September 2009

Wear Simulator for Testing Ankle Joint Replacement Components

University of Pittsburgh, 1998 - $16,800

This E-Team designed, constructed and evaluated a prototype wear simulator for the testing of ankle joint replacement components. The wear testing of joint replacement implants is important for evaluating the durability of the components and for studying the wear particles that are generated. Wear testing machines are available for hip and knee implants, but not the ankle implant, which is a new product.

Industrial Assessment Software Development

Carthage College, 1998 - $6,506

This E-Team is modifying an existing business assessment tool that enables businesses to assess their capability to meet ISO9000 standards. The tool is inexpensive, easy to use, and available for use in small to medium-sized businesses. The software allows the user to calculate a 'score' that represents the performance of various business elements against international standards using ISO9000 parameters. NIST developed this assessment tool with the intent of improving the competitiveness of US businesses.

The E-Team plans to develop its own small business while further helping other small businesses through its products. The team will work with the company Acumen to develop a plan to market the product to local businesses. The team is funded to develop a product design and create the necessary software, conduct beta testing, and implement a full-scale system. They will develop a marketing plan for the product, create a list of potential customers, and prepare a detailed business plan.

The students are business majors enrolled in the ScienceWorks: Entrepreneurial Studies in Natural Science Program. Combining their skills, interest, and education in business and technology with the career and entrepreneurship training in ScienceWorks, they decided to launch a new software-based business development venture.

Developing a Continuous Transmission

Hampton College, 1998 - $14,250

This E-Team has pioneered research on a continuous transmission system that could facilitate higher power utilization efficiency in consumer engines, including next generation vehicles. By combining a flywheel and a continuous transmission, the system offers a high performance drive train that outperforms current low emission devices. This system could have major applications in high efficiency and electric vehicles, as well as other powered equipment.

The device would revolutionize drive technology and the potential markets for such a device are numerous and varied, from the target application of automobile performance enhancement to smaller motors found in consumer electronics.

The team is made up of three physics majors, one sophomore and two juniors. The NCIIA funded the team to design and construct a testing prototype for the system.

Development of a Hand Held Sewing Machine

California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, 1998 - $11,900

This E-Team began with a proof of principle prototype of a hand held sewing machine. Instead of the advance mechanism pulling the cloth into the sewing mechanism, the user pulls the material through the machine. The sewing mechanism operates and sews the cloth by using the friction between the cloth and a wheel.

The final product will be small, lightweight, portable, and easy to operate. Landscape contractors, army units, or anyone else who needs to repair tears would find this product useful.

The team is made up of two junior mechanical engineers and a faculty member. They are funded to complete a final conceptual product design and prototype, a market analysis, a patent, and marketing plan. The students will work on this project during the summer and as part of their senior design class, a mandatory course for all mechanical engineering seniors. The project originated in an E-Team course Philosophy of Design.

Virginia Composite Wheel Team

University of Virginia, 1998 - $19,718

This E-Team designed, built and tested a fiber-reinforced plastic composite vehicle (car, truck) wheel. The wheel is substantially lighter than current metal wheels, resulting in improved performance and fuel economy.


Ramapo College of New Jersey, 1998 - $14,900

This E-Team is developing an inexpensive consumer device for viewing, optimizing, and printing photographs from film. The apparatus is an inexpensive stand-alone device to view both positive and negative film on a built-in LCD display. Students estimate that even a percentage penetration of the product into the huge post processing market would generate multimillion-dollar revenues.

The reader displays a real-time positive image of positive or negative photographic film onto the reader's LCD display or to a separate TV screen. Output from the reader may be fed into the video input of a PC or MAC where the film is displayed on the monitor as a positive image. Software will allow the user to adjust the image for intensity, contrast, and color balance. The user may then print the final image.

The group is funded to build and test a proof of concept model and to then develop and test a prototype. The team works on the device as an independent study project. The project originated in an E-Team course Invention: Creative and Legal Perspectives at Ramapo College.

Cedarville Ethanol Challenge Team - Reformer Project

Cedarville University, 1998 - $14,000

This E-Team originated from the Ethanol Vehicle Challenge sponsored by the United States Department of Energy, General Motors Corporation, and Natural Resources Canada. Ethanol is a cleaner burning fuel than gasoline, and a renewable source of energy. A significant problem with the fuel is that engines fueled with a high percentage of ethanol do not start well at low temperatures. The technology that Cedarville began to investigate was a device that reformulates ethanol into ether and water since ether is highly combustible at low temperatures.

The Cedarville team later discovered a better approach than the ether/water solution. Ethanol motor fuel is "contaminated" with 15% gasoline to make it toxic so that the liquor tax does not apply. The gasoline can be recovered or separated by distillation and then used for the cold start. There are many advantages to this system, as it is less volatile than ether and therefore safer. The distillation system requires much less maintenance than a catalytic reformulation device.

The E-Team for this project comes from a larger team of twenty-nine members who competed in the Ethanol Vehicle Challenge. Team members have skills in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and chemistry and they have established several working relationships with industry and suppliers.

Grantee update: Pedal power for safe water video

The Reverse Engineering Bicyles E-Team from San Jose State is looking to solve three interrelated problems in Lebialem, Cameroon with products derived from bicycle parts. Here's a video about their bike-powered water filter.

You can see more video updates from our grantees on the NCIIA Youtube channel.




New York Times tries Zeo's Personal Sleep Coach

Sleep is fundamental to our health, happiness and performance. Until recently, though, there were few if any tools available to help people track their sleep patterns.

Former E-Team Zeo (see E-Team profile) has developed and is selling an alarm clock that measures your brainwaves and transmits them wirelessly to a clock on your nightstand. After you wake, you can review and analyze your sleep performance. The New York Times recently tried out the Zeo Peronal Sleep Coach. Read about the experience here.



Research to Innovation


The R2I Program

R2I is a market-focused training program for university researchers and innovators.

R2I provides university innovators - faculty, post-docs, graduate and undergraduate students - with the skills, tools and roadmap required to successfully translate their research into commercially valuable innovation.

NCIIA-LENS OF THE MARKET from Scott Hancock on Vimeo.

Why R2I?
R2I exists because technological solutions to many of the planet’s most pressing challenges will be provided by highly trained scientists and engineers through transformative and innovative scientific research. The elusive step: A translation process must take place to transform research into innovations with market potential. 

To effectively translate research into innovations, university innovators must:

1. Understand the steps of the 'research to innovation' translation process.

2. Develop and implement a translation process as a function of their research.

3. Find and engage the on- and off-campus resources to help them.

Who should attend R2I?

1. Faculty, students and post-docs that are addressing challenges by developing solutions with market potential.

2. Tech transfer officers who want to help researchers gain the insights into what from their research can be an innovation.

3. Academic center leaders or department leaders who want to advance research translation in their institutions.


Who's using R2I?
In April 2009, in conjunction with the NSF, NCIIA launched its R2I at CCI (Chemical Centers of Innovation) program. Read about R2I at CCI.


The R2I Program

Three products tailored to your research themes:

Lens of the Market WORKSHOP Invention or innovation? Explore and define the commercial possibilities of your research.

R2I Translation Planning WORKSHOP 
Build an actionable translation plan, and launch this at your institution.

Get the Answers PANEL
Learn from experts to help advance your innovation.


Meet the facilitators

Judy Giordan and Joseph Steig


Bring R2I to your campus

To find out how we will tailor an R2I to your institution's needs, contact Judy Giordan at NCIIA.