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Young Frum Inventor Puts Heart Into Work

The idea for “irescu,” a small defibrillator designed to prevent sudden cardiac arrest when implanted beneath the skin, occurred to Benjamin Strauss during a routine ambulance call in Bergenfield last year.

It was the second time in as many months that Strauss, 23, a Teaneck native and a Bergenfield Volunteer Ambulance Corps crew chief, had responded to a heart-related emergency involving the same patient.

“He had a [defibrillator] implanted,” he said, “and it was supposed to work, and it didn’t.”

It was also bulky. Strauss could see the defibrillator’s outline through the man’s skin.

“You could see it was kind of cumbersome,” said Strauss, a biomedical engineering major who is to deliver the student commencement address at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York City on May 22. “I figured … we could make it less cumbersome.”

With that, Strauss set out to create for his senior project a smaller, less invasive implantable cardioverter defibrillator, a battery-powered gadget used to prevent sudden cardiac arrests in people who suffer from arrhythmia.

The defibrillator is still a work in progress, but Strauss recently filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to secure a patent for CardiaGard, a device that will monitor the heart to detect and treat coronary artery disease — a condition that affects more than 15 million Americans.

How the device will work is shrouded in secrecy. The U.S. Patent Office declined to confirm the application’s existence, and a spokesman for the office, speaking in hypothetical terms, said that if the application existed, it would be the kind that the office would not make public under federal regulations.

On a recent weekday, Strauss, clad in jeans and a button-down shirt, returned to the engineering lab at Cooper Union, where he spent countless hours designing and reworking his two proposals.

He was there to show off the prototype for irescu, a 1-inch-square green circuit board with two yellow insulating wires and a square processor on the back.

He blossomed as a student at Torah Academy of Bergen County in Teaneck. Prompted by a professor at Machon Lev at the Jerusalem College of Technology in Israel, where Strauss studied for a year after graduation, he applied to the Cooper Union without telling his parents.


3 Responses

  1. Hatzlacha raba on what will, b’ezrat Hash-m, prove to be a device that will save many lives.

    This young man’s parents should be very proud of him!!!

  2. i just hope this man has a good lawyer, because some schools have a rule written in very fine print, saying that any invention made by a student, as long as he’s enrolled in the school – belongs to the school

    how cruel!

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