August 2009

International Partnership on Safe Water Technology for Rural Communities in Developing Countries

Savannah State University, 2007 - $50,000

One-sixth of the world's people do not have access to safe drinking water, yet there is an abundant supply of freshwater resources, even in severely underdeveloped areas such as Sub-Saharan Africa. The problem is delivering water suitable for human consumption, as contaminated water kills more people than cancer, AIDS, war or accidents. The Savannah State University team will continue working with the Durban University of Technology (DUT) on a low-cost, low-maintenance water purification system using membrane technology. Local facilitators and entrepreneurs, both in the villages and in municipalities, will be trained in the use and maintenance of the system, and students at both institutions will work in product design, market research and develop a business plan.

Sustainable Technology-Based Entrepreneurship for the Senegalese Market

Pace University, 2007 - $47,198

Although Africa is now the fastest-growing mobile phone market in the world, the role of mobile phones in Africa is currently limited by the narrow scope of the applications relative to the needs of the African people. The aim of this project is to exploit the opportunity for mobile phone and Web design based startups in Africa by educating Senegalese students on how to develop innovative mobile phone applications and Web sites for this emerging market. Pace University will collaborate with Stony Brook University in the US, and Thies University and local associations in Senegal. During a boot camp, students in Senegal will be teamed with Senegalese women business owners and propose solutions adapted to their daily business needs. The mobile phone applications and Web sites will be developed using open source software.

Summer 2009 update: A model of teaching mobile application and Web design for social changes was developed. The ICTEsen model (Information and Communications Technology for Entrepreneurship in Senegal) creates a community of students, provides them with skills in technology, software engineering and entrepreneurship, has them apply those skills on real world projects to produce solutions to be deployed to trained clients, and transfer the acquired skills in the process of creating startups in information and communications technology. The model was implemented during a one-week boot camp that gathered 24 students of Thies University. Three mobile application prototypes and four Web sites were produced during the boot camp. Two students were proposed internships at Manobi (http://www.manobi.net) as part of collaboration between this project and Manobi. The mobile applications and Web sites were improved to be deployed. Nokia provided phones for the deployment of the mobile applications.

Inventors Month: Solar lighting systems for rural communities

For the past three years, Toby Cumberbatch, a professor at Cooper Union, and an E-Team team have been working with rural communities in northern Ghana and Rwanda on a solar lantern project. They have made steady progress, developing and testing several generations of prototypes. The goal: to create an affordable, solar-powered lantern that is made from local materials and sold by local entrepreneurs.

Read more about this invention, and a Rwandan newspaper's story about the project, in our showcase of inventions and inventors.

Inventors Month: The Keen Krutch

In 2001, an E-Team from the University of Portland invented a crutch alleviated the problems associated with traditional crutches and provided increased mobility for users. Keen Healthcare is now a thriving business, selling a range of mobility and safety products.

Read more about the company and its founder in our showcase of inventors marking National Inventors Month.

Focus on GROW continues

The GROW Solar Ivy phenomenon continues! Fox's 'Start-Up Summer' show features GROW inventors and founders Teresita and Samuel Cochran.

Watch the interview here. 

 

Inventors Month: the EpiCard

Our showcase of NCIIA-funded inventors, to recognize National Inventors Month, continues...

On average five people in the US die from anaphylactic shock each day. In 2000, Evan and Eric Edwards, an E-Team from University of Virginia, were awarded an E-Team grant to develop the EpiCard, an automatic epinephrine injecting system that is credit-card sized and easy to use. They then founded Intelliject, Inc., which has raised millions of dollars to continue the development of the EpiCard....

 

 

National Inventors Month

August is our month: National Inventors Month, celebrating invention and creativity.

National Inventors Month began was started in 1998 by the United Inventors Association of the USA (UIA-USA), the Academy of Applied Science, and Inventors' Digest magazine.

Jerome Lemelson

- The Visionary

Jerry Lemelson is one of the US's most prolific inventors and patent holders - he holds more than 600 patents, and his inventions make up much of our everyday lives.

Automated manufacturing systems and bar code readers, automatic teller machines and cordless phones, cassette players and camcorders, fax machines and personal computers, even crying baby dolls, derived from Lemelson's innovations.

His legacy, The Lemelson Foundation, is the NCIIA's primary funder. His life and work is a must-read - you can find it here.

Dorothy and Jerry Lemelson

Intelliject and Evan and Eric Edwards

- Saving Lives

Sobering statistic: On average five people in the US die from anaphylactic shock each day. The cause: allergic reactions to peanuts, bee stings, you name it. If you have have a serious allergy, it's probable you need to carry an epinephrine injector (or two). You'll also know that these items are so bulky you'll be tempted to leave them at home, like more than half the people who are suposed to carry one.

In 2000 the EpiCard E-Team, now Intelliject, Inc., invented an automatic epinephrine injecting system that is credit-card sized and easy to use.  The EpiCard can be carried almost anywhere - in the user's purse, wallet, or pocket - and is efficient and safe.

The team was founded by brothers Eric and Evan Edwards, who both have severe allergies and needed to carry an epinephrine injector - until they invented the EpiCard.

 

 

Evan Edwards and EpiCard

 

Keen Healthcare and Vail Horton

- Enhancing Mobility

Anyone that has had an injury requiring crutches knows they are uncomfortable to use over a long period of time.

In 2001, NCIIA funded a University of Portland E-Team to develop the Keen Krutch, a more comfortable, more versatile crutch that alleviated the problems associated with traditional crutches and provided increased mobility. The Keen Krutch features underarm cushioning that conforms to the curvature of the body; a contour shape to redistribute pressure; adjustable, mobile handgrips to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome; shock absorbers; and a pivoting ankle joint for increased mobility.

The idea for the Keen Krutch was originated by Vail Horton, who was born without legs and used crutches from an early age. After graduating from the University of Portland, Horton and his former roommate Jerry Carleton co-founded Keen Mobility, an assistive technology company built around the crutch. Renamed Keen Healthcare, the company manufactures an array of mobility and bed safety products.

 

Keen Krutch

Socialite

- Lighting the way in Ghana

For the past three years, Toby Cumberbatch, a professor at Cooper Union, and an E-Team team have been working with rural communities in northern Ghana and in Rwanda on a solar lantern project. They have made steady progress, developing and testing several generations of prototypes. The goal: create an affordable, solar-powered lantern that is made from local materials and sold by local entrepreneurs.

Read more about the project,the invention, and its impact on the lives of local villagers, as reported in the Rwandan New Times.

The Cooper Union solar lantern

 

Celebrating inventors!

 

August is our month: National Inventors Month, celebrating invention and creativity.

We begin our month-long showcase of inventors (and their inventions) by recognizing the man whose vision led to the creation of the NCIIA. 
 
Jerry Lemelson is one of the US's most prolific inventors and patent holders - more than 600 to his credit. His legacy, The Lemelson Foundation, is the NCIIA's primary funder. His life and work is a must-read - you can find it here