JagStart awards the 2022 grand prize to HappyHeart


Editor's note: Since original publication of this article, the JagStart grand prize-winning team, HappyHeart, competed in the national Design by Biomedical Undergraduate Teams (DEBUT) Challenge. Among a competitive pool of more than 70 innovative projects, HappyHeart earned the Healthcare Technologies for Low-Resource Settings Prize, including a $15,000 award funded by the National Institute of Minority and Health Disparities.

View HappyHeart's DEBUT project

The DEBUT competition is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and VentureWell.

Nine student teams competed in the annual JagStart competition held on April 20. All of the teams pitched ideas to fellow teams and judges in hopes of earning the grand prize. JagStart is an annual event hosted by the Institute for Engaged Learning, which gives students an opportunity to pitch creative designs, business ideas, nonprofit ideas, or capstone and research projects. JagStart empowers students by giving winners a chance to take their innovative ideas to the next level.

All IUPUI students are welcome to compete in the JagStart competition. With consultation from mentors and the opportunity to grow their idea, they can compete to win the grand prize or the audience vote, with the awards being $2,500 and $1,500, respectively.

This year’s grand prize–winning idea, HappyHeart, developed a handheld pediatric heart rhythm monitor, or EKG. HappyHeart was created by students Joseph Bustamante, Katelyn Murphy, Haley Gill, and Nate Chesterson.

“A pediatric cardiologist presented the idea to us,” Murphy said. “We all could see the potential impact we could have on pediatric patient lives, so we felt inspired to make HappyHeart.”

The handheld EKG utilizes a 3D-printed shell, allowing young patients to hold the monitor comfortably. Along with comfort, HappyHeart has space to fit a phone to enable these patients to watch a show or cartoon to keep them occupied through the 30-second process.

“We worked closely with a pediatric cardiologist from the IU School of Medicine to develop a more child-friendly hand heart rhythm monitor that can be used in a clinical setting to take more accurate heart readings for the pediatric patients, as well as attempt to remove any discomfort the patient may have from the picture,” Chesterson said.

The HappyHeart student team not only worked hard to develop the instrument technically, but they soon realized they also needed to utilize business skills to accompany their design savvy. Although a lot of work was put into developing HappyHeart in the technical sense, the team discovered that they would need to utilize business skills along with their design skills.

“Being an engineering student, I haven't participated in any business or entrepreneurial opportunities before,” Gill said. “It was an interesting way to look at our project, and I feel like I learned a lot about the business side of engineering, like pitching our ideas and performing a market analysis.”

The HappyHeart team plans to continue to develop the product with hopes of someday marketing their idea for real-world implementation.

“Preferably, the next steps for HappyHeart involve entering a national design competition, as well as further testing in a clinical environment and hopefully a patent in the coming months/years,” Chesterson said.

The team expressed that they learned a lot from JagStart, including the idea that an invention must be easy for the average person to understand and to use.

“My general advice for other students interested in participating in JagStart would be to not have only one perspective on your idea,” Bustamante said. “Go to your friends, a professor you know, or just your parents and ask them to find the holes in your idea. When you get invested into an idea and system, you tend to overlook some issues that can seem very obvious to a stranger. Even if you have a good idea, practice your pitch with someone who is not an expert in your topic because your topic needs to be instantly understandable to a stranger if it's going to be an exciting business proposition.”

The audience vote, which closed on May 7, was also awarded to HappyHeart. In addition to HappyHeart, several other hardworking student teams presented their innovative ideas, including Ally, What the Balls Hear, DecoAR, VentEZ, Optional Nutrition, Fiducation, Feel-the-Field, and EduCamp. Congratulations to HappyHeart and all of the 2022 JagStart participants! To view all of this year’s student pitches or cast your audience vote, visit the JagStart website.

For more information, contact the Division of Undergraduate Education Office of Communications at duecomm@iupui.edu.