February 2010

Daniel Raviv

Daniel Raviv received his Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University in 1987 and M.Sc. and B.Sc. degrees from the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa in 1982 and 1980, respectively. He has been a professor in the College of Engineering & Computer Science at Florida Atlantic University since 1988, and currently serves as a faculty member of Electrical Engineering. His major research interests lie in vision-based autonomous navigation (driverless cars), active vision, and innovative thinking.

Arona Coulibaly

Arona Coulibaly is the head of the Laboratory of Applied Thermodynamics at the National School of Engineering in Bamako, Mali. It is the oldest school of engineering in West Africa.

Perry Gottesfeld

Perry Gottesfeld has been actively involved in the environmental health field since 1984. He obtained his Masters of Public Health in Biomedical and Environmental Health Sciences from UC Berkeley, and in 1988 started Occupational Knowledge, Inc., to offer training and consulting services in the environmental field. In this capacity, Mr. Gottesfeld has conducted environmental audits, training and consulting services to businesses, non-profit organizations, government and universities on hazardous materials and solid waste management issues. In 1999, Gottesfeld founded Occupational Knowledge International to address environmental health in developing countries. OK International is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving public health through innovative strategies to reduce exposures to industrial pollutants. The organization seeks to address inequities in environmental standards between developed and developing countries by working in partnership with industry, government and non-governmental organizations. The organization's web site may be found at www.okinternational.org.

Open Minds


NCIIA is pleased to announce the Open Minds 2011 participating teams!!

Open Minds (formerly known as March Madness for the Mind) is the acclaimed annual exhibition of cutting-edge innovation from NCIIA's best student teams. The exhibition takes place each year during NCIIA's annual conference, and is an opportunity for student teams to demonstrate their products and companies, and receive local and national media coverage. This year, 15 teams have been selected to participate in this high profile event, which involves an evening exhibition for NCIIA conference attendees as well as an exhibition open to the general public and an exciting video competition, in partnership with Inventors Digest. Open Minds 2011 will be held in Washington, D.C. at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. The public exhibition will take place Saturday, March 26, 10:00am-2:00pm.

Media representatives: see the online media kit.

  • Jatropha Fuel Briquette Design for Smallholder Farmers in Guatemala

    University of Colorado at Boulder

    Developing briquettes made from the locally available Jatropha plant to meet rural families’ cooking fuel needs
    Learn more
  • Continuously Variable Transmission system

    Anna University, Chennai, India

    Improving fuel efficiency of agricultural engines by incorporating a pulley-type transmission system into the engine.
    Learn more
  • Gel-Fuel and The Twig Light

    Arizona State University

    A clean-burning gel fuel to replace traditional open fires/stoves in developing countries AND a clean electric light that makes use of existing waste energy.
    Learn more
  • Lyogo

    Purdue University

    Developing a device that makes it easy to distribute, administer, and dispose of medicine around the world.
    Learn more
  • Medici Medical Technologies

    Duke University

    Developing innovative devices to restore control to women suffering from urinary incontinence (UI).
    Learn more
  • infantAIR

    Rice University

    Developing low-cost ventilation system for infants and small children with respiratory distress in developing countries.
    Learn more
  • Antenatal Screening Kit

    Johns Hopkins University

    Developing an easy to use screening kit to deliver low-cost healthcare to pregnant women in developing countries.
    Learn more
  • mobiLIFE, Inc.

    Boston University

    A painless, Bluetooth-enabled CGMS that provides precise readings at a fraction of the cost for people suffering from or at risk for diabetes.
    Learn more
  • Sustainable Solar Sanitation System

    Georgia Institute of Technology

    Addressing the issue of sanitation in developing countries through the development of a dry latrine system that provides sustainable, affordable, and safe treatment of human waste using the sun's energy.
    Learn more
  • Kibera Working Group's WATSAN Solution

    University of Denver

    Working toward the goal of improved sanitation facilities in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya.
    Learn more
  • Relay Technology Management, Inc.

    Tufts University

    Developing the Innovation Engine, a web-based analytics approach to identifying promising drug candidates from academic research institutions and early-stage biotechnology companies.
    Learn more
  • Rickshaw Bank

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    Working in collaboration with The Rickshaw Bank (TRB), an Indian Nonprofit, on a number of incremental rickshaw inprovements to the current model's efficiency and safety.
    Learn more
  • SAFE AGUA: Ducha Halo Portable Shower

    Art Center College of Design

    Developing an affordable pressurized shower solution for impovrished familes in developing countries that provides a warm shower, reduces the spread of illness and reduces the amount of water used in traditional showers.
    Learn more
  • WishVast: Building Trust and Social Capital using Cellphones

    Pennsylvania State University

    A cell-phone-based business networking system that harnesses the pervasiveness of cellphones in developing countries to optimize resource utilization and facilitate people-to-people trade, with the ultimate goal of alleviating poverty.
    Learn more
  • Malo Traders LLC

    Temple University and Purdue University

    Combating extreme poverty and malnutrition by providing state-of-the art and environmentally sustainable storage, efficient processing and fortification technology, and marketing services to farmers and affordable prices to consumers.
    Learn more

The Video Competition

The teams participating in Open Minds 2011 have created short videos that tell the story of their innovations. Public voting on the videos has now closed. Thanks to all who voted for sharing your opinion! The winning teams will be awarded cash prizes to help advance their project. First prize is $1,000, second prize is $500, and third prize is $250. Learn more about the competition.

