January 2002

Entrepreneurship beyond Literacy and Resource Barriers: A Proposal for Cross-Functional Course Development and Delivery

University of California-Santa Barbara

With this project, NCIIA supports the creation of Developing Products and Markets for Subsistence Marketplaces, a two-course sequence in which teams of engineering and business graduate students identify a general need in the developing world, conduct market research, and develop a prototype, manufacturing plan, marketing strategy and business plan. The course will begin in the fall semester of 2006, with students focusing on setting project objectives, understanding the context they’re designing for, and learning about the process of product development. Over Thanksgiving break the teams will travel to India, the first target area of the course, to do first-hand market research, and the remainder of the semester will be spent developing specific product concepts. The spring semester will be spent working the concepts up into prototypes, and developing manufacturing, marketing, and business plans

Teaching Structural Design, Construction Practices, and Sustainable Technologies for Mitigation of Natural Disaster Damages in Coastal and Fault Areas of Developing Regions

Vanderbilt University

This project supports the development of a two-semester course sequence for seniors focusing on design and construction to mitigate the impacts of earthquakes on residential structures in developing regions. Through lectures, guest speakers, mentorship and on-site visits, students will be introduced to structural dynamics, passive seismic control, low-tech and low-cost alternative construction techniques, value engineering and socioeconomics. The course will be made up of about fifteen engineering and architecture students divided into three or four E-Teams, each assigned an industry mentor.

The E-Teams will research and design solutions, and build and test prototypes in a Structural Control and A-seismic Research (SCARE) lab. They will document their progress in a report, including a business plan for field implementation of the proposed solution, and visit a selected community in a developing region to implement their solution.

Among the educational outcomes, students will be taught the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, and environmental context, with an emphasis on design to save lives in earthquake regions

Off Nicotine Smoking Cessation Program for Primary Care Settings

Case Western Reserve University, 2005 - $17,800

This E-Team developed a comprehensive tobacco cessation program that can be used by doctors and nurses in everyday primary health care situations. At the moment doctors typically spend little time trying to convince patients that smoke to quit due to constraints on time and the lack of an efficient, effective cessation program tailored to the clinical setting. The team’s program is an adaptation of one they developed and successfully implemented at Case Western, called the “Off (Officially free from) Nicotine” program. The Off program includes four weekly group sessions for smokers that focus on 1) self-assessment; 2) a personal strategic plan for quitting; 3) the cessation session; and 4) relapse prevention. This project allowed for adaptation of the support group format into shorter, individual counseling sessions run by doctors and nurses during regular office visits. Specifically, the team’s program includes: a workbook for smokers, with contents based around the smoker’s cessation strategy; the employment of a five-step cognitive restructuring procedure, based on a successful four-step procedure used to change behavior in Obsessive Compulsive Disease patients; relaxation techniques involving self-hand and self-ear massage to diminish symptoms of withdrawal; the use of Exhaled Carbon Monoxide (Ex CO) monitors to measure the level of one of the toxic agents in tobacco smoke present in the smoker’s body, and to track their progress; and lastly, the development of technology to allow for palmtop/tablet audio administration of the smoker’s clinical information, which results in an automatically generated report available to the physician before he enters the room.

A Method to Prevent Airway Obstruction in Patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Stanford University, 2005 - $20,000

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a clinical disorder characterized by instability of the upper airway during sleep, leading to frequent episodes of breathing cessation (apnea) or decreased airflow, during which the patient has a brief arousal from sleep that allows for the resumption of breathing. These episodes can occur 400-500 times per night, resulting in excessive daytime sleepiness that can lead to increased risk of cardiovascular events, stroke, car accidents, and premature death. There are numerous treatments for OSA currently on the market, but most of them have poor efficacy, poor patient compliance due to discomfort, and/or are very invasive. In response to this market need, this E-Team developed the Minimally Invasive Tongue Advancement Device (MiTAD), a tongue implant made of shape memory material that decreases the risk of obstruction during sleep by bringing the tongue upwards and forwards, increasing the cross-sectional area of the airway. The device can be implanted in an outpatient setting using a catheter-like delivery system: the implant is compressed and packed into the delivery system, then inserted by making a puncture in the lower aspect of the chin.

The E-Team believes its procedure is less invasive than current OSA treatments, provides for more accurate advancement of the tongue, allows the patient adequate tongue movement during speaking and swallowing, and comes at a low cost.

