Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Design of Energy Efficient Human-Powered Transportation Systems

Western Michigan University, 2011 - $8,000

With this proposed grant, Western Michigan University faculty will work toward two goals: incorporating into existing courses the concepts of innovative design and entrepreneurial process with an emphasis on energy efficiency, and creating a new capstone course for seniors in which they create human-powered transportation systems (HPTS) and work toward commercializing them.

WMU has participated for several years in two HPTS student competitions: the Sunseeker, a solar car competition, and the Chainless Challenge, in which students design chainless human-powered hydraulic bicycles. In the capstone course, the focus will be on designing cost effective human-powered land vehicles suitable for transporting loads in rural environments of the developing world.

NCIIA has awarded a planning grant to further develop this project concept.

Open-Source Global Innovation and Entrepreneurship Capstone Course: Development and Implementation

Minneapolis College of Art and Design, 2011 - $8,000

As proposed, this grant supports the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) in integrating a capstone course into its fully online Sustainable Design Online program. The capstone course will be planned by an online committee of eight experts from a range fields, including business, design, online education, and technology. The committee’s progress will be shared through a public blog, with course development deliverables including curricula with learning outcomes, core content, teaching methodologies, and appropriate assessment frameworks.

The goal of the new course is to spur development of E-Teams and foster student entrepreneurship at MCAD. The plan is for online E-Teams consisting of students from around the world will move through the design process (ideation, concept, prototype, business and market plan) and receive entrepreneurship training and support. Ultimately their designs will be measured for their global, social, and environmental impact. The course will lay the foundation for the first fully online MA program in sustainable design in the world.

NCIIA has awarded a planning grant to further develop this project concept.

Medical Device Innovation Program (MDIP) of the Division of Plastic Surgery of Northwestern University

Northwestern University, 2011 - $30,000

This grant supports the creation of the Medical Device Innovation Program (MDIP) at Northwestern University. The program, a collaboration between the Division of Plastic Surgery in the Feinberg School of Medicine and Northwestern, will pair up engineering students, postdoctoral fellows and medical residents in generating new medical devices in areas of unmet clinical needs in plastic surgery. The goal is to translate novel medical devices into businesses either through licensing or by forming start-up companies.

The MDIP program was successfully piloted in late 2010. NCIIA grant money will enable the MDIP team to expand the quantity and quality of student projects that are funded to develop prototypes.

Spark: A University-level Initiative for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Florida Atlantic University, 2011 - $36,000

This grant supports development of the Spark incubator program at Florida Atlantic University. The Spark program, initially developed with a spring 2010 NCIIA Course & Program planning grant, gives FAU students physical space in which to work, with dedicated basic hardware, software, and a small seed budget to help validate their early-stage ventures. Spark teams will attend biweekly speaker events; have a personal mentor and a centralized web portal; and at the end of the year a competition will be held, attended by seed investors and community leaders.

Students and faculty from across the university will be able to participate in the Spark program. The ultimate goals of the program are to provide an experiential learning experience for students and to connect the existing semi-scattered innovation/entrepreneurship activities on campus, improving communication and collaboration between colleges, centers, and institutes.

A Virtual Incubator at Penn State Berks (VIB) to Foster Student Innovations

Penn State Berks, 2011 - $19,372

Since its inception in 2009, students in Penn State Berks’ E-SHIP minor have developed new venture ideas involving information technology (IT), including mobile applications and cloud-based services. However, students have found it hard to prototype and test their ideas.

This grant will support the development of a Virtual Incubator (VIB) at Penn State Berks to help E-Teams get their IT ideas off the ground. The VIB is conceptualized as a virtual environment that provides E-Teams with high-end IT resources as well as technical and business support through partnerships with academic and industry experts. The VIB will consist of a host server, a sandbox (virtual IT resource pool) where students can develop and test their ideas, a software repository, and a website.

Technology Entrepreneurship and Commercialization (TEC) Academy

Ohio State University, 2011 - $30,000

This grant supports the launch of an interdisciplinary graduate-level specialization at Ohio State University, referred to as the Technology Entrepreneurship and Commercialization (TEC) Academy. Led by the campus Center for Entrepreneurship, the specialization will integrate the graduate educational programs of science and technology with business, design and law. Central to the program will be the formation of E-Teams seeking to commercialize emerging OSU technologies.

This effort will include the creation of at least four new courses and numerous modifications to existing courses to accommodate interdisciplinary teams, live technology projects, participation of executive mentors, and engagement with university inventors. Through the TEC Academy, the center plans to train as many as fifty research faculty and more than 200 graduate students each year how to assess the commercial potential of new technologies.

The Affordable Design and Entrepreneurship Initiative

Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, 2011 - $35,400

This grant supports a new collaboration between Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering and Babson College titled "Affordable Design and Entrepreneurship." In the program, students will work in distributed teams with communities around the world to develop innovations in areas such as energy, water, health, agriculture, transportation and communication. An ideal student path would be to complete an internship with an initiative partner, take the course for two semesters, work for a mission-driven company or NGO as an intern, and be part of launching a new social venture. The plan is for projects to last 2-3 years, with dozens of students “getting on and off the (project) bus,” as the PI acknowledged that one course or one year is not enough time for this the necessary technology and business model development.

This grant will provide funds to cover community site visit expenses while the program becomes self-sustaining. The main objective is to give teams the funds they need to perform early-stage market and prototyping tests to advance their ventures forward.

Entrepreneurship Development for Rural Southeastern North Carolina

University of North Carolina at Pembroke, 2011 - $25,700

The University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNCP) serves a diverse regional community of 38% Native Americans, 32% Caucasian, 25% African Americans, and 5% Hispanic and others. UNCP is located among the poorest counties in the nation, with unemployment over 12% and a poverty rate of 31.1%. In order to help the economy of this region, UNCP’s Thomas Family Center for Entrepreneurship promotes entrepreneurship education and provides free consulting for local entrepreneurs.

The goal of this grant is to enhance the entrepreneurship education activities on campus, providing quality offerings to UNCP students and forming the basis for a stronger entrepreneurial environment in the area. Originally supported by a 2010 NCIIA Course and Program planning grant, this grant will help UNCP faculty in developing new courses and programs for students and area entrepreneurs, including E-Team development, entrepreneurship-focused academic programs (certificate, minor, concentration, and MBA), competitions (elevator and business plan), and consulting for local entrepreneurs.

Interdisciplinary Design Studio (IDS)

New Jersey Institute of Technology, 2011 - $29,500

This grant supports the development of a new four-year research, design and entrepreneurship program for undergraduate honors students at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. The program, Interdisciplinary Design Studio (IDS), will recruit high-achieving honors students from all disciplines during their freshman year. They will form into multidisciplinary teams and develop innovative solutions in specific theme areas, including point-of-care healthcare technologies, sustainable infrastructure and architecture, green energy, and smart transportation systems.

IDS teams will also develop business, marketing and financial plans and will each be paired with a corporate partner. Projects will be further explored for incubation and potential commercialization through the NJIT Enterprise Development Center.

Social Entrepreneurship Course Development

Pennsylvania State University, 2011 - $29,000

In higher education today, courses in business planning are typically taught only in business schools and are focused on US-based for-profit ventures, rarely catering to the different challenges and dynamics encountered with social entrepreneurship endeavors. This course, developed initially with a spring 2010 NCIIA Course & Program planning grant, is dedicated to business planning for social ventures in the US and abroad. The course will cover the fundamental concepts of social entrepreneurship and use diverse case studies and experiential learning activities to help students develop an understanding of social problems and devise innovative solutions to address them.

The goal for this course is to eventually become a required class for the restructured certificate program in the Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship (HESE) program at Penn State. HESE is leading several international technology-based social ventures, including infrastructure development, telemedicine, cell phone-based social networking, and a three-year degree program to train entrepreneurial secondary school science teachers.


Stanford University, 2011 - $19,000

The vast majority of hospitalizations related to heart failure in the US are due to symptoms of volume overload, which occurs when cardiac pumping function declines and excess fluid builds up in the body. Patients become bloated due to the fluid accumulation, and in the lungs, where interstitial space is limited, fluid overflows into the airways and causes shortness of breath common to heart patients.

Volume overload is currently managed by two treatments: medications and dialysis. Medications remove fluid from the body by increasing kidney function and increasing urine output, but this reversal can take hours to days and is often incomplete. Dialysis mechanically filters fluid from blood in patients with poor kidney function, but is complex and expensive.

LymphAxis is developing a novel catheter system to drain excess fluid directly from the thoracic duct. Instead of manipulating kidney function to increase urine output, the team’s device accesses the interstitial fluid compartment (in the patient’s neck) directly. The device’s double-armed catheter is advanced through the central venous system to the thoracic duct. The catheter tip seals against the duct to draw fluid directly from the lymphatic system and into a vacuum container outside the body.

Pragmatic Energy (Arbsource)

Arizona State University, 2011 - $20,000

This team is developing the BioHydrogenator (BHR), a device that could reduce wastewater treatment costs for food and beverage makers and produce hydrogen gas in the process. Currently, food and beverage makers in the US use a conventional aerobic (oxygen-rich) process that is effective at eliminating pollutants from wastewater but is extremely energy-intensive and costly.

The BHR uses a fundamentally different type of bacterial ecology and reactor design that offers the ability to treat wastewater without aeration. The main idea is to use the energy released through the breakdown of organic pollutants in the wastewater by microorganisms to create hydrogen gas as a useful byproduct. This transfer of protons and electrons is facilitated by electrodes (an anode and cathode) suspended in a reaction chamber.


Stanford University, 2011

Xerostomia, or dry mouth, is a condition in which a patient’s salivary glands fail to work properly, resulting in pain, mucosal sores, dental bills, loss of taste, trouble speaking and depression. This condition affects seven million people in the US and can stem from a variety of reasons, including radiation therapy for head and neck cancer, as well as autoimmune disorders, chronic illnesses and poly-pharmaceuticals. For xerostomia sufferers, current solutions are primarily limited to salivary substitutes that require active application several times a day but do provide limited and temporary relief. At night, patients tend to wake every few hours and therefore suffer from sleep deprivation.

XeroTray is a passive device that provides relief from xerostomia by the timely release of moisture stored in a mouth guard, freeing patients from frequent application of salivary substitutes and protecting the teeth and gums.


University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2011 - $20,000

According to the EPA, as many as 5-17 million people in the US may currently be exposed to dangerously high levels of a toxic rocket fuel component, perchlorate, through public drinking water supplies. Perchlorate disturbs proper function of the thyroid and has an adverse affect on prenatal and neonatal development. On account of the risk posed to the public, in February 2011 the EPA issued a decision to regulate perchlorate in drinking water; a regulation will be in place within approximately 36 months.

Currently, however, there are no economical or efficient options for removing perchlorate from water in point-of-use (POU) treatment units such as pitcher or faucet filters. To fill the need, the Serionix team has developed a low-cost filtration medium capable of rapid and efficient POU removal of perchlorate from water. While other perchlorate-removing technologies exist, the team believes its ultra-fast uptake of the chemical will separate it from the competition.

Design Innovations for Infants and Mothers Everywhere (DIIME)

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2011 - $20,000

A major challenge to improving maternal healthcare worldwide is the lack of blood available for transfusions during open abdominal surgeries, especially in cases of ruptured ectopic pregnancy. However, 80% of patients in sub-Saharan Africa do not receive a transfusion without providing a replacement donor, generally a close family member. If the patient doesn’t have access to the necessary blood because a family member is unavailable or unwilling to donate, her prognosis may worsen, eventually leading to death.

To address this problem, physicians in resouce-limited settings have developed a procedure for salvaging the patient’s own blood lost in internal hemorrhaging. In this widely used procedure, called “soup ladle autotransfusion,” the patient’s blood is physically scooped out of the abdomen with a ladle and poured through a nurse’s hands into a bowl, where it is mixed with anticoagulant, filtered through a few layers of gauze, and transferred to a blood bag. The blood bag is then hung on an IV stand and the blood is transfused back into the patient. While the end goal of giving the patient a transfusion is achieved, the procedure is labor-intensive and there’s a high chance of complications resulting from contamination.

This team has developed a novel blood transfusion device that allows a clinician to extract blood from the woman’s abdomen, quickly filter the blood of any clots or impurities, and safely transfuse it back into the patient’s body via a standard blood bag. The device, estimated to cost approximately $300, was developed in collaboration with healthcare professionals in Ghana.

Low-cost Traditional Adult Male Circumcision Device

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2011 - $20,000

AIDS is a devastating global epidemic responsible for more than 25 million deaths since 1981. Sub-Saharan Africa continues to be the region most heavily affected by HIV, accounting for 67% of HIV cases and 72% of AIDS deaths in 2007. Among a number of interventions that have been attempted to stop the spread of AIDS in Africa, the World Health Organization has found that adult male circumcision is the only biomedical intervention proven effective—removal of the foreskin greatly reduces the number of target cells available for uptake of HIV and other STDs. It is estimated that three million lives could be saved in sub-Saharan Africa alone if safe male circumcision were to become common practice.

To make that a reality, this E-Team is developing the CircoGel, a culturally acceptable, low-cost, simple-to-use, disposable device to perform circumcisions in sub-Saharan Africa. CircoGel is comprised of two parts, a strong solid shell that provides protection against the cut and a latex sleeve that covers the shell. The device was designed based on feedback gathered from several focus groups with ethnic leaders, traditional cutters, and public health officials in Uganda.


University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2011 - $15,400

Anemia is a chronic disability caused by a reduction in healthy red blood cells and affects an estimated 1.62 billion people worldwide, or about a third of the world’s population. Current means of anemia diagnosis are not well suited to rural areas of the developing world: standard electric centrifuges are dependent on sporadic power, and, should they need to be repaired, require specialized parts and mechanical expertise. Other solutions, such as rapid diagnostic strips and blood smears, frequently come solely from donations and are single-use.

This team is looking to fill the need for long-term, sustainable anemia diagnosis with CentriCycle, a hand-powered centrifuge made out of bicycle parts. The team has developed a prototype and business plan and is currently working to complete proof-of-concept testing and on-location field testing in India, its initial target market.


University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2011 - $19,938

Electrical stimulation of the retina to treat blindness is an effective method to provide vision while parallel research progresses on providing a cure. However, this therapy is restricted since current electrode technology doesn’t conform to the back of the eye; gaps between the electrodes and the retina require greater stimulation potentials that can actually cause reduced visual acuity.

This team is developing SynapTech, a neural interface technology that will enable precise integration of the electrode with the retina, allowing minimal stimulating potentials, greater electrode density and enhanced vision. The team’s novel design consists of an array of moveable electrodes with micron-level precision.


Stanford University, 2011 - $20,000

Ascites is a condition in which fluid builds up in the abdominal cavity, most commonly from cirrhosis of the liver and cancer. Patients suffering from ascites can initially be managed with diuretics and by restricting salt in their diet, but over time they need increasing doses of medication and eventually become non-responsive to treatment. Only a few patients with end-stage liver disease receive liver transplants; the vast majority of patients have to live with a significant amount of fluid in their abdomen, requiring a trip to the hospital for drainage every 2-4 weeks which clearly affects a patient’s quality of life. This E-Team is developing a novel technology aimed at managing patients with ascites at home in order to prevent frequent hospital visits.


University of California, Davis, 2011 - $20,000

Despite the indisputable need for the development of renewable energy sources, the current options for renewable fuel (ethanol, butanol, biodiesel, methane, and hydrogen) are heavily based on food crops. One promising option is cellulosic biofuels, which have the potential to replace 30% of current demand for transportation fuels. However, the decomposition of cellulosic biomass presents a formidable challenge that requires costly, energy-intensive and environmentally detrimental pretreatment steps.

This team is researching the viability of duckweed, a tiny, stem-less monocot plant that grows on the surface of ponds, as a cellulosic biofuel. Duckweed has a 2-3 day doubling time, utilizes non-arable land, can grow all year round and does not require extensive biomass pretreatment for biofuel production.

Strong Arm

Rochester Institute of Technology, 2011 - $17,200

Lifting injuries affect hundreds of thousands of workers each year. Injuries arise partly due to lack of training and partly due to situations in which workers lift heavy loads for extended periods of time. The effects of these injuries are costly, with $50 billion per year paid out in worker’s compensation.

