Indian American grad student wins Collegiate Inventors Competition for his ‘Nintendo for Neurosurgeons’

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Gopesh Tilvawala accepts the People’s Choice Award at the Collegiate Inventors Competition from (left) Anthony Scardino, USPTO chief financial officer, and (right) Drew Hirshfeld, USPTO commissioner of patents. (Photo courtesy of Collegiate Inventors Competition)

Gopesh Tilvawala, an Indian American graduate student at the University of California in San Diego, was one of the winners at the annual Collegiate Inventors Competition, held last month.

Tilvawala won silver for his creation of the Neurotendo, a ‘Nintendo for Neurosurgeons.’

According to a press release, the Neurotendo helps diagnose and treat cerebral aneurysms, which are bulging spots in an artery near the brain and are found in one in 50 people in the United States.

Neurotendo addresses the need for a controlled approach to the navigation of brain arteries and the treatment of cerebral aneurysms with a steerable microcatheter that translates a neurosurgeon’s command into the motion of the catheter tip.

This micro surgical medical device enables precise navigation, reduction of procedure times and a safer technique, the press release added.

The device also won the 2018 Collegiate Inventors Competition People’s Choice Award.

“I was happy to be a finalist but felt the weight of the occasion more when I arrived at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in D.C.,” Tilvawala is quoted saying in press release.

“Almost every judge on the panel had an amazing invention to their name that has translated and is in use in the market today, so I was absolutely thrilled to get their feedback and win a medal at a national level competition. Earning the People’s Choice Award was great too, and provides some validation from society for the work we’re doing,” he added.

Tilvawala said that he named the device Neurotendo because the device serves as a Nintendo game for neurosurgeons and while he is still developing a fully functional prototype of Neurotendo under the guidance of his advisor, James Friend, Tilvawala wants to have a real-world application of his research.

“My main aim with Ph.D. research work was using this fundamental science to try and develop something that would translate into real world applications. At least in terms of the vision, I had to be able to picture that my research would make a difference to someone out there someday,” he is quoted saying in a press release.

Currently, there are no brain catheters in the market that can be remotely controlled like Neurotendo, thus surgeons are using one hand on a guidewire and the other on the catheter to insert and guide the tube.

According to the press release, Tilvawala’s research makes it possible to remotely navigate the small and twisty arteries near the brain, reducing surgery times and creating a safer and more effective procedure.

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