PlayPatch, a wearable fertility tracking patch for women, made by a startup founded by biomedical engineering PhD candidate Justin Klein and UC Davis MBA student Chuck Temple, won the $20,000 first prize and the $2,500 People’s Choice award in the 16th annual UC Davis Big Bang! Business Competition on Thursday, May 26, 2016.
PlayPatch addresses an unmet need for the 6.6 million women who are dissatisfied with their current form of contraception. The device consists of a temperature sensor and Bluetooth transmitter in a 3D printed case embedded in a tape that the wearer sticks under her armpit. It sends the wearer’s basal temperature to her phone so that she can track the fertile days of her cycle to avoid pregnancy. PlayPatch offers a solution to women for whom the IUD or hormonal contraception are not viable options, and who find barrier methods too inconvenient.
So far, Justin and Chuck have only been using the prototype to collect data from women (and even worn it themselves) to fine tune the fit, comfort and functioning. They intend PlayPatch to be a reliable form of contraception, which will probably require trials and FDA approval.
“We actually won’t know until we start our communication with the FDA and provide them a description and they will get back to us with guidelines. The device is changing rapidly so it’s probably too early to begin this step,” Justin explained.
Justin, a student in the Cherry Lab, is also in the Business Development Fellowship program run by the UC Davis Graduate School of Management.
“This program has been absolutely amazing and any BME grad student who is interested in entrepreneurship should apply!” he says. “Our success at the Big Bang! Business Competition is not about us at all. It’s about being a part of world class biomedical engineering program, being fortunate to make connections at the Graduate School of Management by being a Business Development Fellow and having an amazing people behind us. All we did was put everything together and show up.”