This team is developing the Strong Arm, a form-fitting garment that incorporates a unique system of load-bearing straps that allows workers to lift heavy objects more easily and with significantly less risk of injury. Essentially, the system shifts the forces of lifting from the injury-prone hands, arms, neck, shoulders and lower back and distributes them evenly to stronger and more stable areas of the torso.

Update: Strong Arm was one of four $100k Diamond Winners in the 2012 MassChallenge contest. Here's a video of the team from the event.

Spark: A University-Level Initiative for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Florida Atlantic University (Planning Grant)

Florida Atlantic University, 2010 - $7,500

Florida Atlantic University (FAU) recently established a university-level Innovation and Entrepreneurship Platform with the goal of integrating and enhancing entrepreneurial activity at FAU. As part of the initiative, this grant will help lay the groundwork for the development of two new programs: the Spark Incubator and a Certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Spark.

Developing a Cross-Disciplinary E-Team to Enhance Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Louisiana State University (Planning Grant)

Louisiana State University, 2010 - $7,500

This planning grant supports the development of a plan for programs to support student entrepreneurship at Louisiana State University through a new interdisciplinary course in entrepreneurship, a business plan competition, and a mentorship program. The three-pronged program is designed to stimulate the formation of LSU's first E-Teams, involving undergraduates, faculty and counselors from technical, business and humanities disciplines. The overall aim of their efforts is to prepare undergraduates to become contributors to both the local Louisiana economy and the global economy.

Entrepreneurship Initiative for Rural Southeastern North Carolina (Planning Grant)

University of North Carolina at Pembroke, 2010 - $8,000

The University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNCP) serves a diverse regional community of 38% Native Americans, 32% Caucasians, 25% African Americans, and 5% Hispanics and others. UNCP is located among the poorest counties in the nation, with unemployment between 12% and 18% and per capita income 40% below the national average. In order to help the regional economy, efforts are underway to promote entrepreneurship through the Thomas Family Center for Entrepreneurship (TFCE). The TFCE is a UNCP-affiliated organization whose goal is to promote entrepreneurship education at UNCP and provide free entrepreneurial consulting for local area residents.

This grant provides seed money to lay the groundwork for a follow-on proposal to create innovation-driven pathways for university students to lead new business development in this economically underprivileged area.

Drexel Smart House Student Seed Fund

Drexel University, 2010 - $25,000

Drexel Smart House is a student-led, research-driven organization at Drexel University working to develop a sustainable model for urban residential living. The organization engages students in multidisciplinary teams working on a number of green projects, including a lightweight green roof, residential water recovery system, urban crop cultivation, energy recovery systems and more.

This grant will create the Drexel Smart House Student Seed Fund, which will allow students to conduct early research and prototype development. Drexel Smart House has shown that access to early seed funding for preliminary research and prototypes greatly improves prospects for expanded research funding and industry collaboration.

The new eighteen-month program will fund individual, student-proposed projects ranging in cost from $100-$2,500. Student-developed short proposals will be reviewed by a faculty member and a student review board. Project proposals will be from teams working on freshman or senior engineering design projects, multidisciplinary teams, graduate student teams, and undergraduate/graduate teams.

Sustainable Medical Device Innovation for Developing Countries

Johns Hopkins University, 2010 - $41,500

This grant supports a new course, Sustainable Medical Device Innovation for Developing Countries, in Johns Hopkins’ Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design (CBID). The course, being developed as a core requirement for a new one-year MS program at CBID, will have the explicit aim of training students in the process of identification, invention and implementation of healthcare technologies that solve clinical problems in developing countries.

Students will learn through immersive clinical experience, partnering with hospitals and community health centers in South Asia and Southern Africa. Over the course of two semesters, they will work in teams to invent and prototype multiple solutions to problems they identify, develop a clinical trial plan, identify manufacturing partners, and develop an appropriate business model. Once the projects reach a certain level of maturity, teams will receive intensive mentoring on how to pursue further funding opportunities to fully implement their ideas (Gates Foundation, USAID, etc.).

Cross-disciplinary development teams to make students' ideas real

Ohio Northern University, 2010 - $19,500

This grant supports the transformation of a year-long engineering capstone course into an E-Team-generating experience that takes the best new product ideas on campus and turns them into real prototypes and potential business ventures. There will be three steps to the program: 1) in a spring “Ideas Competition,” students will pitch their ideas to a review board made up of entrepreneurs/investors; 2) E-Teams will be formed around each of the five winning ideas; 3) the following spring, the E-Teams will compete in a business plan competition, with the winning teams receiving substantial funds to continue development of their projects beyond the capstone timeframe.

The teams will be comprised of students from engineering, business and law.

Bridge Mentorship Program for Advanced Student Companies at UMass Amherst

University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2010 - $29,000

The NCIIA-funded UMass Amherst Entrepreneurship Initiative (UMassEI), a one-credit course, has greatly increased student participation in entrepreneurship on University of Massachusetts Amherst campus, having grown from five students in 2007 to over 200 from thirty majors running over 100 active student companies. While UMass faculty are currently formalizing a program that connects the most advanced of these student companies to outside mentors, increasing their chances for success, there remains a large gap between the mature teams and the teams in need of support. Many student companies lack the maturity or level of development to take advantage of the mentorship program after completing the one-credit UMassEI class.

This grant will help bridge the gap and connect more students more effectively to outside programs and mentors. Faculty will develop a “bridge program” for students, with the objective of providing early student companies with the knowledge and support they need to cross the gap between completing the introductory course and reaping maximum benefit from outside advisors. The program will consist of three elements: independent studies with faculty across campus who will mentor student innovation projects; bi-weekly seminars for all student proto-companies in the program to build peer-mentoring networks (a result of feedback from mentors who said students were not “ready” to talk with them yet), share successes, answer questions and make them accountable to the group; and weekly networking sessions with external entrepreneurs.

Creative Design for Affordability

Cornell University, 2010 - $17,226

This grant supports the enhancement and institutionalization of Creative Design for Affordability (CDfA), a new course in the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University. CDfA, established in collaboration with faculty from Cornell’s College of Human Ecology Department of Design and Environmental Analysis, is an experiential course focused on the role that design and technology development plays in private sector innovation and social entrepreneurship.

Through this grant, Cornell faculty will be able to support approximately five multidisciplinary E-Teams per year working with peers in India on the development and launch of businesses addressing global societal challenges. Specifically, funding will help to strengthen the effectiveness of the interdisciplinary content of the course by supporting the integration of business, design, and technological innovation; ensure that cross-national, US-India E-Teams collaborate in creating viable technologies addressing critical problems; and assure E-Teams gain access to mentorship resources inside and outside the classroom.

Practicing Entrepreneurship: Creating value for a technology-based invention or idea

Michigan State University, 2010 - $29,500

This grant supports a new course in entrepreneurship at Michigan State University (MSU). Currently, the College of Engineering at MSU generates a number of invention disclosures every year from student-faculty teams, but the question of whether a business opportunity exists or not isn’t typically addressed.

The new course will introduce select students and faculty working on IP-generating projects to the entrepreneurial process (opportunity identification, IP strategy, market research, operations, financial analysis, etc.); provide students with a multidisciplinary team experience by including business students on each of the projects; and provide teams with experience in developing formal product feasibility and business plans, submitting them to Michigan’s Great Lakes Entrepreneurship Quest Competition and gaining “real-world” feedback. The program is integrated with university engagement in local economic development programs and has support from those programs for mentoring and support of successful student teams.

Master's Level Education in Bioengineering Innovation

Over the last four years, the Center of Bioengineering Innovation and Design (CBID, supported by an NCIIA Course and Program grant) within the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University has planned and launched a one-year master’s program focusing on the identification, creation and implementation of novel health care technologies.

This grant will fund prototype development costs for graduate student teams developing technologies in the CBID. Feedback from VCs and others emphasized the importance of developing very strong prototypes in order to increase the chances for securing funding and support. Faculty also plan to expand the program from twelve to fifteen students, and require teams to increase the number of and improve the quality of prototypes developed over the span of the program.


Two biomedical device start-ups have spun out of the Master's Level Education in Bioengineering Innovation course:

Grant PI Bob Allen reports that so far 15 students have graduated from the program with MS degrees. JHPIEGO, JHU’s global health partner, is further developing two other projects from the grant: an electronic partogram and the antenatal screening kit (a 2010 E-Team grantee and Popular Science invention of the year).

Accelerating Student E-Team New Venture Creation through the Application of Industrial Design and Structured Seed Funding

Northeastern University, 2010 - $9,000

This grant, which builds on a previous NCIIA grant funding student technology projects in Northeastern University’s School of Technological Entrepreneurship, seeks to round out the program by adding two major components: 1) the inclusion of design students and mentors on E-Teams and funds for creating industry-grade prototypes, and 2) giving student teams access to incremental seed funding.

Northeastern will work in collaboration with the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Students from the Mass Art Product Development Lab will be integrated into Northeastern’s I-Cubator teams. Based on student team investment pitches, teams will be given the opportunity to raise funds of up to $3,000, with a strategic focus on design as a key project component. At the end of the one-year program, projects may then be commercialized, returned to the I-Cubator for a second year, or terminated.

Technology Innovation for People with Disabilities

University of Pittsburgh, 2010 - $25,950

Assistive Technologies (ATs) can be the single most important factor in determining whether people with disabilities can participate fully in society. However, the abandonment rate for new ATs is disconcertingly high, with inappropriate design for the user being one of the most common reasons for failure.

The University of Pittsburgh’s Human Engineering Research Laboratory (HERL), which marries efforts on research- and user-driven innovations with the expertise of outside business collaborators, has had success commercializing ATs in the past, with five spin-offs to its name. This proposal seeks funding to augment a current NSF-funded HERL program, called Research Experience for Undergraduates, to support projects and educational activities related specifically to AT product development done by undergraduates. NCIIA funding will be used to support multidisciplinary teams of undergraduates working on innovation-focused projects, workshops focused on design innovation and commercialization, and tours of local companies that support early-stage product design in the AT industry.

The ultimate goal of the expanded program is the development of highly promising AT products that can be launched after completion of the NCIIA-funded project, improving the quality and increasing the quantity of highly impactful ATs.

Gen2 Agro

Ohio State University, 2010 - $20,000

Agricultural fungicides, which combat a number of plant blights and diseases, are estimated to prevent the loss of up to 95% of annual crop yields worldwide. At the same time, many current fungicides are petrochemicals that come with major financial and environmental costs from toxicity and chemical buildup in the soil. Organic fungicides offer a safer solution, but are currently much less effective and more expensive than chemical fungicides.

This E-Team, calling itself Gen2 Agro, is developing a next-generation organic fungicide that is over 20% more effective than current organic options, making it comparable in efficacy to chemical alternatives. Gen2 Agro’s product is composed of naturally occurring, non-genetically modified bacteria that has been found to directly attack fungi, secreting byproducts that suppress fungal growth. The team's fungicide will work for some of the world’s most valued crops, including soybeans, wheat, and potatoes.

ABSAL Desalination Systems

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2010 - $12,200

Although the ocean contains over 97% of the total water on Earth, less than 1% of world’s drinking water comes from the ocean. Desalination (the process of removing excess salt from water) on a large scale typically uses extremely large amounts of energy and requires specialized, expensive infrastructure, making it costly compared to the use of fresh water from rivers or groundwater. While most desalination technologies try to increase freshwater output by adding heat, making it an energy-intensive process, this E-Team is developing technology to harvest drinking water from the ocean using only solar energy. This is done by mimicking the water cycle: optimizing variables such as air flow, surface area, and liquid depth to increase evaporation.

The team is targeting developing countries with this technology, estimating a sixteen-gallon daily yield and a cost of $50 per unit for a scaled-down version.

Miret Surgical

Stanford University, 2010 - $19,450

Laparoscopic surgery is a growing surgical technique in which operations in the abdomen are performed through very small incisions (0.5-1.5 cm) compared to the larger incisions needed in traditional, open surgical procedures. Patients that undergo laparoscopic surgery enjoy shorter hospital stays and reduced instances of surgery-inflicted morbidity.

This E-Team is taking laparoscopy a step further, developing a set of laparoscopic tools that enable surgery with extremely small incisions leaving no visible scars by enabling assembly of complex tools inside the patient. Existing scar-free techniques are burdened by steep learning curves and high costs, but the E-Team’s device, called ENGAGE™, requires minimal surgeon re-training and aligns with current insurance reimbursement plans.

Relay Technology Management, Inc.

Tufts University, 2010 - $18,000

This E-Team is developing software to make the technology transfer process from academia to industry in the bio and pharma space more efficient. Calling themselves Relay Technology Management, the team is developing software that provides industry in-licensing and corporate strategy groups with competitive intelligence on specific research happening inside universities, and also enables university technology transfer offices to manage their IP portfolios and market the right technologies to the right industry partners.

Specifically, the software will: 1) enable faculty members to enter invention disclosures in a secure, online system; 2) generate an actionable report to the technology transfer office; and 3) market the opportunity to the right industry partner based on licensing needs and sponsored research initiatives.

The business model will be based on a subscription fee to industry partners. The product will be marketed to companies in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, diagnostic, medical device, chemical, physical and clean technology industries. Large players in this space have already confirmed a need for such a service, and have begun pre-ordering subscriptions.


Relay Technology Management launched Business Development Live, a unified, real‐time data visualization, comparative asset analysis and tracking platform for the life sciences industry (May 2012).


Rice University, 2010 - $18,000

Approximately two million babies die each year from acute respiratory infections (ARI), almost all in developing countries. Many neonatal ARI patients in the developing world do not receive proper treatment because hospitals can’t afford ventilators, which cost $6,000 on average.

To combat the problem, this E-Team, calling itself infantAIR, is developing BabyBubbles, a low cost ventilation system for use in developing countries. The device uses a continuous positive airway pressure system, which works by maintaining positive airway pressure during spontaneous breathing, increasing lung volume at the end of exhalation, preventing the collapse of the airway structure, and improving oxygenation. The device helps to keep a baby’s lungs fully inflated so he or she can breathe naturally.

The team is aiming to implement the device in Rwandan hospitals first, followed by worldwide dissemination.

Update: In the summer of 2012, the infantAir team won $2m in funding through the Gates Foundation.

Mobile Information Aggregator (MIA)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2010 - $16,500

While the world’s small-scale rural farmers have traditionally been overlooked in global markets, they’re gaining increased access to essential services including financial tools (banking, loans) and IT resources (mobile, internet). At the same time, there has been a global spike in demand for organic, fair-trade products, and small-scale farmers are well positioned to take advantage of the opportunity while at the same time generating employment and income. The challenge for most small-scale farmers is getting their goods to market.

This E-Team is developing the Mobile Information Aggregator (MIA), a mobile application/tool that farmers can use to gain access to global markets. Though a text message on a simple cell phone, the MIA tracks the frequency, quantity of production, and prices that farmers sell via a text message, which then links into a central database system.   The MIA provides historical and real-time data to farming cooperatives so that they can make better business decisions, and will help this E-team to understand what cooperatives are producing and help farmers aggregate demand, connect with markets and increase their income.

Update (2010) 

The team has launched a company, Supply Change, a fair trade, organic fruit company which uses fruit that would otherwise be wasted, processing it into high-value, high-quality products to provide income for farmers and nutritious food for consumers. Individual farmers send their harvest information to their cooperative on a weekly basis via a simple text message. This harvest information is then fed into a central database, producing real-time data that cooperative managers access to make better business decisions to maximize farmers current production, matching supply and market demand. All of this before the food rots and is wasted.



University of Virginia, 2010 - $9,732

The laparoscopic cholecystectomy, a minimally invasive surgical procedure to remove the gallbladder, is one of the most frequent surgeries performed in the United States, with an estimated 922,000 performed annually. Although laparoscopic removal significantly decreases surgical risk and recovery time, difficulties can arise when removing a gallstone-ridden gallbladder through a twelve-millimeter port. An important step in the surgery occurs when the physician puts the gallbladder into a laparoscopic retrieval bag (endobag); gallstones bulge at the bottom of the bag and can become wedged in the removal site.

