Team Mashavu participates in March Madness for the Mind

Penn State's Excellence and Entrepreneurship Team, or E-team, Mashavu, participated in March Madness for the Mind on March 20, at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

The annual showcase, which is sponsored by the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance, brings together the country's top E-teams to display their inventions at both a public and private exhibition.

Penn State was one of 15 teams selected from a list of more than 100 nominees. At the showcase, the team presented "Mashavu," a solution to combat the shortage of medical professionals in rural Africa.

The system would allow doctors to connect with patients in developing areas using modern technology. Patients could come to designated Mashavu stations in these rural areas and have their temperature, blood pressure, lung capacity and weight checked. The data would then be transmitted to and evaluated by doctors in other parts of the world. 

Mashavu, which is Swahili for "chubby-cheeked," is the brainchild of team leader Aaron Fleishman, a senior in chemical engineering. The proposal earned him $10,000 in a February 2009 contest on

Khanjan Mehta, the team adviser, said Mashavu was well received at the showcase.

"We had excellent posters. We also had a touch screen and a demonstration of the basic system. We got a lot of interest in the project from the media as well as people with a specific interest in innovation," he said.

While the competition had no winners and losers, it was a great opportunity to get exposure and feedback on the project.

Mehta says Penn State plans to participate next year, provided that their proposals survive the "rigorous" selection process.

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Last Updated April 07, 2009