May 2009

Intelligent Mobility moves forward

See this E-Team on NBC. Click here for the video.

Former E-Team Intelligent Mobility International, a non-profit that produces and distributes safe, durable, and affordable wheelchairs made from old bicycles for customers in Guatemala, has been in the news of late.

In April, IMI particpated on the "Extremely Affordable Health Innovations" panel at the World Health Care Congress. Download the podcast interview with IMI, recorded at the WHCC.

Since IMI received an E-Team grant in 2007, the organization has partnered with Transitions Foundation, a Guatemalan disabilities association that mainly employs wheelchair-bound workers, to build and sell wheelchairs in the market. The advantage of IMI's design is simple - wheelchairs made from bike parts are sturdy, cheap, and easy to repair. Last year, IMI was recognized by Popular Mechanics as one of its 'Top 10 New World-Changing Innovations of the Year.'


UC Boulder high-efficiency stove featured on Planet

Read more about this NCIIA-funded Sustainable Vision team at Planet

Deforestation is major environmental problem in Rwanda. The High Efficiency Stove Microenterprise team at UC-Boulder is working with Rwandan engineers to develop and market two stoves that better use limited local resources and that burn more efficiently and cleanly. 

Stanford ventilator team receives Coulter grant

An NCIIA-funded E-Team from Stanford University has been awarded a Coulter grant that will help move its invention - an affordable ventilator - along the product development path.

The Stanford team is developing a low-cost ventilator for two distinct purposes: emergency readiness in developed countries and general use in developing countries. To fill the need in both cases, the team is developing a low-cost ($300, where typical ventilators range from $8,000-$60,000), rechargeable, portable, disposable ventilator. Read more about the grant here.

Open 2010: NCIIA's 14th Annual Conference



More than 300 faculty and students attended Open 2010, the NCIIA's 14th Annual Conference, in San Francisco from March 25-27.

Among the comments from attendees:

As usual, every year this conference impresses me with its organization and the level of knowledge disseminated.

This was probably the most informative meeting I've ever attended with respect to discovering what other institutions are doing similar work!

This was my first time at NCIIA and it was FANTASTIC! I am definitely coming back. So many of the talks I went to covered tangible things (tools, contacts, exercise, frameworks) that I can use in my class on commercializing new technologies. It was truly a valuable use of my time to come to the conference!

We've published a number of papers. View PowerPoint archives here.

Once again, thanks to our sponsors: The Lemelson Foundation, Olympus Corporation, NSF, Inventors Digest and Intellectual Ventures. 





Sponsored by:


Sponsor of the Olympus Innovation Awards:



Great position at NCIIA!

The NCIIA seeks an accomplished and enthusiastic individual with experience in developing and gaining funding for successful entrepreneurial training programs as Program Manager for Outreach. Read more and apply here!

NCIIA supports Microsoft's Imagine Cup finals

Microsoft's Imagine Cup finals were held in Cambridge, Mass., over the weekend. Read more about the event and NCIIA's involvement here.


About Olympus

Olympus is a precision technology leader, creating innovative opto-digital solutions in healthcare, life science and consumer electronics products. Olympus works collaboratively with its customers and its affiliates worldwide to leverage R&D investment in precision technology and manufacturing processes across diverse business lines. These include:

  • Gastrointestinal endoscopes, accessories, and minimally invasive surgical products;
  • Advanced clinical and research microscopes;
  • Lab automation systems, chemistry-immuno and blood bank analyzers and reagents;
  • Digital cameras and voice recorders.

Olympus serves healthcare and commercial laboratory markets with integrated product solutions and financial, educational and consulting services that help customers to efficiently, reliably and more easily achieve exceptional results. Olympus develops breakthrough technologies with revolutionary product design and functionality for the consumer and professional photography markets, and also is the leader in gastrointestinal endoscopy and clinical and educational microscopes. For more information, visit

2008 Olympus Innovation Award Winners


From left: Tina Seelig, Dave Barbe and Martina Musteen.

The NCIIA is delighted to announce the 2008 winners in the Olympus Innovation Award Program: Dr. Tom Byers and Dr. Tina Seelig, Stanford University; Dr. David F. Barbe, University of Maryland; and Dr. Martina Musteen, San Diego State University. The winners received their awards in Dallas, Texas, at the NCIIA 12th Annual Meeting.

"At Olympus, we understand the value and power of innovation, since it is at the core of every new technology we pioneer," stated F. Mark Gumz, president and chief operating officer of Olympus America Inc. "We are proud of the continuing success of the Innovation Awards as they recognize innovation in U.S. academia, which will foster the next generation of business leaders."