To solve the problem, this E-Team is designing an endobag that employs cross-linked synthetic fibers nestled between pieces of polyurethane to create a structure similar to a novelty finger trap. When the surgeon pulls up, the contents inside the endobag lineate (form lines) due to the resulting radial force, preventing bulging of the gallbladder during extraction. The device integrates with the current procedure and tools; no new techniques or equipment are necessary.

Leveraged Freedom Chair Indian Trial and Dissemination

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2010 - $16,500

This E-Team is developing the Leveraged Freedom Chair (LFC), a lever-propelled wheelchair designed specifically to meet the mobility needs of people with disabilities in developing countries. Any wheelchair designed for developing countries needs to be both maneuverable in the home and able to travel long distances on rough roads; the LFC meets the requirements with a lever drive train that allows the rider to use mechanical advantage to efficiently traverse virtually any terrain.

The LFC looks like a normal wheelchair, but with tall levers pointing up from the wheels and a bike-like third wheel attached the to axle. Placing your hands high on the levers and pumping them back and forth generates high torque and an effective low gear; placing your hands low on the levers creates high angular velocity in the drivetrain and an effective high gear.

The E-Team will design and test the LFC in partnership with the largest disability organization in the world, the Indian organization Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti (BMVSS), Jaipur, also known as Jaipur Foot.


  • CNN features the Freedom Chair (April 2011)
  • The team will produce 200 chairs in June 2012 and have capacity to make 500/month. In a small test of ten users in India, four individuals with LFCs gained employment as a result of their newfound mobility.
  • The team is a finalist for MassChallenge and recently released a new 2-minute video (October 2012)
  • GRIT was one of four $100k Diamond Winners at MassChallenge. Congrats! (October 2012)

Aqua Port Water Transporter

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2010 - $17,517

Over one billion people worldwide lack access to clean water, the most basic need for human survival. Within that number, many spend up to eight hours per day walking to the nearest water source, collecting water in heavy buckets, and making the long journey home. According to the UN Millennium Goal Report, forty billion work hours are lost in Africa each year due to time spent transporting water.

This E-Team is developing the Aqua Port, a water transporter that consists of several large plastic cylinders with wheels. The units are threaded onto a horizontal axle and rolled from the water source to the user’s home.

The team is relying heavily on research, testimonials and data from NGO workers, professors, and consumers throughout Africa in designing the device. It fulfills the three major needs they’ve identified for a water transporter: easy to transport, lift, fill, and pour; affordable for people living on less than two dollars per day; and able to transport large amounts of water.


University of California, Berkeley, 2010 - $18,400

Middle-income families in emerging markets around the world would like to have the same hot shower their counterparts in wealthier countries experience every morning. Demand for comfort technologies like water heaters is growing quickly in these markets, but the current options for water heating are either very expensive (tank heaters) or low quality (biomass burning), and all emit significant amounts of carbon. Both the upfront and ongoing energy costs of water heating technologies in, for example, Mexico, make hot water a well-guarded comfort.

The CalSolAgua (CSA) team has developed a low cost solar water heating system capable of reducing energy costs for households in developing countries while also reducing carbon dioxide emissions. CSA’s solar water heater can retail for about $100—one-fourth of the price of competing water tank heaters.

IntelliWheels: The Continuously Variable Transmission for Manually-propelled Wheelchairs

University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign, 2010 - $20,000

This E-Team is developing IntelliWheels, an after-market addition to off-the-shelf wheelchairs that significantly decreases the effort it takes to propel manual wheelchairs. IntelliWheels uses a gear shifting system to make pushing a wheelchair easier: the user moves forward, backward, and turns by pushing on the hand rims on either side like normal, but two automatic transmissions continuously change gears to keep the user operating in the most efficient way possible. This happens automatically, without the user thinking about it or needing to do anything.

The team built one prototype already, but it did not perform well. The team is now looking to build on what was learned from the first prototype and continue the development of IntelliWheels into a viable product and business focused on the US market.




Stanford University, 2010 - $20,000

Cardiac pacemakers save lives by restoring and maintaining a normal, safe heart rate for patients with heart rhythm disorders such as bradycardia (a pathologically slow heart rate). But despite their effectiveness, most patients with bradycardia do not need a permanent implanted device because their problem is temporary and reversible: the heart rhythm disruption stems from a procedure or as a side effect of medication. The options for short-term, temporary pacing to overcome bradycardia are, however, flawed: intravenous medications work only for a subset of patients and have limiting side effects; external pacing pads placed on the chest are ineffective and prohibitively painful to the patient. The placement of a temporary pacing electrode through a large vein directly into the heart is the most effective method, but, unfortunately, it is also known to cause potentially fatal complications, including perforation of the heart wall (1-2%) and dislodgement (10-30%).

To meet the need for a safer method of temporarily supporting patients who have or are at risk for bradycardia, this E-Team is developing a temporary pacing system that eliminates the majority of adverse events due either to perforation or dislodgement.


Stanford University, 2010 - $20,000

Over three million US children per year are put under sedation in dental offices. While sedation keeps children calm and still during procedures ranging from cleanings to tooth extractions, it also has potentially fatal consequences. Thirty-three percent of adverse events related to pediatric sedation occur in the dental setting, with 91% of the adverse events resulting in death or permanent neurological injury. Further, 80% of the adverse events involved respiratory problems, since sedatives blunt respiratory drive and relax the upper airway musculature.

This E-Team is developing a device that monitors a child’s breathing while he or she is under the influence of sedatives. The small, wearable, disposable device, called PhonoSafe, alerts the dentist of sub-optimal breathing that lasts longer than fifteen seconds. It consists of a microphone placed on the throat at the level of the trachea to detect breathing sounds, hardware for signal processing to isolate the sounds from ambient noise, and software to analyze the respiratory rate and detect apnea (lack of breathing).

GlobalResolve: Development of the Twig Light

Arizona State University, 2009 - $16,000

GlobalResolve (GR) is a program at Arizona State that starts village-based ventures in developing countries by introducing sustainable technologies that address economic and health issues. One of those technologies is the Twig Light, a low-cost, sustainable light source. It consists of a wafer-type thermoelectric generator sandwiched between the upper and lower portions of a small box. The upper section is a small combustion chamber in which the user puts small pieces of wood (twigs) to be burned. The lower section sits on the ground or in a few centimeters of water. When the burning wood heats the upper chamber, the temperature difference between the two sections powers the thermoelectric generator, which powers the lights.

An alpha prototype has been developed and tested. With NCIIA funding the team will refine the Twig Light design, test it again, and distribute twenty prototypes to villages in Malawi and Ghana where they’ve worked previously. After a year of field testing they’ll interview villagers about the light, develop a final design, and establish manufacturing capability and supply chains in Malawi and Ghana.


In 2010, the Twig Light team established a company, Daylight Solutions, LLC.   Ghanaian partners include one company (Amstar Inc.), an NGO (The Center for Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development, CEESD) and Nana Afaokwa, the paramount chief of the Domeabra region in Ghana.

The students in Ghana have formed an NGO (The Center for Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development, CEESD)

The project is moving from the research phase into a venture with the Ghanaian partners. The first 100 commercial prototypes will be manufactured in the US to perfect the process, possibly this year, in a manufacturing cell consisting of micro-CNC equipment. This cell will either be shipped to Ghana or replicated in that country. The initial manufacturing location will be in Domeabra, a village near Kumasi. Plans are to expand to Cameroon and Kenya in a year.

Story about Twiglight

Engineering for Change (Nov 2010)




Development of a Dynamic EUS Needle: Improving the efficacy of endoscopic needle and noninvasive surgical procedures

University of Virginia, 2009 - $19,900

Advancements in endoscopic technology have significantly widened the scope of possible procedures, going from being able to just look inside the body to being able stage cancer, drain pseudocysts and more. But, despite the success of endoscopic technology, doctors often have to remove one device and insert another one each time a new function is needed, whether it be electrocautery, stent deployment or fine needle aspiration. This E-Team is developing a new multifunctional endoscopic needle that will consolidate devices, ultimately reducing waste and procedure time. The team’s needle would be dynamic, allowing the physician to begin a procedure with a small diameter needle to locate and reach a lesion, then further explore or alleviate the lesion by increasing the needle diameter during the procedure. The internal diameter of the needle device would remain large enough to allow simultaneous use of other devices, such as a stent or cautery device, increasing the doctor’s procedural capacity without requiring the removal of the initial device.

Dairy Pasteurization for Rural Peru

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2009 - $16,000

Many families in rural Peru make yogurt and cheeses, but, due to a lack of pasteurization equipment and sanitation controls, they can’t legally sell their products in a larger market. Instead, they eat the food themselves or trade with neighbors. Building on prior work in the region and working closely with students from the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Peru (PUCP), this E-Team is developing affordable and easy-to-use pasteurization equipment for rural families in Peru. The need for this project comes directly from the villagers themselves, having spoken with team members while implementing a Sustainable Vision-funded project to install green homes in rural Peru. The region of Cusco is the top tourist site in the country, but the villagers have no way of getting their products certified so they can be sold to tourists. The team’s gravity-fed pasteurizer will work by causing milk to flow from an upper pan through tubing submerged in a boiling water bath. The milk flowing through the tubing should reach the appropriate temperature to kill a sufficient number of bacteria. The team, consisting of students from RPI and PUCP, has been investigating the local market. With NCIIA funding they will develop and test a pasteurizer, make sure that dairy products made using the device can achieve certification, and work with microfinance organizations to make the device available for purchase.


Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2009 - $10,500

This E-Team is developing OsmoPure, a low-cost water purification device for developing countries based on simple membrane filtration technology. While there are a number of water filtration devices being marketed to the poor, many of them don’t work in murky water (they get easily clogged), often require a large energy input in order to work (e.g., hand pumping), and fail to remove all contaminants. OsmoPure is a compact, cartridge-based, multi-stage water purification system. To produce potable water, the user fills a plastic bottle with dirty water, screws on the purifier like you would screw on a cap and squeezes the bottle to dispense clean water. When the filter looks dirty, the user simply shakes the fluid inside to remove debris. The purifiers are meant for plastic bottles that exist currently as rubbish in the target areas, cutting production and distribution costs and creating an environmentally friendly solution to the global water crisis.


OsmoPure wins $100,000 at MassChallenge (Nov. 2010)

Fast Company story (Dec. 2010)

Optimization of a Novel Device to Measure the Intrinsic Muscles of the Hand

Rice University, 2009 - $13,200

Testing a person’s intrinsic hand muscle strength (IMHS) is helpful in diagnosing a number of health problems, from arthritis to diabetes to nerve injuries. The manual muscle test (MMT) is the most common clinical test to assess IMHS, but tends toward low validity, poor reliability and inherent subjectivity. There are a few other devices on the market, but all demand extensive clinician involvement and/or fail to isolate the intrinsic muscles, leading to errors. This E-Team is developing the Peg Restrained Intrinsic Muscle Evaluator (PRIME), a device that can comfortably and accurately measure IMHS for a wide range of hand types and sizes. It consists of a pegboard base, a force transducer enclosure and a display unit.

Magnetic Ventures

University of Michigan, 2009 - $16,700

Artificial knee and hip replacement surgeries are common today, with the majority of the implants using a plastic-on-metal joint interface. Unfortunately, plastic-on-metal joints are only temporary solutions, as most implants last 10-15 years before needing a second surgery to replace the worn device. This E-Team, incorporated as Magnetic Ventures, is looking to help joint replacements last longer with the Magnetically Assisted Artificial Joint, a patent-pending technology that lowers the contact stress at the joint interface through the use of magnets. The technology operates on a similar conceptual basis as MagLev trains, which utilize electromagnetic forces to lower friction between the train and track; as a MagLev track experiences a constant load from the train, the magnetic field needed to lift the train is constant. The team’s device uses an elastic material to control the distance between magnets in the joints and adjust the magnetic force; as the force in the joint increases, the magnets are pushed closer together, lowering the interface force and decreasing friction in the joint. The team has written a business plan, won several local business plan competitions, and developed and patented a prototype. With NCIIA funding they will test biocompatible elastic materials that would be used in their device, analyze various arrangements of magnets, and develop their network.

A Medical Device to Treat Gallstone Disease

Stanford University, 2009 - $18,968

Biliary colic is a condition in which a gallstone becomes lodged at the gallbladder outlet, and, if left untreated, can cause severe and life-threatening infections. The most common treatment for this disease is surgical removal of the gallbladder, but due to a high risk of complications in the elderly and critically ill, surgery is not a viable option for over 200,000 patients per year. Instead, they're treated with conservative management, which is often unsuccessful. This E-Team is looking to develop a safe and effective alternative for these patients, as well as the large numbers of patients in developing countries where surgery isn’t an option. Since the gallbladder in patients with stones is actually normal and the stones are harmless provided they are kept away from the outlet, the team has developed a novel stainless steel filter device to prevent stones from reaching the outlet. The filter is delivered through a catheter and expands after deployment. Radial force holds the filter in place. The geometry of the filter prevents stones larger than two millimeters from passing.

Automating Long-Range Vibrometry Through Vision and Web Technologies

City College of New York, 2009 - $18,144

Laser Doppler Vibrometers (LDVs) are sensors capable of detecting very small amounts of vibration from far away (100 meters or more). LDVs are used in bridge and building safety inspections, since structural defects give out small vibration signals, as well as in the automotive, aerospace, medical and industrial testing industries. The problem is that all current LDVs are manually operated, and it can take some time to find an appropriate reflective surface, focus the laser beam and get a vibration signal. This E-Team is developing a method to automate LDVs. The team's system, which involves hardware, software, and a web component, automatically selects a surface, tracks and focuses. The web component allows users to control the system remotely.

The team has filed a provisional patent and partnered with Polytec, an LDV company. With NCIIA funding they will build and test a working prototype, file for more patent protection, and look to pursue licensing with Polytec or other LDV manufacturers.

AYZH: Sheba Water Filter

Colorado State University, 2009 - $16,700

AYZH offers two products for resale by women entrepreneurs in developing markets:

  • Sheba Water Filter, a household water filter to provide high quality drinking water at a low cost
  • Clean Delivery Birth Kit: A hygiene kit for rural midwives to deliver babies for post natal health


Sheba is an innovative, low cost household water filter targeted specifically at women in rural Indian communities. It consists of a stacking system in which cloth bags filled with filter media (sand, gravel, ceramic, etc.) can be added and removed according to need. This design overcomes three problems with current water filters: slow rate of filtration, difficulty in cleaning filters, and difficulty in adapting filters to regional and seasonal variations in water.

Sheba was created in the International Developing Design Summit at MIT in 2007. Since then, the team has worked on prototyping the device. With NCIIA funding the team will further refine the design, test it in India, perform market research, re-design, and launch.


Now a non-profit called AYZH. Won a World Healthcare Congress award in 2011.

DayOne Response: Polytech Waterbag, Water Treatment for Disaster Relief

California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo, 2009 - $20,000

The Polytech Waterbag is a water filtration bag with disinfectant to be used in disaster relief situations. Developed and marketed by DayOne Response, the Waterbag will be sold to relief organizations and governments.

Providing people with clean drinking water is the one of the biggest challenges following a natural disaster. The most common solution is having aid agencies and governments deliver large five-gallon jugs of water, which is a costly and slow undertaking. Other solutions (hand-pumped filters, chlorine tablets) are either too expensive or only partially effective at treating contaminated water. This E-Team is developing a new way to ensure people have access to safe drinking water after a disaster: the Polytech Waterbag (PW). The PW is a ten-liter plastic bladder equipped with carrying straps and an integrated filter with a dispensing port. It’s designed to be used with Procter & Gamble’s PUR® chemical treatment packets; by using the packet along with the filter, complete water purification can be achieved. The PW comes with other features as well: a wide mouth for easy filling in shallow streams, a sediment trap to prevent recontamination, and more. The bags are 20x more compact than five-gallon water jugs to ship, and can treat enough water to supply a family of four for 5-10 days. The team has developed and patented a prototype, participated in and won several business plan competitions, and worked with Clinton Global Initiative project.