Video competition timeline:

  • Videos available for public viewing and voting: February 18 - March 14. Public voting has now closed, but the videos are still available. Watch them today!
  • Final video judging: March 14 - March 18.
  • Winning videos announced at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History: March 26 at 12:00 noon, during the Open Minds public exhibition

Thanks to our video competition sponsors:

More about Open Minds

Read the Open Minds application guidelines

Learn about teams from 2010



Benjamin Linder

Benjamin Linder, a faculty member at the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, focuses on sustainable design, international development, human-centered design and creative design methods. These efforts are directed at developing techniques and approaches that further a more ecologically connected and socially responsive design practice. He regularly serves as an advisor and provides workshops on sustainable and human-centered product design. In addition, he is a co-organizer of the International Development Design Summit that brings people together from over twenty countries to build local, creative design capacity.

Robin D. Anderson

Robin D. Anderson is the Dean of the Dr. Robert B. Pamplin, Jr. School of Business and the Robert W. Franz Chair in Entrepreneurship at the University of Portland (1998-present). As the Franz Chair, he has developed the entrepreneurship core in the business school courses, designed and taught the first entrepreneurship course offered at the university for non-business majors and initiated a cutting-edge three-course intensive study program for entrepreneurial students, called Entrepreneur Scholars (E-Scholars). The E-Scholars Program won the 2001 Model Award for Specialty Entrepreneurship Programs from USASBE. He is also the Executive Director of the University of Portland’s Center for Entrepreneurship. Prior to his work at the University of Portland, Robin was the founding Director of the University of Nebraska Center for Entrepreneurship, in Lincoln, Nebraska. In 1997, he received the National Model Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Program Award for the program he developed while at the University of Nebraska (1987-1998). His M.B.A. Entrepreneurship program was listed twice as one of the top 25 by Success magazine. His other awards include the Edwin M. Appel Prize from Price-Babson (1991) and the Leavey Award for Excellence from the Freedoms Foundation (1990). While at UNL, he administered USIA, Eurasia and other grants with partners in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Albania. He has taught entrepreneurship in more than twenty countries.

New nonprofit started in MIT class


Over the past two years the Wheelchair Design in Developing Countries (WDDC) class has provided an opportunity for MIT students to use their technical skills to address the challenges faced by people with disabilities in the developing world. The class focuses on bettering the lives of others by improving wheelchairs and tricycles in the developing world.

A nonprofit organization has recently sprung from this project. Worldwide Mobility (WM) is an organization that was started in the class. The aim of WM is to channel donated funds directly to wheelchair organizations in developing countries. “The motivation behind this project,” says Amos Winter, primary investigator of the project,  “Is to compete with low-quality donated wheelchairs and to support the organizations that would not otherwise have access to foreign donors. “

Read about the project. Visit the course website.

Jennifer Keller Jackson

Jennifer Keller Jackson oversees the NCIIA’s grants programs (Course and Program, E-Team, Sustainable Vision, Sponsorship and Resource grants, totaling about $2m annually), the Olympus Innovation Awards program and other competitions. Jennifer’s background is in nonprofit management in the areas of education and technology. Her experience includes program development, customer service, fund-raising, technical proposal writing, communications, and PR. She wrote a concept paper to start a nonprofit and worked to transform another organization into a for-profit company. Jennifer and her family moved to Amherst, MA from the Washington, D.C. area in 2004. Jennifer grew up overseas in Asia, Africa, and South America and is deeply interested in alternatives to the traditional aid model of development. She has a B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and studied at the Univerisite de Montpellier, France.

Phil Weilerstein

Phil Weilerstein began his career as a student entrepreneur at the University of Massachusetts. He and a team, including his advisor, launched a start-up biotech company that ultimately went public. This experience, coupled with a lifelong passion for entrepreneurship, led to his work with the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA). Phil’s tenure at the NCIIA is marked by his skill for network-building and expert leverage of resources. He has a special talent for seeking out gifted educators and other important contributors and putting them to work for the betterment of invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship education in the US and worldwide. As an entrepreneur in a not-for-profit organization, he has grown the NCIIA from a grassroots group of enthusiastic faculty to a nationally known and in-demand knowledge base and resource center. Phil also serves as the Chair of the Entrepreneurship Division of the American Society of Engineering Education.

James Barlow

James Barlow has worked in the university entrepreneurship space for seven years and has been commercial advisor or commercial director for sixteen start-ups as well as consulting internationally on start-up strategy, enterprise education and training. Prior to working in higher education, James was a performance coach, motivational speaker and strategy consultant for FTSE-listed companies and also worked in the pharmaceutical industry in sales and sales management. He earned his BSc Honours Degree in Biochemistry from the University of Kent.