Internet Security Company

University of Georgia, 2005 - $20,000

This E-Team developed the SecureWebSurfer (SWS) USB Key, a technology that enhances computer security while surfing the Internet. SWS is a USB drive that contains a pre-installed Linux Operating System, a Firefox web browser, and no writeable memory. A user inserts the SWS before turning on her computer, and within thirty seconds of power-up an active web browser appears, allowing the user full Internet access. While using the key, no viruses, worms, or other damaging software can be downloaded to the user’s computer because of the key’s lack of writeable memory and the fact that the key prevents access to the computer’s writeable memory, eliminating almost all security risks associated with today’s computers. Once the key is removed, the computer returns to its original functionality.

Nandex

Georgia Institute of Technology, 2005 - $19,750

Emissions trading, in which companies that exceed government-controlled pollution limits may buy emissions credits from companies that are able to stay below the designated limits, is a burgeoning market, growing 100% each of the last two years. Active participation in the carbon market requires that you have accurate models to predict the movement of carbon prices; however, these models can only be as good as the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions data on which they rely. Currently the available environmental data are of relatively low spatial and temporal resolution. This E-Team capitalized on the need for high-resolution GHG data by developing an interactive two-dimensional map that uses the most reliable satellite, aerial, and land-based sensor data to detail the concentration and movement of carbon dioxide around the world. Through an online point-and-click interface, customers can access the GHG concentration map, the locations of the primary sources, sinks, and emissions offset projects around the globe, and relevant weather data.

Wheelchair-Mounted Pelvic Restraint

University of Pittsburgh, 2005 - $15,250

Wheelchair-bound individuals frequently use minivans, para-transit vans, public transportation and private vehicles as means of transportation. While their wheelchairs are usually tied down to prevent them from moving during normal driving conditions or in the event of an accident, the individual relies mainly on a nylon safety belt system (similar to a conventional seat belt) that is both unwieldy and frequently disused. This E-Team developed a rigid restraint system mounted to the user’s wheelchair, securing the occupant in position at the level of the pelvis. The restraint is composed of two halves of a mechanical, rigid, padded bar attached to the side of the wheelchair. A ratchet system fits into place around the user’s pelvis, and a spring-loaded release lever allows the user to unlock the restraint from either side of the wheelchair.

Program to Support Computer Applications for Medicine

University of Tulsa

This project seeks to create a new type of senior thesis program at the University of Virginia. Currently, over the course of a nine-month period, engineering students write an individual thesis that identifies, analyzes and offers a solution to a specific technical challenge. With this project, UVA will move away from traditional (individual) research and toward multidisciplinary student collaboration by having E-Teams develop computer applications for use in the medical field. In liaison with the university’s school of medicine, each team will identify a medical need, suggest a solution, devise and test a prototype and follow the development cycle through to commercial viability.

Four E-Teams (each with three members) will be created during the first two years. Thereafter, it is assumed that more seniors from the annual pool of 450 individuals will join E-Teams; they will be selected on a competitive basis

International Social Entrepreneurship through Multidisciplinary Student E-Team Projects

Wake Forest University

Microfinancing is the delivery of financial services to the economically poor on a large scale and in a sustainable manner. While this approach has been highly successful tool for fighting poverty on a global scale, the small loans ($50-$500) require loan processing and labor–intensive activities that result in high transaction costs. With this project, Lehigh will develop E-Teams focusing on the implementation of pilot microfinance technology in developing countries, beginning in Honduras. The projects will include:
  • A rigorous application and selection process
  • An international immersion trip with students and faculty mentors
  • Experiential learning based on tackling real problems with external clients
  • Multidisciplinary student teams developing technologies and technology services

From Discovery to Commercialization: Development of the Greater Phoenix Nanotechnology Innovation Pathway and Pipeline

Dartmouth College

With this project, faculty at Arizona State University are developing an interdisciplinary undergraduate program with a focus on nanotechnology. The program, called Nanotechnology: Perspectives and Entrepreneurial Opportunities, draws together students with backgrounds in science, business, engineering, public policy, communication, pre-law and pre-medicine and forges links with industry and the regional entrepreneurial community.

The course curriculum defines nanotechnology, explores its underlying technologies and tools, and address issues of education and public understanding. Two main points of interest are emphasized: nanotechnology per se and environmental nanotechnology. Example projects include nanobiosensing, drug delivery systems, and recovery of materials in waste prevention. Five or six E-Teams form each year and are exposed to start-up and management concepts, strategic planning, business development, sales/marketing and team building. By completion of the program, students have developed skills in generating hypotheses, problem solving, cooperative learning, teamwork, patent dvelopment, and licensing and product marketing, in addition to having an increased understanding of creativity, innovation and leadership