Simone Braunstein '16 Named to Crain's "20 Under 20"
Reports Crain's New York Chris Raymond: "On a field trip to Memorial Sloan Kettering, Simone Braunstein witnessed how swiftly a surgical robot could slice through a Tootsie Roll—and saw just how quickly an operation could go wrong if the doctor at the controls made an error, often due to lack of sensory feedback.
The experience left a big impression on Simone, given the surgery her grandmother soon required to repair a congenital heart defect. Simone’s response? She designed a device, operated by a high-tech glove, that could prevent such mishaps by giving surgeons a sense of touch. This past spring the design won Simone, then a senior at the Dalton School, the top robotics award at Intel’s International Science and Engineering Fair. “I’m hoping it can help save more lives with fewer complications,” she said.
She did not stop there, though. Simone also launched a company—Paradox Robotics—to assemble and distribute the soft robotics control board she used to develop her innovation. It usually takes months to acquire the mini-pump, manifold, pneumatic cables and other parts specified in the open-source plans released by Harvard researchers. She trimmed the time to one week. Her clients now include Texas A&M, Cornell University and virtual-reality headset maker Oculus. The kits retail for what it costs to produce them: $959. “For me,” said Simone, now a Harvard freshman, “it’s not really important to be making a profit; it’s more about getting this technology to as many people as possible.”