January 2012

Project Agrow

 IIT Bombay, India

NCIIA is pleased to welcome Project Agrow, Villgro Innovations Foundation’s My Idea competition winner.
Globally, 2.2 million children die of malnourishment every year. In response, the World Health Organization has developed a peanut butter-based health food formula (Ready to Use Therapeutic Food, or RUTF) that helps children quickly recover their health. RUTF is now used in a number of countries with severe malnutrition problems, like India. Several government health care centers have been set up in India to prepare RUTF for rural populations, and there is a need for fresh peanut butter.
This team is developing a low cost, manually operated machine that enables de-cortication and de-husking of raw peanuts to deliver clean peanut kernels. The goal is to use this device in rural government health care centers for the preparation of RUTF formula.
Additionally, most peanuts are sold raw by farmers to vendors, who then convert them to kernels and sell them at a much higher margin. This machine will allow farmers to process raw peanuts themselves and sell them directly in the market.



 University of California, Berkeley

India is rapidly urbanizing.  Over the next 2 decades, an estimated $800 Billion is required to build the infrastructure that will support the country’s growing economy. In communities where piped water is available only for short and unpredictable intervals, people spend hours waiting next to dry taps, and are frequently forced to buy water from private suppliers at high cost or use water from unsafe sources, often with serious health consequences.
NextDrop is leveraging the recent proliferation of mobile phones in India to provide households with accurate and timely information about when piped water will become available in their area. The team is creating India’s first Human-Powered Smart Grid by turning the country’s infrastructure-operators into human sensors.  NextDrop partners with utilities to collect, analyze, and disseminate information to both decision-makers and city residents.  Their services enable utilities to become more efficient and more transparent, while improving the lives of citizens.   



Safe Agua Peru Teams

Giradora and Balde a Balde

Art Center College of Design 

Art Center College of Design is represented by two teams at this year's event: SAFE AGUA's Balde a Balde and Giradora.
Balde a Balde (Spanish for “Bucket to Bucket”) is a portable faucet that provides running water from any container, bringing the health benefits and experience of using a tap to families living without running water. Th e user attaches Balde a Balde to any container with a universal clip, then starts a conti nuous flow of water with a few squeezes of the siphon pump. Users can easily control the exact amount of water they need, with a simple click of the on/off spout or a twist of the valve to regulate flow. Balde a Balde harnesses gravity to bring the dignity of running water to the three billion people living without taps.
GiraDora is a human-powered washer and spin dryer to increase the efficiency and improve the experience of hand-washing clothes. The user sits on top of the drum-like appliance and pumps a pedal with his or her foot, which agitates, cleans, rinses, and spin-dries clothes. While providing a more comfortable, ergonomic, and efficient way to clean clothes, GiraDora also affords opportunities to generate income. For under $40, GiraDora more than doubles productivity, improves the health of women and children, and affords the opportunity to begin breaking the poverty cycle.
Both projects arose from SAFE AGUA Peru, a partnership between Art Center’s Designmatters and the Innovation Center of South American NGO Un Techo para Mi Pais.



University of California, Davis

Epidemics of recent emerging infectious diseases, such as the H1N1 pandemic, demand cost-efficient and scalable production technologies that can rapidly deliver effective therapeutics to clinics. Traditional vaccine manufacturers have trouble meeting these needs, as their manufacturing processes are slow and not economically scalable. Developing world populations are especially burdened by lack of access to large quantities of effective and inexpensive therapies.
This team is developing SwiftVax, a plant-based production platform that produces animal and human vaccines efficiently and affordably. The technology can rapidly produce large amounts of therapeutics with minimal investment compared to traditional vaccine production infrastructure.
The team’s initial target product is an animal vaccine for Newcastle Disease, a devastating and highly pathogenic disease in poultry. The disease threatens commercial poultry in developed countries as well as the livelihood of disadvantaged populations in Africa, to whom chickens represent the main source of food and income.