In 18 short months, NCIIA E-Team DayOne Response has moved from a student team with a cool idea to a company with a disaster-relief product being field tested by the US and Thai Marine Corps. Here's the story in pictures:

Quick facts:

May 2009: awarded a $20K E-Team grant.

Nov. 2009: attended Advanced I2V workshop to develop business strategy.

March 2010: showcased the waterbag at Open Minds.

April 2010: incorporated as DayOne Response, and wins a contract with the US Navy to continue R&D on the waterbag via a joint technology exercise between the US and Thai Marines. The waterbag was one of the few technologies in that exercise to meet US military objectives for Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief missions.


From Cal Poly Engineering News: Alum makes her project her career




Solar Ease

University of Pittsburgh, 2009 - $20,000

While solar energy is an attractive option to provide the green energy of the future, it remains burdened by high installation costs and hasn’t been as widely adopted as it should be. Part of the problem is the physical process of installation: solar panels require mounting brackets, outside breakers and ground connections, and holes through walls for the wires. This E-Team is looking to reduce the cost of installing solar panels by developing a method to transmit solar energy wirelessly from outdoor solar panels to an indoor storage unit. The team is building on a novel wireless technology called WiTricity, which is capable of transmitting energy through walls without direct cable connections. With NCIIA funding the team will create a proof-of-concept prototype, research target markets and applications for the technology, and move toward commercialization by writing a business plan and securing IP.


Stanford University, 1998 - $8,100

Recipient of two NCIIA grants, the Xtracycle E-Team developed a cargo bicycle conversion kit that transforms a standard bike into a "sport utility bicycle," or SUB. The kit stretches out the rear wheel behind the seat, creates a big, stable platform on top of the rear wheel for a load or a passenger, and places expandable saddlebags on either side. The bike is still lightweight and fast because the load is centered between the wheels, helping fill the void between large, cumbersome utility tricycles and small, ineffective racks and bags. Its versatility and performance make it ideal for hauling loads that were previously considered too long, too heavy, or too fragile to be transported by bicycle, from surfboards to passengers to groceries.

The team evolved from a group of students at Stanford into Xtracycle LLC (, a manufacturer, educator, and vehicle for social change. The company promotes their proprietary designs as boundary-pushing bicycles and soul-satisfying alternatives to automobile dependence. Profits from Xtracycle support Worldbike (, a non-profit organization that seeks to make their technology available to people in developing countries.

Both companies are targeting sustainable transportation as their ultimate goal.


Xtracycle is going strong! Employing eight people and with sales over $1million/year.

Ski Lift Footrest - SnoRhino

Rowan University, 2002 - $8,375

In the increasingly popular sport of snowboarding, innovations in board and accessory design are constantly appearing on the market. Designs in chair lifts, however, have not mirrored this trend. As a result, current chair lifts cater mostly to skiers, making them very difficult and unsafe for a snowboarder to use. In response to this, the SnoRhino E-Team has developed a new chair lift footrest, called the SnoRhino, that makes the chair ride comfortable for both skiers and snowboarders while solving the problems of safety and comfort for the boarders. After forming a company called Uphill Enterprises, Inc., the E-Team recently tested their first designs at the Montage Ski Resort, where the product met with excellent feedback from snowboarders.

Solar Turbine Group

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2007 - $20,000

This E-Team is developing an inexpensive solar generator for powering off-grid communities in the developing world. Unlike standard photovoltaic panels, which only produce electricity, the team's device meets the entire range of commercial and residential energy needs: heating, cooling, and electricity. Using common, inexpensive auto parts and plumbing supplies, the generator works by using sun-tracking parabolic mirrors to focus the sun's rays on a pipe containing liquid anti-freeze. The refrigerant is heated and vaporized through a heat exchanger, driving a turbine-alternator assembly to generate electricity. Wasted heat is captured by a condenser and used to heat water. Altogether, the system costs about $3,000 and produces enough energy to power an off-grid school, health clinic or community center in the developing world.


The team is continuing to pursue the scaling and commercialization of this technology. There are two seprate ongoing efforts: a for-profit venture named Promethean Power (focus in India), and a non-profit named STG International (focus in Southern Africa).



A Device with Remote Activation and Remote Power

University of Pittsburgh, 1998 - $10,800

This E-Team developed Powercast, technology that powers small electronic devices by electricity broadcast through the air. A transmitter plugs into the wall, and a dime-size receiver can be embedded into any low-voltage device. The receiver turns radio waves into DC electricity, recharging the device's battery at a distance of up to three feet.

Markets abound for Powercast, ranging from cell phones to lighting to pacemakers and defibrillators. The team has partnered with electronics giant Philips, and recently won Best of Show at the 2007 Consumer Electronics Exposition in Las Vegas.

Keen Mobility

University of Portland, 2002 - $12,500

Anyone that has had an injury requiring crutches knows they are uncomfortable to use over a long period of time. Extended pressure to the upper extremities can cause chronic shoulder pain, arthritic conditions, discomfort, muscle weakness and fatigue, as well as injuries to underarm arteries. For some, these health problems become so severe that they must use a wheelchair.

This E-Team developed the Keen Krutch, a more comfortable, more versatile crutch that alleviates the problems associated with traditional crutches and provides 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 has 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. Today the company is thriving and growing rapidly, having reached over $2 million in cumulative sales with $1.2 million in 2005. In addition to the Keen Krutch, the company manufactures an array of technologically advanced, safe ambulatory aids and other progressive products that allow people with disabilities greater mobility, safety, and independence.

EpiCard (Intelliject)

University of Virginia, 2000 - $13,769

Millions of people are diagnosed with life-threatening allergies each year, and in extreme cases these allergies can cause a deadly anaphylactic response. To combat anaphylaxis in an emergency situation, allergic individuals carry a life-saving injectable dose of epinephrine; however, epinephrine injectors currently on the market are too bulky and a hassle to carry, and as a result less than half the people who should carry an injector on them at all times actually do so. To answer this problem, the EpiCard E-Team, now formally incorporated as Intelliject, Inc., has 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 Virginia-based company has now received nearly $13 million in funding from various sources. Visit for more information. 


  • In 2009, Intelliject announced an exclusive license worth $230 million with Sanofi-aventis U.S. for a novel epinephrine auto-injector, in the U.S. and Canada territory. Under the license, Sanofi-aventis U.S. shall be responsible for manufacturing and commercialization. Intelliject will be responsible for the on-going development and for obtaining U.S. regulatory approval and has retained certain co-promotion rights in the territory.
  • February 2012: Evan and Eric Edwards and their product, now called Auvi-Q, were featured in the NY Times.

Griffin Analytical Technologies (GAT) MMS

Purdue University, 2001 - $15,500

Mass spectrometers are high-tech devices used to separate and analyze chemical substances at the molecular level, useful for a number of industries but especially defense and homeland security. The Griffin E-Team from Purdue developed an improved mass spectrometer that is smaller, cheaper, and better than older systems. By using cylinders as the chemical analyzer, the device was made easy to miniaturize, thereby taking up less lab space, costing less, and making the device more sensitive and more accurate.

The team has gone on to successfully commercialize the technology, founding Griffin Analytical, Inc. and winning a number of grants and awards. The company has forty-five employees and is growing rapidly.

Innovative Probe Design for Adaptive Metrology in Manufacturing Environments (InsituTec)

University of North Carolina, 2002 - $17,500

Quality control is a key element in the industrial production process. Historically, methods to inspect the geometry of manufactured parts have consisted of either single parameter probes or Coordinate Measuring Machines (CMMs), which require parts to be removed from manufacturing process. The InsituTec E-Team developed a state of the art precision instrument that is ten times faster than traditional methods, yet comes with comparable accuracy, lower cost, and the added advantage of implementation within the manufacturing process. The probing system rapidly measures 0.125" to 1.0" diameter holes, including outer and inner diameter holes. The system's design scales to encompass small and large circular features and is capable of measuring cylindricity, surface finish, and form error in real time.

The team completed its first phase of product development with support from a December 2001 Advanced E-Team grant. With the initial grant, the team furthered product development, established InsituTec Inc. and filed for intellectual property rights. A mix of sales and research grants totaling $560k has made the young company profitable, and they anticipate an 80% to 100% increase in revenue in 2007.


Rowan University, 2002 - $14,750

An adverse effect of chemotherapy is that it lowers patients' white and red blood cell production as it attacks their rapidly dividing cancer cells. Progressive reduction in red blood cell counts leads to anemia, while reduction in white blood cells leaves them susceptible to infection. In the event of infection, mortality rates for chemotherapy patients can reach as high as 70% if not promptly treated with antibiotics. Thus, quick detection of infection is critical to maintaining chemotherapy patients' health. Because fever is an indicator of infection, chemotherapy patients and their caretakers must monitor patients' temperatures to ensure patient health. When fever is detected, patients require prompt medical attention.

The ChemoTemp E-Team developed a fever monitoring and reporting device for chemotherapy patients. The device accurately measures patient temperature, identifies fever and risk of fever, and reports fever conditions to the patient and/or caregiver. Patients can wear ChemoTemp comfortably for long periods of time.

The team consisted of twenty-three undergraduate students from the Junior/Senior Engineering Clinic course, including students from electrical and computer engineering, mechanical engineering, and life sciences students. These students worked with a team of twelve graduate students and the clinic course professor.

A Microfabricated Compound Eye for Intravascular Optical Detection

Stony Brook University, 2002 - $17,100

The novel compound eye device was designed for the detection of incident radiant energy. Modeled after the compound eye found in insects, this biomimetic system has the capability of generating a high-resolution mosaic from the simultaneous detection of light from many sources. The particular application presented here is for the improvement of angioscopy, the imaging of blood vessel walls by use of a fiber optic scope. Angioscopy has enabled physicians to better understand the pathological mechanisms of atherosclerotic disease, to evaluate failing vein bypass grafts, and to assess angioplasty effectiveness. Each year, 1.5 million intravascular procedures are performed, and endoscopic purchases total $650 million with an annual growth rate of 6-7%. However, available angioscopy catheters are unable to provide quantitative details, often making their use secondary to angiography, a simpler technique. By projecting images from several polymer waveguides onto a photodiode array, the compound eye device calculates distance and measurements from multiple perspectives. This improvement makes angioscopy a viable alternative to existing technologies. The innovative features are the small size, fabrication method, ability to provide quantitative dimensions, and application to intravascular imaging.

Bringing Unique Nanosatellite Solutions Down To Earth

Case Western Reserve University, 2002 - $20,000

Nanostar Technologies is a startup company with a unique nanosatellite-based technology developed at Taylor University in Upland, IN. This grant focused on developing a prototype that can transfer small amounts of data from remote locations on a non-time critical basis. The team's unit was equipped to sense the tank level of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and report the information to an LPG distributor. This enabled distributors to optimize their operations efficiently and save money on their primary costs of doing business (gasoline, labor and truck maintenance) by cutting down on the number of deliveries made each year.

New Design Painting

Lehigh University, 2002 - $13,600

A favorite art activity for many children is painting with tempera paints and brushes. Although kids enjoy the creative and fun exercise, they often make a mess when painting. To address this problem, the New Design Painting E-Team analyzed existing paintbrushes. From their research, they created the No-Dip-Paintstick. The No-Dip-Paintstick is a revolutionary, self-contained art utensil that eliminates the need for separate pots of paint, water for rinsing, and multiple brushes. The transparent handle of the brush contains a soft cartridge of non-toxic, washable paint. The handle's transparency allows the user to see the color of paint held within. To release the paint, the user squeezes the brush and activates the cartridge. Paint flows from the cartridge and into a funnel which controls the paint flow onto the brush bristles. The eight brushes in the No-Dip-Paintstick set have synthetic, straight nylon bristles.

Alertus Technologies

University of Maryland, 2002 - $17,300

In the post 9/11 environment, there is a growing public demand for emergency alert systems that warn against terrorism, natural, and human-generated disasters. Warning systems currently on the market contain centrally located sirens, which do not cover the full area of many closed communities. Moreover, existing systems lack the capability to efficiently provide pertinent emergency information to response crews. In response to the need for technologically advanced, safe and user-friendly alarm systems, the Alertus Technologies E-Team is developing a proprietary wireless communications solution for the dissemination of emergency warning information to concentrated populations with dedicated information providers. The product revolutionizes the warning systems industry by its reliability, all-hazards capability, active functioning, advanced localization, and embedded security. The system will be marketed to closed communities as a high-tech solution and low-cost service. The Alertus solution encompasses two proprietary software products, an innovative security protocol, and proprietary hardware receivers.

Update: After winning several other grants and business plan competitions, Alertus is on its feet and selling product. Visit the company's website here.

Halfpipe Helper

University of Colorado at Boulder, 2002 - $11,000

This E-Team developed the Halfpipe Helper, an innovative tool for halfpipe maintenance. The Halfpipe Helper is a specialized tool to shape and maintain snow sport terrains, like snowboard parks. Weighing only four and a half pounds, the tool can cut, shave, rake, shovel, evenly distribute and smooth all snow surfaces. The tool effectively combines the function of a shovel and an asphalt rake. It has an adjustable, locking head that pivots through a wide range of motion, and is moved into place with a sliding collar mechanism, similar to a self-wringing mop.

Tasque E-Team

University of Maryland, 2002 - $9,000

Internet and email technology have led to an increase in teamwork among people in remote locations. Separated by geography, these "distributed teams" cannot rely on impromptu in-person meetings; instead, group distance requires efficient and effective online member communication to complete project work. Miscommunication can lead to missed deadlines, member conflict, and lost opportunities. A strong leader can help coordinate communication efforts; however it's difficult for one person to ensure the communication of an entire team.

In response to the need for effective distributed team communication, this E-Team developed Tasque, a web-based service that facilitates team collaboration through three complementary technologies:

  • Interactive email that enables team members to provide input on assignments, share ideas and submit updates
  • Step-by-Step Wizards to facilitate team building, project development, and progress report creation
  • "Personal Dashboards," which provide team members with an inclusive list of pending responsibilities, including invitations, tasks, open votes, status reports, and Gantt charts.
The Tasque E-Team consisted of two MBA students, an undergraduate in computer science and mathematics, and a PhD candidate in computer science. They worked with a software entrepreneur, the founder of two non-profit companies, and the Manager of New Venture Creation at the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship.

Updateable Message Personal CD Player - Gen 4

Northwestern University, 2002 - $11,500

This E-Team received an E-Team grant ti develop the X-CD, a system that integrates wirelessly updated messages with recorded music. The X-CD is a portable CD player that receives messages broadcast over FM sub-carrier, stores them in memory, and plays them back before, during, or after any CD played, as appropriate. Listeners receive the X-CD broadcasts, consisting of story capsules, interviews, reviews, and advertisements automatically when they use a properly equipped personal music player. Magazines, television shows and others who advertise to young adult audiences buy air time from X-CD and provide the broadcasts. X-CD players, branded by these sponsors, are offered to magazine subscribers or prospective subscribers. The sponsors, magazines like Rolling Stone or Teen People, or TV shows like MTV, gain access to the young adult market.

The X-CD E-Team created three successful prototypes and used this grant to develop a fourth generation prototype. While the first three prototypes were PC-based, the fourth was built around an embedded microcontroller.

The X-CD E-Team consisted of three computer science undergraduates. They worked with an electrical engineering faculty member and the founder and president of SixtySeven Kilohertz, Inc.

Development of an Eddy Current Door Closer

North Carolina State University, 2003 - $15,000

Conventional door closing devices use springs and hydraulic dampeners to create restoring and damping forces that maintain the desired closed-door profile. But these devices have several problems: potential hydraulic fluid leakage, reduced performance due to dust and temperature, and limited life cycles due to friction between the piston and frame case. To solve these problems, this E-Team developed an eddy current door closer to replace conventional hydraulic door closers.

The eddy current door closer is constructed from passive electromechanical components and uses permanent magnets in conjunction with a rotating copper disk to generate braking torques similar to standard door closing devices. This results in decreased maintenance requirements and environmental concerns due to absence of hydraulic fluid, low cost , and easily adjustable damping force.

