May 1997

Developing Solutions to Real World Problems

Northeastern University

In GE 1103 Engineering Design, first-year students work in teams of three or four on design practice modules that incorporate a broad range of engineering disciplines to develop solutions to real problems. Problems addressed in the course include humanitarian demining in third world countries, increased ozone in the troposphere, and the multiple problems experienced by refugees in troubled areas like Goma, Zaire.

The class serves several functions: first, it introduces students to the different disciplines within engineering; second, it helps students gain an understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of engineering problem-solving; third, the class provides students with the opportunity to address a range of valuable problems; and fourth, it allows the faculty to integrate their personal experiences and expertise with a set of core topics in engineering and design. The course integrates with a campus-wide E-Team recruiting effort throughout the school's Entrepreneurship Program.

Virtual Security Research

St. John's University - $8500.00

The Virtual Security Research (VSR) E-Team recognized a lack in affordable and creative security systems for the Internet. To fill the gap, the team evaluated existing software solutions and made improvements in usability, user interface, and security.

The team received second prize for their business plan in Northeastern University's $60k business plan competition. They then founded Virtual Security Research in 1998, and have since been focused on providing quality network and application security consulting services. They have clients in the financial services and commercial software sectors

MAE-497-Invention and Innovation Curriculum

Illinois Institute of Technology

IIT launched its Invention and Innovation Project in the fall of 1995. The class curriculum goes beyond the traditional lecture style by focusing on an academic experience based on personal coaching. The idea is to give the students an opportunity to look at engineering projects as an art – the art of invention. To emphasize this point, the class is structured as a studio class, such as those common in architecture and fine arts programs, but with a technical content. There are fifteen students in each studio, which behave as a small, high-tech firm engaged in developing new products.

In one semester, the products must move from concept to design, prototype, patent, and business plan. NCIIA funding provides money to the student teams for project development and commercialization, as well as additional equipment for class use. Thus far the class has produced a team that won Advanced E-Team funding, the Automotive Ozone Pollution Fighter. Also, two products are nearing commercialization: a portable ladder for hunters, and a car seat for infants that massages them as the car moves. The class is taught every semester at IIT. A continuation of support for Dr. Ruiz's class was approved in the October 1996 round.

MECH 452: Design Synthesis

The Evergreen State College

This course is a renewal and expansion of NCIIA grants MGRS 487 Entrepreneurship/ EE491 Senior Design and the previously funded MECH 452: Design Synthesis. The course has produced several high quality E-Teams and businesses. An interdisciplinary program, it is offered to mechanical and electrical engineers, emphasizing product development, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Students are divided into "companies" and develop new products or prove new technologies that will subsequently be marketed or licensed. Guest lecturers from industry discuss various topics including intellectual property, venture capital, inventing, and entrepreneurship. This course is also taken for credit by MBA students who help the E-Team develop business plans. Each E-Team must develop a working prototype. Funding is for direct use by each team for product development and marketing

Concurrent Engineering & Engineering Design

Drexel University

The High Pressure Optical Cell (HPOC) is a research tool that enables the modification of food proteins, decreased freezing temperatures and dewatering foods. HPOCs are also used as a tool in the study of lipid/protein interactions, protein denaturation, virus dissociation, and drug-membrane interactions. Any innovations in HPOC technology will impact future research in biomedical, pharmaceutical and food science research.

The Concurrent Engineering & Engineering Design E-Team has developed a new HPOC design, enabling researchers to introduce a second component to the original sample while both components are under pressure. This innovation allows researchers to observe initial molecular interactions in real time and at high pressure via fiber optics, and in the process gather previously unobtainable data.

Turning Students into Inventors (TCC315)

University of Virginia-Main Campus

Through participating in E-Teams in the Invention and Design course at the University of Virginia, students study the invention process and learn how to create environmentally conscious designs and products. With this NCIIA grant, the course modules were altered to incorporate hands-on innovation. The objective was to provide students with enough financial and development support to make significant progress toward patenting and marketing new technologies that both make a profit and make the world a better place to live. This course has generated several Advanced E-Teams, including the Soil Aeration E-Team and the Inventor's Toolkit E-Team. Professor Gorman also works with the Solar Airship E-Team.

Mechatronic Product Development

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Mechatronics is the integration of mechanical systems and electronics focusing on sensors and actuators technology. This mechatronics design course takes an interdisciplinary approach by integrating both mechanical and electrical elements of design. The program is a two-course sequence involving about sixty students per semester, in which E-Teams form and design products. Both engineering and marketing students are on each E-Team. Students are encouraged to develop, patent, and market their inventions.

The first course, Mechatronics Design, features an acute emphasis on learning how to interface and control a series of sensors and actuators with a microprocessor. Students form teams, envision a product, and then move onto the second course, Mechatronics Product Development. This course includes students from business-related fields. Teams develop and create plans to market the envisioned product. The culmination of the two-course mechatronics sequence is an event at which students publicly exhibit their products. This event is an opportunity for students to find the encouragement and support to continue developing their innovations.

New Product Development and Venturing

This project supported development of New Product Development and Venturing, a course offering students the opportunity to design a product and take it to market. The course is modeled on the E-Team concept. Students design a new product, develop a feasibility study, learn about patenting and seed capital sources, and work in a team with product-oriented entrepreneur mentors. Each E-Team makes two formal oral presentations to a panel of entrepreneurs and professors: one on its business feasibility study and the other on its product design. An award is presented to the E-Team with the best presentation

Entrepreneurial Studies in the Natural Sciences

University of Massachusetts Amherst

To meet the growing need for business skills in technically-trained individuals, Carthage College founded the Entrepreneurial Studies in Natural Science (ESNS) program, an integrated undergraduate program in technical entrepreneurship. The ESNS Program begins with a one-year course covering a range of materials including: accounting and marketing; intellectual property and regulation; personnel management; communications and presentation skills; international business issues; information retrieval and organization; creativity; and an overview of technical careers.

Following the initial course work, students participate in a hands-on internship to prepare them for their senior technology business project. NCIIA funding allows ESNS to integrate E-Teams into the year-long course, by modifying the course work activities, re-ordering and supplementing topics, and reformatting the entire second semester curriculum to shift from individual to team projects. This class was developed with support from a Planning grant in the March 1996 cycle.