May 2002

KlarAqua Advanced E-Team Continuation Project: Low Cost Water Purification System and Service Organization to Support Development of Micro-Enterprises in Developing Countries and Other Applications

Illinois Institute of Technology, 2006 - $13,500

This E-Team developed KlarAqua, an inexpensive, bucket-size, clay-based water filter aimed at people in the developing world. During the first NCIIA grant, the team partnered with students at Tec de Monterrey in Mexico, site of the team’s initial target market, and discussed strategies for getting the filter into the hands of the target population. During the second grant, the team conducted a phase II pilot study to assess and demonstrate the effectiveness and efficiency of the filter and developed the associated educational, training, and marketing materials. Specifically, the team refined the KlaqAqua design, developed a customizable training program on how to use the filter, refined the business model (micro-enterprises manufacturing and selling the filter locally), and developed a long-range plan for broad implementation.

The team selected the town of San Luis Potosi in Mexico as the site of the pilot study due its need for clean water, proximity to Tec de Monterrey, and its representative socioeconomic characteristics.

KlarAqua won first place in the annual Idea to Product Social Entrepreneurship Competition, sponsored by Purdue University and held at San José State University. The $15,000 I2P prize money helped move the innovation closer to market.

Development and Commercialization of Innovative Wall-climbing Robots

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

This E-Team is developing the City-Climber, a wall-climbing robot intended for use in the inspection of building facades. New York City law mandates the inspection of building facades every five years, and the task is currently accomplished by lowering three trained workers down the side of the building by scaffold equipment. Each additional drop to reach other areas of the façade requires a complete relocation of the rigging equipment, making the process time-consuming and expensive (the cost for one day can exceed $3,000). The E-Team’s robot adheres to the wall by employing aerodynamic attraction produced by a vacuum rotor package. Cameras and sensors inside the robot are used to assess the condition of the building façade, and the robot itself is remotely operated by a joystick