Stanford University

If left untreated, neonatal jaundice can cause kernicterus, a form of brain damage with complications including deafness, cerebral palsy, and death. In the US, phototherapy treatment (shining wavelength-specific light on the baby) has virtually eliminated kernicterus, but in developing countries like India only a small segment of the population has access to effective treatment.
In order to improve patient access to neonatal jaundice treatment in rural Indian clinics, this team—working with the non-profit technology incubator, Design Revolution—is developing a low cost, low maintenance opto-medical device for the treatment of jaundice. Instead of using fluorescent tube or compact fluorescent bulbs, the team’s device uses more efficient, high-intensity blue LEDs that can be supported by a battery backup.


Integrated Punch Biopsy

Johns Hopkins University

When faced with an abnormal skin lesion, physicians are often required to perform a biopsy to obtain a sample of the tissue. Types of skin biopsies include shave, excisional, and punch, and the samples provided by each differ in size and depth. Punch biopsies are the primary technique used to acquire full-thickness specimens because they obtain the epidermis, the dermis and the subcutaneous tissue. Punch biopsies, however, are technique-dependent and require multiple surgical instruments to perform. Two aspects of the procedure, namely the depth of the punch (sample thickness) and the mechanical handling of the specimen can particularly affect the quality of the sample.
The Integrated Punch Biopsy team is altering the design of the current punch tool, significantly decreasing the need for additional instruments, reducing cost and improving safety. The all-in-one device efficiently and safely transects and retrieves the skin sample. Closure of the defect is also addressed.   


Medtric Biotech, LLC

 Purdue University

When a wound gets infected, both health problems and the costs of treating them skyrocket. Domestically, the cost of care for an infected wound is nearly $14,000 per case. In chronic wounds, total treatment costs can escalate beyond $40,000. Current therapies (antibiotics or silver ions) have several disadvantages pertaining to safety (adverse allergic reactions), environmental concerns (metal ion particles) and the alarming increase in pathogenic drug resistance.
Team Medtric is developing Osmotec, an innovative, environmentally friendly anti-infection technology that does not use antibiotics, has wide spectrum anti-bacterial activity (even against multi-drug resistant pathogens) and has been shown to actively promote wound healing in pre-clinical animal studies. The team is developing Osmotec in pad, spray, and gel forms.


GRIT Leveraged Freedom Chair

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

GRIT draws on the high-level research and development talent at MIT’s academic labs to develop technological solutions to global problems and creates a pathway for proven concepts to progress into products. By uniquely bridging the gap between innovation in academia and implementation in the real world, we can make a significant impact for people around the world.
GRIT is currently focused on scaling up dissemination of the Leveraged Freedom Chair (LFC). The LFC is a lever-powered mobility aid designed for use in developing countries, where existing products cannot cope with the rough terrain. The key innovation behind the device is its simple variable mechanical advantage drivetrain, where the user adjusts hand position on the stow-able levers to change torque and speed, enabling a versatile platform for indoor and outdoor use. 
Since the user changes body geometry to effectively “shift gears,” the LFC drivetrain can be made of a simple and robust assembly of bicycle components, making the chair manufacturable and repairable anywhere in the world for the same price or less as current devices to reach the fourteen million people in need of mobility aids in rural areas of developing countries.


IntelliWheels, INC.

 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

IntelliWheels (intelli-wheels.com) is developing after-market additions to off-the-shelf wheelchairs that significantly decrease the effort it takes to propel them. Similar to the way shifting gears makes a bicycle easier to pedal, IntelliWheels makes moving a wheelchair easier by pushing the hand rims forward, backward, and opposite directions to turn while a fully contained gearing system in each wheel reduces the amount of force required from the user.
The team is developing a full line of geared systems, including the IntelliWheels AGS (three-speed Automatic Gear-Shift), the IntelliWheels MGS (three-speed Manual Gear-Shift), and the IntelliWheels EP (two-speed low-gear Easy-Push). Each of these products will be packaged as a set of wheels that retrofit to most wheelchairs, making them easier to push and helping the user to maintain independence and mobility. 


TechCrunch features Intel Innovators

Intel Innovators is a new platform and a nationwide competition on Facebook to discover, empower and award the next generation of young entrepreneurs with the best game-changing technology ideas up to $100,000 every month.

In partnership with Intel, NCIIA will provide the winners of the competition with specialized training through a series of one-on-one business strategy development sessions.

Take a look at TechCrunch's 1/12 article that goes into further depth on the program.