"Every year, we are amazed at how the programs and innovators that comprise the award candidates continue to get stronger," said NCIIA executive director Phil Weilerstein. "We had an excellent selection of candidates this year, and the winners had unique programs that demonstrated the tremendous impact they had on their students and universities, as well as their academic peers."

Stanford professors Tom Byers and Tina Seelig, co-founders of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program (STVP), which encourages top engineering and science schools worldwide to include entrepreneurship as part of their curricula, won the Olympus Innovation Award. This award recognizes faculty who foster an environment of innovative thinking among students through inventive teaching methods and hands-on opportunities. At STVP, Byers and Seelig also develop and offer courses, conferences, internships and research activities.

Martina Musteen, assistant professor at the College of Business Administration at San Diego State University, received the Olympus Emerging Educational Leader Award. This award recognizes an individual who has inspired innovative thinking in students in a discrete area and who, the judges believe, has the potential to make even greater contributions to the field in the future. Musteen was also recognized for giving students the opportunity to work with international entrepreneurial companies to expand their global market opportunities.

David Barbe, professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Maryland and executive director of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (MTECH), won the Olympus Lifetime of Educational Innovation Award. This award recognizes faculty members who have demonstrated a sustained contribution throughout their careers to stimulating and inspiring innovative thinking in students in their own universities and throughout academia. Barbe has a proven record of leadership in creating one of the leading innovative technology entrepreneurship cultures at a U.S. university, through successful programs such as the university's Hinman CEOs program and its Technology Startup boot camp, both of which have become models that are replicated nationwide, as well as through the Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) program.

2007 Olympus Innovation Award Winners


NCIIA recognizes the 2007 winners in the Olympus Innovation Award Program: Dr. Deborah Streeter, Cornell University; Burt Swersey, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI); and William Grant, University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB).  The program recognizes individuals who have fostered and demonstrated innovative thinking in higher education.  The winners received their awards from George Steares, vice president emeritus, Olympus America, in Tampa, Fla., at the NCIIA 11th Annual Meeting.

“Congratulations to the 2007 winners of the Olympus Innovation Award Program,” said Steares.  “I was most impressed with their innovative teaching methods and the profound impact they have had on so many students to become successful inventors and entrepreneurs.  Fostering innovation and entrepreneurship, a key element of Olympus’ management philosophy, is essential for companies to succeed in the U.S. and even more so internationally.”

Phil Weilerstein, NCIIA executive director, added, “The 2007 winners once again illustrate the essential role that higher education can play in grooming this country’s next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs. We are pleased about the visibility and the high quality of applications the Olympus Innovation Award Program is enjoying and look forward to continuing our partnership with Olympus to make the program even more successful.”

Deb Streeter, the Bruce F. Failing, senior associate professor of personal enterprise in Cornell University’s Department of Applied Economics and Management, won the Olympus Innovation Award in recognition for her contributions to Cornell and, more broadly, for being a pioneer in innovation and entrepreneurship education.  The judges were particularly impressed with Streeter’s “e-Clips” initiative, a collection of more than 6,000 digital video clips on entrepreneurship, the world’s largest such online collection.

Created from in-depth interviews or presentations by entrepreneurs; venture capitalists, bankers and other start-up capital providers; as well as employees of start-up companies, e-Clips provides rich media curricular material (video, audio) to easily help educators share rich information on entrepreneurship with their students.  To date, the database has attracted users from 70 countries and nearly 800 different universities.  As part of her award, Streeter will receive $10,000.

Burt Swersey, lecturer in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering at RPI, won the Olympus Lifetime of Educational Innovation Award for his dedication to innovative thinking and his commitment to his students and their learning.  Prior to joining RPI, Swersey was a successful innovator in the medical field.  He developed a number of important inventions, including an extremely accurate scale to weigh patients, including bed and instrumentation, revolutionizing the treatment of water losses in patients with severe burns.  For the past 18 years, Swersey has taught the ideals and methods of innovation and has served as a role model to students.  Many of these students have made significant impacts, either as entrepreneurs or as product designers for well-established companies, accumulating patents and business plan competition awards.  Swersey’s award includes a $2,500 prize.

William Grant, program manager of the Technology Management Program at UCSB’s College of Engineering, received the Olympus Emerging Educational Leader Award for his work at UCSB in creating and managing extracurricular activities that enable students to network and share knowledge and experience with successful scientists, entrepreneurs and other business experts.  Grant facilitates this dialogue through intimate working luncheons, small seminars, lectures and his “On the Edge” radio program on KCSB91.9FM.  Created and hosted by Grant and UCSB students, the weekly show features successful entrepreneurs and innovators and discusses how ideas become inventions.  In recognition of his work, Grant will receive $1,000.

Streeter, Swersey and Grant were among numerous qualified professionals nominated by colleagues at NCIIA member institutions, including many top colleges and research institutions in the United States.