Creators of a life-saving device for organ and limb transport were awarded top honors in this year’s "Create the Future" Design Contest, an annual competition hosted by Tech Briefs Media Group.

The grand-prize-winning technology, known as ULiSSES™, uses oxygen to keep tissue viable for more than 24 hours – a time-saving improvement from the 4-6 hours provided by current preservation methods.

The system can be carried onto a commercial airplane, stored in the overhead compartment, and then delivered to the recipient.

“Our ULiSSES™ device is designed to be portable, affordable, and easy to use, which makes it more accessible to more hospitals, doctors, and most importantly, transplant patients,” said Leonid Bunegin, Chief Scientific Officer of the San Antonio, TX-based manufacturer Vascular Perfusion Solutions . Bunegin shares the first-place award of $20,000 with the company's CEO Tom DeBrooke and Senior Scientist Rafael J. Veraza.

The self-contained ULiSSES circulates, or perfuses, a tissue with an oxygen-rich solution. The oxygen maintains the basic metabolic functions of the organ so that it stays in a healthy and viable condition for longer periods of time.

Through gas pressure, the nutrient-rich fluid is pulsed into the organ and then vented into a canister within the device. The solution is recycled and returned to the top part of the system where it is reoxygenated, filtered, and sent back through the tissue again and again.

The ULiSSES™ Device with porcine heart.

Traditional transportation methods call for an organ to be quickly packed in ice and sent via helicopter to a hospital. Perhaps the most innovative (and life-saving) feature of ULiSSES is its ability to function in room temperature, without relying on electrical power to operate.

ULiSSES harvests energy from the expanding compressed oxygen to provide the pulse-like perfusion – a rate that mimics a natural heartbeat.

(See the full details of the ULiSSES device on our 'Create the Future' Design Contest page .)

The annual "Create the Future" competition, launched in 2002 by Tech Briefs Media Group, calls participants to submit proposals for products that demonstrate engineering innovation. The ULiSSES system was presented first-place by senior editors at Tech Briefs and an independent panel of design engineers.

This year’s contest, which featured submission entries from 60 countries, was co-sponsored by COMSOL and Mouser Electronics . Analog Devices and Intel were supporting sponsors.

For more information, visit www.createthefuturecontest.com .

In addition to the grand prize of $20,000, first-place “Create the Future” winners were named in seven categories: