College of Engineering Unit:
Auricular hematomas occur when blunt force trauma to the ear breaks the perichondral membrane and blood pools between the cartilage and the skin. Left untreated, they can result in permanent deformation and in rare cases, sepsis. However, current treatments rely on high-pressure magnets or suturing gauze on either side of the ear, causing more damage. Moreover, emergency room treatment is expensive and requires long stretches of physicians’ time. Our group has designed the Healix, an external device that applies gentle, modifiable pressure to the ear in order to prevent the formation of auricular hematomas. It is designed to be applied by all people, regardless of medical training, in under 15 minutes. At under $30, it is also a significant reduction in cost for both professionals and patients. Successful deployment of this device could save physician time, reduce auricular trauma, and improve patient outcomes.