University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 2007 - $14,600
The best way to monitor the condition of load-bearing structures (bridges, tunnels, earthen dams, and levees) is to install sensors to measure things like movement, vibration, and water saturation. A typical instrumentation set-up uses a number of individual sensors to monitor each different parameter at each different location. This can become costly and inefficient, however, if many parameters need to be measured at once.
This team, now incorporated as Condition Engineering, is developing a solution with the Intelligent Ground Condition Monitoring System (IGCMS), sensor technology that can assess multiple parameters simultaneously. The IGCMS provides detailed information regarding structural stability while reducing the number overall number of sensors. The device consists of a sensor driver attached to a sensor rope. The rope is flexible like a garden hose and takes measurements all along its length. Sold by the foot, the rope could be used as a stand-alone device or in groups of tens, hundreds or thousands to provide a widespread monitoring system.
This E-Team is developing SolarShade, a solar-powered aftermarket window treatment solution designed to selectably tint a window at the push of a button. Using a remote control, the customer can adjust the level of tinting from clear to opaque. SolarShade itself is a lightweight, semi-rigid sheet of plastic made from offset planes of polarized material. The sheet can be manufactured to fit into any existing window track or frame, right over the window itself.
The team attended Open Minds 2008 in Dallas, and 2 years later incorporated as Lono, LLC.
University of Illinois at Urbana, Champaign, 2007 - $16,800
This E-Team is developing a solar-charged, battery-powered LED lantern that is healthier, more economical, less dangerous, and less polluting then petroleum lanterns. The team consists of an established network of engineers, industry leaders, aid organizations, academic professionals, and government contacts and is set to enter the market in India.
Updates: In 2009, just two years after it received an E-Team grant, Greenlight Planet, Inc. is selling its solar-charged, battery-powered LED lantern in India and China. Along the way, the company, which spun out of an E-Team from University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, has raised more than $500,000 from investors.
Greenlight Planet's market proposition is simple: to sell ultra-affordable solar LED lights for the 1.6 billion people who still don't have electricity. There are important social and environmental benefits: Greenlight Planet's lantern is cleaner, more economical, less dangerous, and less polluting then petroleum lanterns.
This grant supports the creation of a two-course sequence in which student teams spend their senior year working with industry and/or regional entrepreneurs to develop a product idea and bring it to the prototype stage. E-Teams are comprised of engineering and business students who participate in the capstone course as well as a seminar series on ethics, leadership and entrepreneurship. All of the E-Teams focus on the needs of the first-responder community as well as medical applications, thus allowing students to gain both an appreciation for entrepreneurship and a respect for the contributions made by law enforcement, fire fighters, and EMS personnel
This grant supports the development of a two-quarter undergraduate-level honors course entitled “Entrepreneurship through Innovative Interdisciplinary Projects in Technology and Community Service” to be offered in spring and fall 2007. The course entails student E-Teams partnering with a nonprofit agency to develop solutions to specific issues the agency faces. Once solutions are devised, E-Teams will assess the technical and commercial viability of the solutions themselves. The course will be taught by seven faculty members from four disciplines. During the initial implementation of the course, both students and faculty will attend a private seminar each quarter at Eureka! Ranch, a private think tank with a focus on innovation, marketing and personal leadership
This grant supports the expansion of an undergraduate course in biomedical design. The course engages undergraduate students in creative design before they reach their senior capstone course, encouraging students to develop and maintain their creativity while motivating further independent course-based learning. In the end, the course hopes to provide students with theoretical and practical design experience, an introduction to entrepreneurship in biomedical engineering, and an introduction to the discipline
Osteoporosis, while widespread, is highly preventable with the right diet, regular exercise and bone density measurements. Regularly scheduled bone density measurements can detect the disease early on, reducing the number of debilitating fractures and mortality. The gold standard for bone density measurement is dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA), but only 10% of the at-risk population undergoes routine DXA examinations due to the expense of the machine and the fact that it requires dedicated space and personnel.
This E-Team opened up osteoporosis screening to a wider population by developing a tool that can be used in a dental care setting. Using dual-energy measurement, the device gives conventional dental x-ray equipment the ability to measure bone density in the mandible (jaw) and phalanges (fingers and toes).
In partnership with the US Army, this E-Team has developed an environmentally friendly alternative to styrene. Styrene is a potentially carcinogenic petroleum derivative that has harmful effects on the environment and is highly regulated by the EPA. The team’s product is a soybean oil derivative that can replace styrene in thermoset resins (raw materials used in the fiber-reinforced products industry). The soybean oil is environmentally friendly (safe and renewable), performs better than styrene, and costs less
The EcoTech E-Team from Lehigh, winner of two previous E-Team grants, used this grant to develop an advanced surface coating that prevents the growth of algae, mold, and other biological organisms on a wide variety of surfaces, from aquarium glass to home siding. Called BioShield™, the patented technology uses sunlight and water to react with organic matter, making it difficult for organisms to attach to surfaces. While BioShield™ is ready for commercialization in the aquarium market, the team is conducting further R&D to bring it to other markets, specifically animal husbandry (preventing algae growth on cattle troughs) and residential homes (decks, patios, roofing, etc.). Ultimately, the team hopes to create a transparent “spray-on” coating sold through home improvement stores like Home Depot.
Update: The EcoTech team has gone on to form a successful aquarium products company. Visit their website here.
EcoTech's products are now sold in 450 stores and 35 distributors across the US. The company has developed two more propeller pumps and an LED light for reef aquariums. EcoTech generated $15M in revenue in 2011, has 42 full time staff and a 4,000 square foot work space.
University of Massachusetts, Lowell, 2006 - $18,000
This grant supported the development of Flashback, a device that shines light on the back of a bicycle rider during low light conditions. The device, which extends several inches behind the rider using a sturdy tube connected to the bicycle seat post, consists of a small plastic housing embedded with super-bright light-emitting diodes. The diodes are powered by a small battery pack attached to the base of the device.
The team developed a working prototype and tested it at night, showing it to be much brighter than the standard bike reflector.