The E-Team included two PhD students with backgrounds in mechatronics, electromechanical systems, robust control, and structural vibrations. A faculty advisor with expertise in mechanical engineering supported the students, along with an industry expert.

A Unique Non-invasive Laplacia Electrocardiogram

Louisiana Tech University, 2003 - $15,500

Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States. Conventional non-invasive cardiac diagnostic instruments fail to produce reliable information about atrial activation patterns critical in the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease. This E-Team developed a Laplacian Electrocardiogram (ECG) mapping system that acts as a quick, cost-effective and non-invasive medical diagnostic tool that helps cardiologists diagnose heart disease by detecting atrial activation patterns.

The multidisciplinary team consisted of two graduate students (one computer science major and one electrical engineering major), one technical advisor, one clinical advisor, one industry expert, and one business advisor.

Torex Application Development

University of Michigan, 2003 - $7,750

In the US, nearly fifty-seven million tons of traditional steel reinforcement bar (rebar) are used every year in the manufacturing of concrete. Torex International (now Polytorx LLC) developed a new steel fiber additive for concrete reinforcement, dubbed Helix. Originally designed for blast and earthquake resistant structures, Helix is toothpick sized, coated metallic wire that has been twisted into a helix shape. When millions of the small wires are dispersed into concrete, they lock into place, forming a strong matrix that increases the concrete's blast and impact resistance up to five times over traditional concrete.

As of 2007, Polytorx is growing rapidly, having exceeded $2 million in sales. In the process, the company has garnered major entrepreneurial awards, including the Michigan Technology Tricorridor Award, a National Science Foundation Small Business Innovation Grant, and the prestigious Carrot Capital Business Plan Competition. Visit the company's website at

Fire Extinguisher Training System (Bullex)

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2003 - $15,080

Bullex, launched at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, received Advanced E-Team grants in 2003, 2004 and 2005 to develop the Intelligent Training System (ITS), an innovative fire extinguisher training device. The majority of today's live-fire extinguisher training is done by taking a bucket and filling it with kerosene or diesel, and water. After an instructor lights the fire, a trainee is given an extinguisher and told to put it out. This method is expensive, can be dangerous, and often requires a HAZMAT cleanup.

ITS makes fire extinguisher training more efficient by simulating the extinguishing of a real fire, removing costly extinguishant from the equation. First, flames are generated in a clean-burning, propane-fed pan equipped with digital sensors. If users aim properly and hit the sensors, they can quell the fire without the mess. The sensors then give out a reading on how well a trainee used the extinguisher. The device is cleaner, safer, and easier to use than the traditional training method.

Bullex launched successfully in 2003, and now has 60 employees and estimated annual sales of $7.3 million. The company was featured in Fortune Small Business Magazine after making it to the final round of the magazine's national business plan competition, receiving honorable mention. Their customers include the US Navy, Northrop Grumman, Michelin, International Truck, and Trane.

AHS Hydrofoils: It's a New Generation

Case Western Reserve University, 2003 - $18,000

Recreational power boats consume a large amount of fuel, with a typical thirty-foot boat yielding efficiencies of only two miles per gallon. The hydrofoil, a wing-like device that extends under the boat and lifts the hull out of the water, reduces drag and can potentially double the miles per gallon efficiency while improving seaworthiness and aesthetic appeal.

The AHS Hydrofoil E-Team developed a retractable hydrofoil system that increases the fuel efficiency of cruiser-type pleasure boats up to fifty feet in length. Retractable foils can be lifted out of the water when not in use, enabling easier cleaning, shallow water navigation, and the option of cruising in displacement mode. AHS is the first company to develop and produce a retractable hydrofoil system.

Hearing Protection for Occupational Environments

Dartmouth College, 2003 - $17,600

The cost of care and compensation of military personnel with noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) exceeds $300 million annually: the largest defense-related disability expenditure. Existing noise reduction devices (earmuffs, earplugs, and commercial active noise reduction headsets) do not adequately provide the broadband noise reduction necessary to prevent NIHL. Over the course of several years, this E-Team devised, tested and commercialized a novel, high performance active noise reduction system for communication and hearing protection headsets through feedforward adaptive least mean square (LMS) control.

The team, now incorporated as Sound Innovations, Inc., has received $1.2 million in federal funding.

Prototyping and Development of DNA Amplification Method (Vandalia Research)

Marshall University, 2003 - $18,586

Mass-produced DNA is used in a number of industries, including nanotechnology applications, gene therapy, and as standards in diagnostic tests. However, existing DNA production technology is slow, inefficient, personnel-intensive, and provides opportunities for human error and cross contamination of products. In response to the need for better, faster DNA production, this E-Team developed the Triathlon Thermal Cycler, a continuous, rapid thermal cycler that replicates DNA 150% more efficiently than the traditional thermal cycler and can potentially produce DNA 800% more efficiently due to its scalability.

The original E-Team consisted of Derek Gregg and Justin Swick, two IST undergraduates in the College of Science. After incorporating as Vandalia Research in March 2004, the company now has five employees, with Derek handling business development, Justin handling research and manufacturing design, a full-time lab technician on hand, and two Marshall professors, Dr. Elizabeth Murray and Dr. Michael Norton, on the management team. They secured an exclusive licensing agreement with Marshall for use of the cycler, and recently completed their first round of significant funding, securing almost $1 million from local West Virginia angel investors.

Central State University Student Project Proposal

Central State University, 2003 - $6,975

This E-Team designed an environmentally friendly manual lawnmower, the Kwik Kut. Kwik Kut is a low energy, efficient, torque prime mover with an intelligent blade cleaning system. It trims and cuts grass simultaneously, requires only a 10% variation of force (opposed to traditional reel mowers' 100%), uses variable gear ratios to deal with unlimited grass height, and provides an easy system to replace blades.


Columbia University, 2003 - $11,700

MedfoLink is a new software technology designed to solve the issues surrounding medical records. The majority of medical records remain on paper, raising issues of patient privacy, potential loss of patient history, and performance limitations that hinder existing medical language processing technologies. MedfoLink is a java technology that uses medical language processing and the Unified Medical Language Source to enable a computer to accurately record and interpret data from patient records. Benefits of the system include: security to ensure patient privacy, consolidated patient histories, and the elimination of clerical errors.

The team completed and tested a beta version of the software in order to secure government and private funding.

Know Wear Kinetic Performance Optimization

University of Maryland, 2003 - $12,500

The Know Wear E-Team developed an innovative, portable device for athletes incorporating GPS and accelerometer technology. The system is designed to complement biofeedback systems such as heart rate monitors, giving the user detailed statistics on his or her performance based on motion. The data is transferable to a computer, which analyzes the readings according to various sports.

Several companies currently provide detailed analyses of an athlete's performance, but none without bulky, cumbersome equipment. Know Wear's system appeals to athletes wishing to measure their performance with a highly portable device. The team is marketing its product toward professional athletes and home users alike.

TMT MicroSink

Purdue University, 2003 - $16,500

A large segment of popular consumer electronic devices (personal computers, cellular phones, personal digital assistants, etc.) have microprocessors acting as brains. These microprocessors consume a large amount of power and must be actively cooled in order to function reliably. The currently available heat sinking equipment needed to cool the electronics is bulky, inefficient, and costly. The TMT MicroSink E-Team developed low cost, high performance heat removal technology that blows air through a microscale heat sink without the use of moving parts, allowing large amounts of heat to be removed cheaply and efficiently. The new technology enables the development of chip-coolers that are considerably smaller, lighter, and quieter than currently available heat sink-fan combinations.

The E-Team included two doctoral students specializing in physics, mechanical engineering, and energy engineering. A faculty advisor with expertise in mechanical engineering supported the students along with two industry experts.

Software for Automated Mold Design

University of Maryland, 2003 - $19,040

The Software for Automated Mold Design E-Team aimed to reduce development time and product cost of current mold design methods with software that automates the mold design process.

The software automatically designs molds for complex objects such as automotive parts, toys, plastic consumer goods, and scanned objects. The product automates part design, process planning, price quotation, and mold design for scanned irregular shapes. These innovative features significantly reduce the time, expertise, and costs traditionally associated with mold design.

The E-Team consisted of two graduate students and a professor from the mechanical engineering department. Six industry experts supported the team.

Development and Implementation of a Web-based Demand Forecasting Service

Marquette University, 2003 - $16,900

This E-Team developed GASDAY, a rolling eight-day natural gas load forecasting service for large and midsized local distribution companies (LDCs). The team's objective was to scale the GASDAY service to provide affordable accessibility to small municipal gas utilities. Smaller-sized LDCs would enjoy the benefits of this industry-leading load forecasting package built specifically for their customer base. The service increases a forecaster's understanding of and confidence in the gas load forecast.

The E-Team included two graduate students specializing in computing and marketing and two undergraduate students majoring in computer engineering and electrical engineering. Two professors of engineering and one industry expert supported the students. Visit the project's website here.

EcoTech Marine: Easy-Ionizer

Lehigh University, 2003 - $8,380

Reef aquariums aim to create thriving ecosystems by growing and reproducing corals and invertebrates. To aid in that process the EcoTech Marine E-Team developed the Easy-Ionizer, a device that simplifies reef-keeping by using automation to create a stable marine environment.

In order to properly care for fish and other aquatic organisms contained within a reef aquarium, proper and stable water chemistry is required. Typical daily chores of maintaining a reef aquarium include topping off the tank with fresh water and supplementing calcium and alkalinity. The Easy-Ionizer automatically combines the multiple chores of freshwater top off and calcium and alkalinity supplementation, consolidating two otherwise expensive products into one package.

The E-Team included ten undergraduate students. Two faculty advisors with expertise in business economics and geo-environmental engineering supported the students along with several industry experts

Update: The EcoTech team has gone on to form a successful aquarium products company. Visit their website here.

Axon Potential

Brown University, 2003 - $18,000

Many people wake up to sleep inertia, a groggy condition that negatively affects temper, basic mechanics, and reflexes. While a night's sleep consists of three phases (light, deep and REM sleep), recent studies indicate sleepers suffer from the worst sleep inertia when woken from deep sleep, and the least when woken from light sleep.

Taking advantage of this information, the Axon Potential E-Team developed a smart alarm clock that wakes the user only during light sleep by monitoring eye movements. After setting the latest possible wake-up time, the user goes to bed wearing an eye movement-monitoring band around his or her forehead. The band wirelessly transmits the user's sleep information to the alarm clock for analysis. The device sets a wakeup window based on the information and triggers the alarm only when eye movements indicate the person is in a light stage of sleep.

The E-Team consisted of six undergraduates with majors in cognitive neuroscience, computer science, public and private sector organizations, computer engineering, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering. Four professors with expertise in psychiatry and human behavior, engineering, technology planning, and marketing guided the students.

Update: The team, now incorporated as Zeo, enjoyed several start-up successes. The company raised two rounds of funding as it completed prototyping and preparing for a product launch. Most recently, Zeo was chosen from among forty-five other companies as the winner of the 2006 Rhode Island Business Plan Competition, receiving over $55,000 in cash and services. The company also formed a strong board and group of advisors, including Harvard sleep scientists, the former president of Bose, and several others. Zeo's novel alarm clock has been featured in a number of media, including the Boston Globe, BBC, NPR, New Scientist Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, Providence Journal, Yahoo! News and several others. See for more information.

Shuttle-tracking Service Project

University of California, Berkeley, 2003 - $19,989

This E-Team looked to make the UC Berkley shuttle system safer and more convenient by developing a shuttle tracking service. The service provides the location of Berkeley shuttles to students and other riders through a central server connected to the internet. Each shuttle transmits its location data via a built-in GPS device to internet access points situated throughout the shuttle routes. Users can access the location data with their cell phones, through the web, or on public display boards placed near campus buildings.

The team consisted of three students specializing in electrical engineering and computer science, business administration, and bioengineering. One professor of engineering and five industry advisors aided the students in areas of design, marketing, and safety.

Novel Open Ocean Aquaculture Cages

University of Florida, 2003 - $18,950

The ever increasing demands of the world population on ocean resources has resulted in severe overfishing in many parts of the world. Worldwide fisheries cannot meet the needs of the growing human population without the supplementation of aquaculture, but currently available aquaculture cages are heavy and expensive, requiring a lot of labor to transport and assemble. This E-Team developed a novel open ocean aquaculture (OOA) cage that uses pressurized flexible tubes to replace the rigid members of a typical OOA cage. The flexible tubes are pressurized when filled with water; the hose members become extremely stiff and are capable of supporting a tremendous amount of force. Once the water is removed, the members regain flexibility and can be easily transported.

The E-Team consisted of a senior mechanical engineering student, one business student, two faculty members from the UF Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, a faculty member with expertise in business, and one industry advisor.

Light Emitting Diode based Sheet Music and Fine Art Lighting

Swarthmore College, 2003 - $19,085

This E-Team developed a programmable array of light emitting diodes (LEDs) that provide white light with tunable hues and intensities with the idea of replacing the traditional light sources used by two target niche markets: sheet music lighting and fine art lighting.

This diverse and multidisciplinary E-Team consisted of six undergraduate students specializing in mechanical engineering, engineering, physics, English, and photography. Two professors with expertise in optics and electrical engineering guided the students along with four industry advisors.

Piezoelectric Microjet for Drug Delivery

University of California, Berkeley, 2003 - $19,800

Needle-based drug delivery is often painful, has limited accuracy, and typically requires a visit to a doctor's office. Some therapeutics are totally inaccessible to individuals because they can't safely and reliably deliver the drugs themselves. To address these problems this E-Team developed a hand-held microjet drug delivery system to replace the use of hypodermic needles in treating arthritis patients. The piezoelectric actuation device accurately delivers the correct dosage with minimum pain.

The E-Team consisted of three undergraduate students specializing in bioengineering.

Balance Sport Wheelchair

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2003 - $16,400

Wheelchair basketball is among the five highest risk sports for the disabled. Injuries resulting from collisions are frequent during wheelchair basketball because the athletes must not only control the ball and the game, but also themselves and their chairs.

The Balance Sport Wheelchair E-Team designed a less cumbersome, more responsive, and safer wheelchair that employs a simple leaning/braking system to help the athlete control herself. The seat of the wheelchair sits atop a centralized column that passes through a universal join mechanism; the column extends down where it's attached to a braking system on the chair's two large wheels. When the player leans left, the chair turns left; when they players leans right, the chair turns right; when the player leans back, the chair stops.

The E-Team consisted of four students: three undergraduates majoring in industrial design, and one member of the University of Illinois wheelchair basketball team.


Lehigh University, 2003 - $13,500

The FreeFeet E-Team designed a strap-in binding for a snowboard boot equipped with an adapter that allows snowboarders to combine the softer feel of strap-in boots with the more convenient step-in system. Freefeet combines the two methods by means of an attachment that allows the snowboarder to quickly "step-in" to the board while using nearly any boot she wants.

The E-Team consisted of three sophomores and one junior, each majoring in integrated business and engineering, and one senior majoring in finance and biology.

Maglev Train Reproduction

California State University, Fresno, 2003 - $20,000

Maglev technology, first introduced in 1969, uses the principle of magnetism to float a train in the air above a track as well as propel it forward. The Maglev Train Reproduction E-Team designed the world's first toy train that runs on Maglev technology. The train levitates 1 cm above the railway track through the use of standard electromagnets. The train is fitted with wheels, giving it the flexibility to run on a normal railway, effectively demonstrating how Maglev technology can integrate seamlessly with existing railway lines on a larger, real-world scale.

The team's long-term goals, aside from developing a commercially viable and fun toy, are to generate excitement about environmentally friendly Maglev technology.

Location Specific Alarm Relay

Southern Illinois University, 2003 - $8,611

Residential fires kill and injure thousands of Americans and cause billions of dollars in property damage each year. More than 428,000 home fires occurred in 1996, which resulted in a residential fire every 74 seconds, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). By the mid 1980s, laws that required alarms in all new and existing residences existed in 38 states and thousands of municipalities. Systems wired throughout the house are expensive to install and provide only a general alert, while standard smoke alarms are not interconnected. This E-Team's Location Specific Alarm Relay (LSAR) system is designed to be installed in individual rooms, but has the ability to transmit data and can relate the location of smoke in the event of a fire. For example, the existence of smoke in the basement will be relayed to the second floor bedroom through a combined horn and voice alarm.

