Bond designed to teach students how to apply design thinking and an entrepreneurial mindset to a wide range of applications.

In other words, it shows them that entrepreneurship is not just about creating a business but can be applied to solving a problem or addressing an issue or finding a better methodology.

Transformer is available free of charge to students from every faculty of the University and Bond University College and operates from a dedicated space within the revamped Bond Business School building.

“Transformer has been absolutely brilliant in creating diverse, multidisciplinary teams like ours that bring a range of different skills to each project,” said Mona.

“As a Biomedical Science student, for instance, I never thought I’d be part of a hacking and coding team or creating device applications.

“The Transformer program also gave us access to mentors and advisors and we were coached through the Telstra Innovation Challenge process by Bond Business School academics, Assistant Professor Libby Sander and Ben Hayden-Smith.”

As a result of their successful progress through the Telstra Innovation Challenge, the Aijonet device has attracted interest from industry and business experts.

“We’re now working on refining the device,” said Mona.

“It would be really amazing to see it rolled out to hospitals and aged care facilities, as there are a lot of other healthcare situations it could be adapted to.”