The NSH Keg Wrap

Case Western Reserve University, 2003 - $20,000

The NSH Keg Wrap E-Team developed an electric wrap that keeps kegs cool without ice. The portable product, which wraps around any keg and can be plugged in to any household outlet, employs the Peltier Effect: the ability to cool or heat a material by passing a current through the junction of two different conductors.

The team intends to target beer distributors, who will then rent the Keg Wrap to consumers. They have calculated a potential market of over 2,500 beer wholesalers in the US.

ThruSkin Technologies

University of Georgia, 2003 - $18,750

Thirty-two million Americans suffer from osteoarthritis and spend $2.5 billion annually on various products to deal with it. Until recently, however, individuals with osteoarthritis had no effective treatments for their affliction; their only recourse was pain-killers, usually NSAIDs, which can have serious side effects. Numerous studies over the past decade have shown that glucosamine, a natural sugar, can stop further deterioration of the arthritic joint and even help rebuild the cartilage. Glucosamine has been marketed successfully in pill form, but only 1% of the glucosamine in the pill reaches the affected joint. Topical glucosamine creams are on the market, but none of them are able to get more than 3-5% across the skin barrier. Using novel technology, the Thruskin Technologies E-Team developed a glucosamine-based anti-osteoarthritis topical cream, Rejuvalin, that delivers 70% of the glucosamine across the skin barrier to the damaged joint.

The E-Team consisted of a pharmaceutical PhD student and three MBA students. The team's advisors were a professor of strategy and entrepreneurship, an associate professor of pharmaceutical and biomedical sciences and a pharmaceutical industry consultant.

Maestro Music Box

University of Georgia, 2004 - $16,950

This E-Team developed an advanced digital audio player, the Maestro Music Box. Music is entered into the box in either MP3 format or CDs and can store up to 12,000 songs. The box interacts with almost all types of portable audio devices: you can download music from your Apple i-Pod and vice-versa; you can create CDs for your car or walkman; you can control the box from anywhere in the world through any internet compatible device (PC, cell phone, PDA).

Businesses that regularly play music (bars, restaurants, retail chains) currently use a variety of devices, from playing single CDs to laptops with media players to subscribing to programming services that broadcast music to their locations. The Maestro Music Box could help these businesses catalogue and manage their music, allowing them to quickly and easily synchronize music across multiple locations.

The E-Team consisted of two MBA students and one undergraduate industrial and electrical engineering major. Advisors to the project were a professor of strategy and entrepreneurship, a software development specialist, an engineering consultant and the director of a business strategy firm.

Update: Since receiving funding the team has switched gears toward a software approach and are now in beta-testing. Visit for more.

ARACHNOVATION Presents: The Spider Easel!

Marshall University, 2004 - $17,075

This E-Team developed an adjustable, lightweight easel called the Spider Easel. The team used user surveys and industry experience to come up with an all-encompassing design that is adjustable, versatile, sturdy, portable, and inexpensive. The Spider Easel consists of four arms and four legs constructed from aluminum tubing. The length of the individual arms and legs can be changed using adjustable compression fittings (much like a photographer's tripod). Artwork is held by gripping hardware not seen in other easels.

Fire Extinguisher Training Device (Bullex)

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2004 - $14,600

Bullex, launched at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, received Advanced E-Team grants in 2003, 2004 and 2005 to develop the Intelligent Training System (ITS), an innovative fire extinguisher training device. The majority of today's live-fire extinguisher training is done by taking a bucket and filling it with kerosene or diesel, and water. After an instructor lights the fire, a trainee is given an extinguisher and told to put it out. This method is expensive, can be dangerous, and often requires a HAZMAT cleanup.

ITS makes fire extinguisher training more efficient by simulating the extinguishing of a real fire, removing costly extinguishant from the equation. First, flames are generated in a clean-burning, propane-fed pan equipped with digital sensors. If users aim properly and hit the sensors, they can quell the fire without the mess. The sensors then give out a reading on how well a trainee used the extinguisher. The device is cleaner, safer, and easier to use than the traditional training method.

Bullex launched successfully in 2003, and now has 60 employees and estimated annual sales of $7.3 million. The company was featured in Fortune Small Business Magazine after making it to the final round of the magazine's national business plan competition, receiving honorable mention. Their customers include the US Navy, Northrop Grumman, Michelin, International Truck, and Trane.

PICKLE Technology

Purdue University, 2004 - $17,700

This E-Team developed novel technology to generate modified root crops that produce significant quantities of vegetable oil. A cloned mutant gene named PICKLE (PKL) produces plants that accumulate large amounts of oil in their roots. The team believes radishes are promising candidates for hosting the gene because of their bigger roots, capable of storing large amounts of oil. They tested a variety of crops and established connections with the biofuels market.

Successful development of this technology would significantly expand the amount of crops that can produce commercially extractable vegetable oil. An increase in vegetable oil will be beneficial to several markets because it is a key ingredient in numerous products such as food for human consumption, biofuels, animal feed, plastics, and lubricants. The team has chosen to focus on vegetable oil to generate biofuels.

The licensing of genetically modified crops has blossomed into a multibillion dollar industry: seven million farmers in eighteen countries planted genetically modified crops in 2004.

Feasibility Study to Analyze the Economic Value Proposition and Related Marketing Strategy for a Modular, Pressurized Anaerobic Digestion Reactor

Cornell University, 2004 - $18,000

Dairy farmers, animal processing facilities, and wastewater treatment plants use biogas generated from the anaerobic digestion of organic matter to stabilize their waste streams, facilitating processing for disposal or its conversion into usable by-products. NCIIA funding supported this E-Team in completing a technical feasibility study for a modular reactor that pressurizes and purifies biogas produced from anaerobic digestion of biomass using a closed-loop system. It was the first step toward commercialization of biogas-producing technology for use by commercial, industrial, and consumer clients who could benefit from a reliable source of clean, renewable energy.

The US water supply and wastewater treatment is a $110 billion industry, of which $32.1 billion (30%) was spent in 2002 on capital improvements at municipal wastewater treatment facilities. In the next six years, municipalities are expected to spend an additional $100 billion to meet state and federal environmental standards. The team's goal was to determine a practical system design and identify appropriate markets for commercialization, developing a thorough understanding of the economic value proposition for this technology.

Development and Commercialization of MicroStereolithography (MSLA) Technology

Georgia Institute of Technology, 2004 - $17,000

MicroStereolithography (MSLA) is a novel layer-based microfabrication technology in which three-dimensional physical parts can be selectively created directly from a computer model using photopolymer resin. The Georgia Tech Rapid Prototyping and Manufacturing Institute (RPMI) recently developed an advanced MSLA machine that uses an innovative method of delivering ultraviolet light onto the desired build surface using a digital micro-mirror array device. Currently the machine is operated manually, but its speed and resolution could be improved by automation. The MSLA E-Team automated this machine and developed a business plan for a MSLA "service bureau" venture to commercialize the technology.

The MSLA E-Team targeted the growing six billion Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) industry, where two-dimensional, labor-intensive, and iterative manufacturing techniques are typical.

TekAlert Wireless Firefighter Tether (TABS System)

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2004 - $14,500

When firefighters enter a burning building, they must keep in physical contact with each other to stay together, which limits their mobility and, when contact is broken, results in injuries and fatalities. The TekAlert E-Team developed the Team Accountability Buddy System (TABS), which uses proximity-sensing wireless technology to allow firefighters to free their hands and conduct more efficient searches while maintaining team integrity. TABS allows firefighters to work a safe distance apart, determined by visibility. When a member of the group is outside the distance limit for thirty seconds, the audible and visual beacon system activates, guiding the group back to the missing firefighter. Each unit is interoperable and compatible with all other units.

A BST (barium strontium titanate) Based Narrow Band Tunable Antenna For Improving Wireless Communication

North Carolina State University, 2004 - $18,000

Improving call quality and network coverage of cellular phone systems in an economically viable way is the one of the major concerns of service providers today. The quality of current wireless communication systems could be significantly improved by the use of a narrow band tunable antenna in cell phone handsets to increase network coverage, reduce the cost of materials used for manufacturing cell phones, and improve battery life. The Barium Strontium Titanate (BST) Antenna E-Team developed a low-cost method of fabricating a voltage tunable BST-based antenna.

Over the past three years, the Materials Science and Engineering Department at North Carolina State University has developed a thin film voltage controlled capacitor (varactor) using BST. The BST Antenna E-Team adapted the BST thin film technology to produce high quality integral varactors, which can be used to manufacture narrow band tunable antennas.

The BST-based antenna will help service providers increase their revenues and enable better wireless service for end-users, allowing them to differentiate their products in a highly competitive market.

Expandable Wheelchair

Portland State University, 2004 - $10,000

Today's standard, non-custom-built wheelchairs lack the ability to adapt to the user, leading to discomfort and health problems when used in long-term care situations in nursing homes, hospitals, and assisted living facilities. With no ability to adjust, larger residents are crammed into smaller chairs, and, with no headrest on the chair back, people without muscle strength in their neck are left with their heads falling to one side. Bigger wheelchairs with headrests exist, but cost 300% more than standard wheelchairs--a prohibitive cost for most facilities. In response to this problem, this E-Team developed a wheelchair that can expand from the usual 18" wide and 16" deep seating surface to 22" wide and 18" deep, and comes with an adjustable headrest. The goal of the team was to develop a cost-efficient, adjustable manual wheelchair that addresses the common problems of people who use standard, generic wheelchairs in long-term situations.

The E-Team consisted of seven mechanical engineering majors, one with business administration experience and one with patent experience. Advisors included a professor of mechanical engineering and design as well as three members of Keen Mobility, a former NCIIA E-Team that has gone on to form a successful company based on innovative assistive technology.

Interactive Guest Paging System

Florida Institute of Technology, 2004 - $11,500

This E-Team developed the Interactive Guest Paging System (IGPS), a new restaurant pager that allows the customer to play games, view the menu, and check on the estimated waiting time while waiting to be seated. The system consists of handheld pagers with video screens and buttons wirelessly connected to a base station equipped with a touch screen, mouse, keyboard, pager charging bay, software to update the menu, and a wireless transceiver.

The team, which consisted of five undergraduate electrical engineering majors and one business administration undergraduate, planned to target casual dining chains such as Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Outback Steakhouse, etc.

Wireless Crop Protection

University of California, Berkeley, 2004 - $15,900

This E-Team developed a wireless frost protection system for California vineyards. When the temperature in vineyards reaches frost levels (38-40 degrees), the system automatically turns on frost-prevention equipment and alerts the field manager of any trouble. The system consists of temperature-monitoring Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN) deployed in the field, a computer interface showing the field manager a map of the vineyard and the temperature at each WSN, and ultra-bright LEDs in the field acting as beacons that communicate system operation and temperature zones, allowing a field manager to drive around and gauge vineyard condition from afar.

The current method of protecting crops from frost is simple and effective, but antiquated: when temperature dips, an alarm wakes the field manager, who drives around the vineyard checking thermometers and manually activating wind generators, which pull in warm air from higher elevations. Field managers usually do not go back to sleep to ensure no problems arise with the generators, leading to extreme sleep deficiency during frost spells. The E-Team's system automatically turns on the generators and allows the field manager to check on their operation remotely.

The E-Team consisted of two mechanical engineering PhD students, a mechanical engineering graduate student, an MBA candidate, and an industrial design student. Advisors to the team included the director of the Management of Technology program at UC Berkeley, a winegrowing manager for Gallo Vineyards, a viticulturalist, and a product design and strategy consultant.


Pennsylvania State University, 2004 - $6,000

This E-Team developed the Shelton Wing in Ground Effect (SWIG) vehicle, a type of airplane/boat that skims the surface of water. Flying near the ground reduces drag and increases lift, allowing Wing In Ground (WIG) vehicles to move at high speeds while consuming little fuel. However, traditional WIG vehicles have significant stability and control problems, causing frequent wrecks and preventing them from achieving commercial success. Computerized flight controls have solved the stability problems of large WIG vehicles, but are too costly to be practical for small WIG vehicles. Three-axis airplane-like controls solve the stability problem as well, but require special pilot training, creating a barrier to wide commercialization. To solve these problems, this E-Team innovated the WIG, adding forward wheels to the wings (skis for water operation) that stay in light contact with the surface. The wheels balance the pitching of the vehicle, creating a reliably safe, fast, and fuel-efficient transport.

The E-Team consisted of two senior finance majors, a senior astrophysics major, a senior advertising/public relations major, and a senior aerospace engineering student with pilot experience. Advisors to the team included three professors of aerospace engineering, a patent attorney, and a financial consultant.

The Wi-Fi Enabled Portable Internet Radio

Case Western Reserve University, 2004 - $18,500

This E-Team developed a Wi-fi-enabled portable internet radio. The device is a standard MP3 player with the added ability to access internet radio through existing Wi-fi networks. The operating system for the device has a plug-in that is essentially a streamlined web browser with access to one internet site, created by the team, that provides links to all available internet radio stations (estimated at 10,000 in 2002).

There are no portable internet radio devices on the market. Satellite radio is the only similar service; satellite radio, however, offers 122-125 channels depending on the provider, and has content very similar to traditional radio. On the other hand, thousands of internet radio stations are in existence, offering a much more diverse selection of music.

The Helping Hand

Rowan University, 2004 - $14,395

This E-Team developed The Helping Hand, a holding device for writing instruments designed for individuals with limited hand function. The device consists of an ergonomically designed, ambidextrous top shape that lets the hand rest in its natural position, a clasp for the writing instrument, and a base plate with roller bearings. The device naturally sits in the "up" position, and, through the use of a light spring, is pushed down by the weight of the person's hand when writing. The person uses forearm and shoulder movements to write, and when ready to move to another spot on the paper, simply lifts up the arm and rolls the device across the paper.

Converting Coconuts into Value-Added Products in Developing Countries

Baylor University, 2004 - $17,500

This E-Team is working toward establishing profitable, sustainable, coconut-based business ventures owned and operated by poor people living within ten degrees latitude of the equator, where coconut trees thrive. The team is researching the marketability and effectiveness of four coconut-based products: bio-diesel (from coconut oil), pig and chicken feed (from the white "meat"), particle board (from coconut shells), and anti-erosion matting (from the fuzzy fibers on the coconut shell). The team has already made bio-diesel for rural electrification using diesel generators, and demonstrated that pigs and chickens will eat and prosper on coconut meat. With NCIIA funding the team is developing simple, affordable technologies to separate the coconut's meat, shell, and fuzz and convert them into feed, particle board, and matting.

The E-Team consists of two undergraduates in engineering, one graduate in engineering, and two MBAs. The distinguished professor of engineering at Baylor, as well as the head of the department of mechanical engineering at Papua New Guinea Technical University, are team leaders. Advisors to the team include two professors of management and entrepreneurship at Baylor.


Early Detection of Acute Renal Failure

Johns Hopkins University, 2004 - $12,000

This E-Team developed a new device designed for the early detection of acute renal failure (ARF). The device uses laser technology and Raman spectroscopy to provide data on metabolite excretion rates in near real-time (high levels of metabolite excretion are indicative of ARF). The device enables the detection of ARF in hospitalized patients up to 48 hours earlier than current detection methods. The detection of other biomarkers using this device is also possible, making the device useful in aiding with a number of clinical diagnoses.

ARF is seen in 5% of all hospitalized patients, and 4-15% of all patients who undergo cardiovascular surgery. It accounts for 30,000 deaths per year. Current detection methods are not effective in providing early detection of the disease, which is essential to effective treatment. By providing early detection capabilities, this device can give healthcare providers a jump start on effectively treating ARF.

EEG Keyboard

Johns Hopkins University, 2004 - $14,400

This E-Team developed the EEG Keyboard, a Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) typewriter system capable of translating electroencephalogram signals generated from electrical activity in the brain into characters on a screen. Electrodes are attached to the user's scalp, and he or she chooses characters either by focusing on a certain row or column in a flashing six-by-six matrix or by staring at a region of the screen flashing at a certain known frequency. Initially the product was targeted at the Locked-In Syndrome (LIS) community--individuals with paralysis of all voluntary muscles in the body, leaving them virtually unable to communicate.

The E-Team consisted of two professors of biomedical engineering (one of which won the 2003 BCI competition), eight biomedical engineering undergraduates, and three faculty advisors: one from neurology, one from biomedical engineering, and one from business.

A Novel Device to Perform Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy for the Treatment of Congestive Heart Failure

Stanford University, 2004 - $18,369

This E-Team developed a device that simplifies the process of implanting Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy (CRT) devices in human hearts. CRT devices (e.g., pacemakers) are used to treat instances of congestive heart failure (CHF). Implanting them requires attaching electrical leads to the ventricular walls of the heart, which in turn cause the heart to contract at regular intervals. This E-Team's device allows surgeons to access the left ventricular wall (the harder of the two walls to reach) by passing that electrical lead through the right ventricle, rather than routing it separately into the left ventricle. This approach allows for faster procedures with fewer surgical obstacles, minimizing the chances for failure.

CHF is a major (and growing) health problem, especially in the US. While pacemakers currently improve the lives of many people with CHF, the failure rate for the implant procedure is about 8%. Furthermore, there are many patients who are too sick to undergo such major surgery. Because this device lessens the operating time and avoids the obstacles surrounding the left ventricle, it could presumably make an impact in both of these groups.

Soda Sentry

Lehigh University, 2004 - $9,241

This E-Team developed the Soda Sentry, a system that indicates when syrup has run out at soda fountains. Using infrared technology, a red light indicates to the customer when a fountainhead is out of syrup; additionally, lights go off in the employee area of the restaurant to let servers know the box needs to be changed. The product intends to optimize customer service and restaurant efficiency.

The E-Team consisted of a junior in integrated business and engineering as well as graduate students in electrical, industrial, and mechanical engineering, and computer science. Advisors to the team were a professor of management, a marketing expert, a manufacturing and operations expert, and an engineering design expert.

Sightless Training Spoon

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, 2005 - $1,482

When teaching a blind child how to use a spoon, the common practice is hand-over-hand learning, which requires time and patience on the part of the instructor. This E-Team is developing a training spoon that indicates to the child when the spoon is being tipped, allowing the child to learn independent of an instructor and accelerate the learning process. The device consists of a handle, indicator shaft, and spoon tip. Feedback is provided by small bumps on the indicator shaft, which protrude through the spoon handle and press against the child's hand when the spoon is tipped too far in one direction.

Commercialization of Low Cost Infrared Imaging for Medical Applications

University of Massachusetts, Lowell, 2005 - $20,000

This E-Team developed an infrared imaging system for medical diagnosis. The team envisions the imaging system as a low-cost alternative to X-rays, possibly helping make medical diagnostic equipment more readily available in developing countries.

Ocean Wave Energy Buoy

Oregon State University, 2005 - $11,000

This E-Team developed a novel, contactless, magnet-based buoy to capture the ocean's wave energy and convert it into electrical energy. By "contactless" the team means that previous buoy designs have used hydraulic or pneumatic approaches, which create physical contact between the piston and cylinder, leading to system damage during rough storms as well as decreased efficiency, while their design employs magnets for contactless mechanical energy transmission. The magnets are configured in a piston, producing radial magnetic flux that transmits a generator load to the cylinder; the motion of the piston is transformed to rotation using a ball screw to drive the permanent magnet rotary generator. Thick cables attached to the bottom of the buoy connect it to an electrical grid on the mainland.

The team created a proof-of-concept prototype that showed an overall system efficiency of 70-80%. The goal of this grant was not so much to commercialize a product immediately, but to further prototype and test their design to enable commercial-scale devices in the future.

Economic and Technical Feasibility Study for Planar Membraneless Micro-fluidic Fuel Cell

Cornell University, 2005 - $20,000

This E-Team undertook two separate activities: prototyping its micro-fuel cell technology, and creating a long-term marketing plan. The technology is PM2, a novel planar, micro-fluidic, membraneless micro-fuel cell that relies on laminar flow of fuel and oxidant solutions. Initial lab tests demonstrated that the design has the potential to deliver superior power density to portable electronic devices when compared with competing membrane and membraneless fuel cell designs.

The team continued prototyping PM2 to go from a 1-mW lab device to a 10-watt commercial prototype with an appropriate price. Alongside prototype development the team identified manufacturing, distribution, sales, and venture capital partners, segmented markets, determined market entry point, and identified partners for commercialization. The primary target markets are the defense and industrial sectors, specifically in the areas of portable power, wireless scanning, and communication devices.

Low-Cost Water Purification System for Developing Countries and Other Applications

Illinois Institute of Technology, 2005 - $16,000

This E-Team developed a clay-based water purification system for household use in developing countries. The system consists of a ceramic filter element, made of kiln-fired clay treated with colloidal silver, set in a plastic receptacle tank with a plastic lid and spigot. These filters have been produced and promoted in Africa, Central America, and Southeast Asia, but have not been widely adopted due to poor financial planning and failures in meeting the expected amount and quality of water produced. The team improved the filtration system and at the same time developed customized training that creates broader awareness, encouraging adoption on a much larger scale, and stimulating local production and support.

Biotechnology System to Monitor the Health of Wastewater Treatment Plants

University of Colorado at Boulder, 2005 - $15,650

Water scarcity is the biggest challenge of the 21st century, and proper wastewater treatment is critical to public and environmental health because it protects and recycles the limited supply of fresh water. Throughout the world, billions of gallons of industrial and domestic sewage are treated in centralized wastewater facilities through the acceleration of natural biodegradation processes, relying on a balance of healthy microbes for optimal performance. This E-Team developed an innovative biotechnology system to monitor and diagnose common microbiological problems that interfere with the reclamation of wastewater in sewage treatment plants worldwide. Problems often result from undesired blooms of microbes, but many microbes do not yield to cultivation, the traditional method of identification. The team's DNA sequence-based technology allows microbes to be detected and identified without cultivation to determine relative quantities in a sample. Once problem microbes are identified, treatment plants can design and apply the appropriate remedy with quantitative information from the team's Biotechnology System.

Secure E-Payment System

University of Maryland, 2005 - $14,837

This E-Team developed SecureGo-Cash, a USB flash drive equipped with encryption capability for secure online transactions. When connected to a USB port, SecureGo-Cash prompts the user for a password. Each SecureGo-Cash has a unique Machine ID, and once the user enters her password, she logs into any SecureGo-enabled website, uses the Machine ID as her identity, and completes a transaction. The website connects to the SecureGo server, verifies the authenticity of the request, and transfers the amount from the user's account to the merchant's account. Additionally, the user can set up a cash recovery account with SecureGo-Cash, and if the device is lost or stolen, can transfer the balance to this recovery account.

Fire Extinguisher Training System (Bullex)

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2005 - $13,977

Bullex, launched at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, received Advanced E-Team grants in 2003, 2004 and 2005 to develop the Intelligent Training System (ITS), an innovative fire extinguisher training device. The majority of today's live-fire extinguisher training is done by taking a bucket and filling it with kerosene or diesel, and water. After an instructor lights the fire, a trainee is given an extinguisher and told to put it out. This method is expensive, can be dangerous, and often requires a HAZMAT cleanup.

ITS makes fire extinguisher training more efficient by simulating the extinguishing of a real fire, removing costly extinguishant from the equation. First, flames are generated in a clean-burning, propane-fed pan equipped with digital sensors. If users aim properly and hit the sensors, they can quell the fire without the mess. The sensors then give out a reading on how well a trainee used the extinguisher. The device is cleaner, safer, and easier to use than the traditional training method.

2003 update: Bullex launched successfully in 2003, and now has 60 employees and estimated annual sales of $7.3 million. The company was featured in Fortune Small Business Magazine after making it to the final round of the magazine's national business plan competition, receiving honorable mention. Their customers include the US Navy, Northrop Grumman, Michelin, International Truck, and Trane.

2012 update: Bullex was acquired by Ohio company Lion Apparel, which makes clothing for fire fighters.

Percutaneous Large Arteriotomy Site Closure

Stanford University, 2005 - $16,675

Arteriotomies (the surgical incision of an artery) are required for all catheter-based procedures. Current medical practice requires a large, open incision, an invasive procedure which increases recovery time, hospital and procedure costs, and patient discomfort. To combat these problems, this E-Team developed a device that closes large arteriotomies percutaneously--that is, closes them through the skin in a minimally invasive procedure. The device consists of two components: a vessel-cutting tool, which creates an incision in the vessel of the specific size and shape of the catheter to be used, and a closure mechanism, made of a pre-placed nitinol structure, that provides complete hemostasis to the arteriotomy when the catheter is removed.

Time-Temperature Integrator Advanced E-Team

University of Florida, 2005 - $15,700

This E-Team is concentrating on the problem of the perishability of food and pharmaceutical items. Currently there are two methods of ensuring food/pharmaceutical safety: human predication of expiration, and chemical tags that change color upon product expiration. The E-Team aims to combat the deficiencies of these methods by developing a Time-Temperature Integrator (TTI) tag which, in a 1x2 inch housing, incorporates a temperature measure, a microprocessor, and an RF transceiver. Instead of using the color-change method, these tags record the temperature and time at thirty-second intervals. A calculation of shelf-life is then made based upon a proprietary algorithm that takes into account the current time/temperature and the optimal shelf-life of perishables under those specific conditions. A report of time, temperature and freshness is then sent to a wireless device.

Solar Water Purification Bottles for Developing Countries

University of Massachusetts, Lowell, 2005 - $12,500

Almost one billion people worldwide do not have access to safe drinking water, most in the developing world. To combat this massive problem, this E-Team created water purification technology in which contaminated water is put into a recycled plastic bottle coated with titanium dioxide and placed in the sun for several hours, killing not only bacteria but other harmful substances such as arsenic and herbicides. The team developed a low-cost manufacturing system for the bottles, field tested the bottles in the network of Peruvian villages they worked with for eight years prior, and researched proper approaches to commercialization of the technology. The team also pursued the possibility of adding a color-changing dye to the bottles to indicate when the destruction of harmful substances in the water has occurred and it is safe to drink.

The Expedition Walker

Portland State University, 2005 - $9,050

This E-Team developed an improved walking device that incorporates removable wheels, shock absorbers on each of the four legs, height and width adjustment, a lightweight frame with a wider base at the rear, and detachable accessories such as a seat, basket, cupholder, and more. The team had the full support of Keen Mobility, an NCIIA alumnus and developer of mobility devices for the medical field, allowing the team access to Keen Mobility's resources, relationships with external manufacturing partners, external expert advice, and testing facilities. Moreover, this relationship led the team to adopt Keen Mobility's direct-to-customer distribution model, which should reduce promotional costs significantly.

Design and Construction of a Hybrid Energy System in Kenya: The Precursor to a Manufacturing Capability

Pennsylvania State University, 2005 - $12,000

As part of the Engineers for a Sustainable World program at PSU, this course involved students in creating a hybrid solar/wind power system in Ngegu village in the Division of Rangwe, Kenya, with particular emphasis on water pumps to provide clean water. Currently, residents have to travel a few kilometers to retrieve water that is often polluted, or, worse, has dried up, leading to waterborne disease and high mortality rates. The team also designed a sisal decorticator--a machine that more efficiently harvests the fibers of the sisal plant. Currently these fibers are harvested using a painstakingly slow process that requires entire families to be engaged in harvesting throughout the day.

This project was worked on by four institutions at once: a PSU team of engineering students designed a windmill in conjunction with an engineering team at the University of Nairobi, who initiated the project; a team of business students enrolled in the Introduction to Entrepreneurship course at Bowling Green State University (BGSU) developed a business model for generating funds to support the project; students from all three institutions formed an entrepreneurship team that continued to engage in fundraising and developed a business model; and the Kochia Development Group, an organization of Kenyan businessmen and women who actively seek projects to improve rural Kenya, provided mentoring and feedback to ensure the project is socially and economically feasible.

Ultra Low Cost Portable Electronic Notebook for School Children in Underdeveloped Countries

Brown University, 2005 - $19,000

This E-Team developed an inexpensive, collapsible electronic notebook that can be rolled out for viewing and rolled back into compact form to be carried around. The team's goal is to pair the technology with sub-hundred dollar computers currently under development and get them in the hands of African schoolchildren, 48% of which have no access to textbooks. The team's major innovation is in the area of flexible conductors for the collapsible display: their proprietary conductor technology can exceed strains of 20% without loss of electrical performance, compared to the current industry standard of 1-2%.

Seguro: Pesticide Protection and Warning System

University of California, Berkeley, 2005 - $20,000

This E-Team developed a system of products to protect Central California farmworkers from chronic pesticide exposure, which can lead to a wide range of short-term and long-term health effects including cancer, birth defects, and diminished reproductive ability. The team developed two different technologies to combat the problem: a protective suit for the workers and pesticide sensors for their homes. The suit is made from breathable, repellent Tyvek, Teflon and activated charcoal; it consists of overalls with one shoulder strap, an apron over the other shoulder, a hood, a ventilation mask with a carbon filter, gloves, and shoe coverings. The sensors, which incorporate smart dust mote technology to form wireless sensor networks, are designed to detect and record levels of pesticides, providing both an instantaneous alert when pesticides are detected and a long-term record of pesticide exposure, to be used by government agencies like OSHA and EPA in developing case histories of pesticide problems. The team chose the brand name Seguro, which means "safety" in Spanish.

Micro/Meso Scale Machine Tool Development for the Manufacture of Small Precision Parts

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2005 - $18,590

Micro-manufacturing (the production of components with feature sizes smaller than 1mm) is a large and rapidly growing manufacturing sector. Micro-manufacturing machines make parts for both high-volume (iPods, cell phones, etc.) and high-value (surgical devices, military components, etc.) products, but in both cases the machines currently on the market are slow, expensive, large, and difficult to use.

This E-Team, now incorporated as Microlution, has developed a new type of machine, called a Micro/meso-scale machine tool (mMT), that is smaller, less expensive, and more efficient than traditional micro-manufacturing machines. The company is on its feet and growing rapidly, and in 2007 began selling the Microlution 310-S.

i-conserve Energy Management System

Pennsylvania State University, 2005 - $15,750

While energy conservation is becoming increasingly important in today's world, there is no convenient, inexpensive, easy-to-use energy monitoring and control product for residential and small business markets. To fill the void, this E-Team developed i-conserve, an energy conservation solution for small businesses and homes that consists of a wireless sensor network of modules (outlets), a base station that acts as a hub for the information in the network, and software that modifies energy settings in order to maximize efficiency and also provides the user with recommendations on how to improve efficiency. The base station is a USB ZigBee dongle (an electronic device that must be attached to a computer in order for it to use protected software) that allows a computer to communicate with the ZigBee mesh network. ZigBee itself is a new advancement in wireless sensor network technology that represents a reduction in cost and power consumption.

The team received a small amount of funding as part of the 2002 "E-SHIP Venture Fund and Competitions" Course and Program grant to PSU. The team has already begun prototyping, attended a ZigBee conference to begin networking, and filed two provisional patents.

A Novel Aortic Endograft with Adhesive-mediated Fixation and Seal for Endovascular Treatment of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms

Stanford University, 2005 - $15,898

Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is a dangerous swelling of the abdominal aorta, the vascular conduit that supplies oxygenated blood to the legs. Rupture of AAAs account for 15,000 deaths annually in the US. Open surgical repair of AAAs is currently the gold standard therapy, but comes with significant drawbacks: mid-procedure mortality rates range from 1.4-7.6%, and a number of patients are ineligible for the surgery because they cannot tolerate its invasiveness. As an alternative to open surgical repair, many new stent-grafts have been developed that slide into the aorta and essentially exclude the aneurysm from circulation. These devices are seen as a promising treatment that could reduce mortality rates, patient recovery time, and procedural costs, yet current stent-grafts are suboptimal: only about half of AAA patients are eligible for stent-graft treatment because of the varying anatomy of aneurysms, and the stent-grafts themselves suffer from long-term durability issues involving leaking and the migration of the devices from the site of the aneurysm. To address these issues this E-Team proposes to develop a stent-graft with an adhesive delivery platform that actively seals the stent-graft and fixes it securely in place in the aorta.

Update: the team, now incorporated as Endoluminal Sciences, has received $2 million in venture capital funding and is moving toward clinical trials.

A Novel System to Improve the Efficacy of Percutaneous Catheter Ablation of Atrial Fibrillation

Stanford University, 2005 - $7,250

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a cardiac rhythm disorder that can lead to heart palpitations, chest pain, and clot formation that can lead to strokes. Medications used to control the symptoms of AF have had limited success and come with significant side effects. Recent research suggests that AF is caused by electrically abnormal cells in the right and left side pulmonary veins; with this in mind, percutaneous catheter techniques have been developed in which a catheter is used to ablate (destroy) the conducting tissue around the abnormal cells, electrically isolating them so that they cannot initiate AF. However, this procedure has had limited success due to the fact that the catheter cannot always access the right-sided pulmonary veins given their physical location in the body and the variability of pulmonary vein anatomy from person to person.

To address this issue, this E-Team developed a novel sheath system that can target a catheter directly toward the right-sided pulmonary veins, leading to more effective AF ablations. The sheath system utilizes an anchored trans-septal sheath and an inner, pre-shaped guiding sheath to direct the ablation catheter directly toward right-sided pulmonary veins. The team also designed several inner sheaths to optimize the targeting of the catheter depending on whether the right superior, right inferior, or both right-sided pulmonary veins together are being isolated.

Electrotactile Braille Display

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, 2006 - $1,500

This E-Team is developing an electrotactile Braille display to allow the blind to read text from a computer screen. The device, essentially a small box with lines of electrodes representing Braille dots, uses electrical pulses to stimulate the nerves in the user's fingertips, simulating the feel of raised Braille. The device downloads text from a computer through a USB connection.

There are other text-reading Braille displays on the market, but none that use electrical stimulation. Current devices move a series of pins up and down to change the Braille text being displayed, but the high number of small moving parts brings the price of these displays up to $10,000, limiting their market. The team estimates their device will cost a few hundred dollars.

Automated TB Diagnostic

Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, 2006 - $17,250

This E-Team is developing an automated tuberculosis (TB) tester for the developing world. The current method of TB diagnosis, acid fast bacilli (AFB) sputum microscopy, is slow and unreliable: after collecting the sample, technicians spend 20-30 minutes looking for TB on a recommended 300 fields on each slide. Technician fatigue, lack of training, technician shortages and human error make sputum microscopy, especially in the developing world, highly inaccurate. By automating the slide reading process and replacing error-prone technicians, the team believes the TB tester will make TB diagnosis faster and more consistent, reducing resources wasted on false positives and letting fewer false negatives slip by.

Development and Commercialization of Innovative Wall-climbing Robots

CUNY City College, 2006 - $16,000

This E-Team is developing the City-Climber, a wall-climbing robot intended for use in the inspection of building facades. New York City law mandates the inspection of building facades every five years, and the task is currently accomplished by lowering three trained workers down the side of the building by scaffold equipment. Each additional drop to reach other areas of the façade requires a complete relocation of the rigging equipment, making the process time-consuming and expensive (the cost for one day can exceed $3,000). The E-Team’s robot adheres to the wall by employing aerodynamic attraction produced by a vacuum rotor package. Cameras and sensors inside the robot are used to assess the condition of the building façade, and the robot itself is remotely operated by a joystick.

Soy-Based Plasticizer

Ohio State University, 2006 - $14,000

This E-Team is evaluating the commercial potential of a soy-based plasticizer developed by Battelle, an Ohio-based non-profit research organization. Plasticizers are substances added to plastics or other materials to make or keep them soft and pliable. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plasticizers cause significant health problems and are banned for use in medical devices and toys, but current alternatives to PVC cannot deliver low cost, high performance, and non-toxicity. The team believes its soy-based plasticizer has the ability to do just that, offering an inexpensive, effective, non-toxic, renewable plasticizer. The technology is already developed and patented, and the team has put in 500 hours identifying market opportunities for it. The team is utilizing NCIIA funds to take the product to market: they will interview industry and market professionals, test product formulations, develop business and operational plans, and determine the best path to market.

Orion Security LSP LLC

Lehigh University, 2006 - $16,500

This E-Team, already incorporated as Orion Security LSP LLC, is in the process of completing prototype development of their low-cost GPS location device. The company, formed in Lehigh's Integrated Product Development program, currently runs a location-based service called Findum, which provides a person's location through a cellular telephone. The user, say a parent, logs onto Findum's online application, enters their username and password, and instantly acquires the exact location of the cell phone--say a child carrying it in her pocket.

While location-based services like this represent a growing industry with several competitors on the market, the high price of location devices (from $250-$800) have prevented explosive growth. However, the team has developed a manufacturing process that allows them to sell the devices for $50-$100. The team is now perfecting that manufacturing process and designing prototypes for their three target markets: collars for pets, shoe inserts for children, and vehicle devices for business-to-business fleet management.

Chemical-free Artisanal Mining Solution

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2006 - $17,500

Of the more than thirteen million individuals in fifty-five developing countries that depend on small-scale gold mining to survive, most employ an ancient and harmful practice called "mercury amalgamation" in order to extract the gold. After panning for gold in local bodies of water, the miners pour gold-bonding mercury into their pans to form a solid paste. They wash off excess mercury into the water and boil down the paste to yield pure gold. The mercury in the water poisons the miners, the communities living downstream, and pollutes the environment. The European Union, the world's largest global exporter of mercury, will soon ban mercury exports, putting tens of millions of artisanal gold miners out of work.

This E-Team has a solution: an inexpensive (~$30), manually powered centrifugal gold extraction device. Based on industrial-size gold centrifuges, the device uses lightweight modern plastics to create a hand crank-based centrifuge capable of extracting gold with little effort and without requiring mercury.

Two competitors exist, but both of their solutions still require the use of at least some mercury.

A Cell Phone-Based Personal Computer for Developing Communities

University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 2006 - $13,500

This E-Team is looking to address the digital divide between developed and developing countries by creating a low-cost cell phone with PC-like capability. The cell phone will have a general-purpose processor, removable flash memory, external keyboard, and the ability to output to a television. The team is focusing its initial efforts on India, where demand for cell phones is growing and television access is already established. The PI has a strong relationship with Microsoft Research India and Research in Motion, and will work with them on prototype development.

There are other "smartphones" on the market with functionality similar to the E-Team's design, but all come at considerable cost ($500+). The team will try to sell its device for less than $100.

Pratt Design Incubator - SMIT (Solar Ivy)

Pratt Institute, 2006 - $14,700

This E-Team is developing Solar Ivy, a solar panel designed to resemble ivy vines. Solar Ivy consists of flexible photovoltaic foil molded to look like ivy and piezoelectric generators acting as leaves. The foil produces solar energy. The team, the first to come out of Pratt Institute's Sustainably Minded Interactive Technology (SMIT) group, has partnered with a solar foil manufacturer, DayStar Technologies, and a piezoelectric manufacturer, Face International. The team intends the product to be an aesthetically pleasing alternative to standard solar panels, and plan to target multiple markets, including commercial, residential, and the developed and developing worlds.


Since 2011, Solar Ivy has focusing on developing and commercializing its Solar Ivy product.

In 2009, SMIT exhibited Solar Ivy at the MoMa Exhibition: Design and the Elastic Mind, and Design Philadelphia, where they were commissioned to outfit a bus stop in solar ivy. People who were waiting for the bus could simply plug in their cell phone to charge their battery. Solar Ivy has been featured in a number of magazines and was a concept design for a five-star luxury hotel in Zayed Bay, Abu Dhabi. Most recently, SMIT exhibited Solar Ivy at Dwell on Design for the Designboom Kitchen Ecology: Recipes for Good Design.

More media coverage:

Novel 3D Cell Culture Device for Drug Discovery and Biopharmaceutical Production

Brown University, 2006 - $15,236

Cells grown in a laboratory have an artificial two-dimensional environment instead of the natural 3D environment, which causes them to lose many of their natural traits, including drug response and protein protection. Inaccurate data from laboratory cells costs the pharmaceutical industry to millions on false positives and drugs that don't work.

This E-Team, known as NapTek Bioscience, has developed a 3D Petri dish known as the P3 gel, which enables scientists to culture cells in 3D. It creates tissue-like spheroids that are more similar to a cell's natural environment and provides much greater control of size and geometry. It is their hope that P3 gel will advance drug discovery and production and quickly gain market share within the cell culture industry.

Pull-Out Resistant Pedicle Screw for Osteoporotic Patients

Johns Hopkins University, 2006 - $18,500

Each year, approximately 550,000 osteoporotic patients in the US suffer from compression fractures that require pedicle screws in order to reconstruct the spine. These patients are currently given pain management treatments instead of pedicle screws, however, because osteoporotic bone isn't strong enough to hold the screws in, or prevent them from falling out. This E-Team plans to solve the problem by developing a pull-out resistant pedicle screw. The novel design, based on a vertebral compression fracture treatment known as kyphoplasty, consists of a two-part screw involving a hollow capture chamber and a threaded inner screw. The hollow chamber is inserted into the vertebral body, then the inner screw is brought through the chamber into a wet cement adhesive. As the cement cures, the stickiness of the screw is enhanced, providing greater pull-out resistance.

Starlight Stoves for India

Colorado State University, 2006 - $15,000

Two and a half billion people worldwide use traditional stoves for cooking, heating and lighting, resulting in severe indoor air pollution, overuse of natural resources and numerous health problems and deaths caused by smoke. There have been attempts to introduce improved stoves that minimize air pollution and reduce biomass consumption, but commercial success has been limited due to flawed designs: the stoves have robbed users of a source of light that would otherwise be obtained from an open fire. To solve the problem, this E-Team is developing the Starlight Stove, an improved stove that increases the efficiency of burning biomass while eliminating air pollution and acting as a source of light.

The stove consists of a cast-iron plate heated by an efficiency-increasing ceramic combustion chamber. Hot gas produced by the combustion of biomass is taken out of the room through a chimney. The light source, a five-watt device located above the stove and connected by a wire, is produced by a thermoelectric generator that creates a small amount of electricity when a temperature potential exists between its hot and cold sinks. The generator also has a fan to circulate warm air throughout the room.

Malawi Treadle Pump

Washington State University, 2006 - $12,500

This E-Team is addressing the problem of agricultural water shortages in Malawi, in sub-Saharan Africa. Without irrigation, local farmers produce 200g of maize per capita, while baseline nutrition calls for 600g per person. This grant aims to further develop and refine the team's existing water pump, conceived, produced and tested between September '04 and March '06, in part with NCIIA funding. Following a visit to Malawi to test their prototype, the team optimized the design and investigated local manufacturing and distribution possibilities. They also distinguished their product from competitors by sourcing locally available parts, thereby ensuring that when pumps fail they can be repaired on-site, cheaply and quickly.


GlobaMED Devices: Global Anemia Detection & Treatment

Brown University, 2006 - $20,000

Although anemia is a highly preventable disease, it often goes undetected in the developing world due to a lack of labs for testing and the high cost of equipment. To combat the problem, this E-Team is developing AnemiCAM, a rapid, inexpensive, non-invasive method of measuring blood hemoglobin levels. The device, which can be manufactured for under $30, examines the conjunctiva (the mucous membrane lining the inner surface of the eyelid and the exposed surface of the eyeball) and allows measurements to be made in less than ten seconds and with 95% accuracy.

The team founded Corum Medical in 2006, an early stage medical instrument company focused on AnemiCAM (now called LumenI). In 2007 the company signed a license agreement with Brown University and Rhode Island Hospital that gives Corum exclusive worldwide rights to the noninvasive method of measuring hemoglobin.

A Device to Accurately Access the Epidural Space for Administration of Anesthesia

Stanford University, 2006 - $18,500

This E-Team is developing a safer, more controlled method of performing an epidural. The current technique involves the advancement of a needle into the epidural space, relying heavily on a steady hand and the ability to halt needle advancement once loss of resistance is detected. Since this is a time-consuming process with a complication rate of 5-20%, epidurals are not used as often as they could be; less than half of epidural-eligible patients actually receive one.

The team's device consists of a rotating blunt-tipped syringe attached to a flexible shaft and operated by a pump actuator equipped with a safety alert button. This design has four advantages over the traditional model: 1) the blunt tip allows the physician to dissect, instead of cut, through to the epidural space, making the procedure easier and safer; 2) the device uses rotation to create controlled advancement of the needle, relying less on a steady hand; 3) the flexible shaft minimizes the torque encountered with a rigid one-piece system; and 4) the design maintains the familiar and reliable loss-of-resistance method to detect the epidural space.

A Method to Prevent Heart Dilation and Progression to Heart Failure

Stanford University, 2006 - $20,000

Congestive heart failure is a lethal disease characterized by the inability of the heart to pump enough blood to meet the body's demands. Up to two-thirds of cases of CHF are initially caused by a heart attack, putting the cardiac wall under significant stress and triggering a series of changes that can cause the heart to enlarge. Currently there are no effective treatments for CHF, as drugs slow down but do not prevent the progression of the disease, and passive restraints to support the heart and prevent dilation are highly invasive and aimed only at individuals with end-stage CHF.

To combat these problems, this E-Team is developing a minimally invasive, polymer-based approach to physically support the heart of recent heart attack victims, preventing the heart from enlarging. The device involves the delivery of a primer and polymer that crosslink in the pericardial space around the heart. First, the heart is coated with the primer, which bonds to the heart surface. Next, the polymer is delivered to the same space and crosslinks with the primer, forming a thin elastic structure that provides physical support for the heart. The polymer will have enough elasticity to allow for proper filling and emptying of the heart, and will be biodegradable in order to provide support to the heart only during the vulnerable period immediately following a heart attack.

AID-N E-Team

University of Maryland, 2006 - $17,500

Two chronic problems currently affect hospital administration in the US: 1) monitoring patients' vital signs to ensure their safety, and 2) managing staff workload. This E-Team is looking to solve both problems by developing the Aid Network (AID-N), a wireless patient monitoring system for hospitals. AID-N consists of patent-pending low-cost wireless medical sensors, called eTags, that automate the process of monitoring vital signs. The eTags continuously transmit patient vital signs to the provider's computer (a handheld PDA style device), and generates an alarm when a patient's condition deteriorates. Beyond improving patient safety, this technology could relieve some of the workload of the medical team.

The team has formed a company, Aid Networks.

VertaChem Commercialization Proposal

Drexel University, 2006 - $16,000

In partnership with the US Army, this E-Team developed an environmentally friendly alternative to styrene. Styrene is a potentially carcinogenic petroleum derivative that has harmful effects on the environment and is highly regulated by the EPA. The team's product is a soybean oil derivative that can replace styrene in thermoset resins (raw materials used in the fiber-reinforced products industry). The soybean oil is environmentally friendly (safe and renewable), performs better than styrene, and costs less.

Dynamic Ankle-Foot Orthosis

Johns Hopkins University, 2006 - $15,126

People with ankle problems such as arthritis often wear supportive devices to help them walk. Traditionally ankle braces have been custom manufactured to meet specific patient needs, but in recent years there has been a movement toward prefabricated devices. While current prefabricated devices are capable of completely supporting the ankle, they often suffer from a lack of durability: the junction between the footplate and the upper support fails. Due to the high failure rates of existing products, physicians have voiced a need for a structurally sound and supportive ankle brace.

This E-Team is hoping to fill the need by designing a brace that incorporates the idea of recoil energy. The design includes a one-piece "sock" structure to allow for a greater fitting range, a resilient carbon-fiber foot-shin plate to provide the lever action that alleviates pressure at the ankle during walking, and stress distribution, particularly around the foot-plate strut joint that typically fails.

A Novel Hydrogel Microfiber for Small Diameter Vascular Grafts

Johns Hopkins University, 2006 - $19,900

Every year more than 500,000 coronary artery bypass surgeries are performed worldwide. While autografting (taking tissue from one part of the body and moving it to another) is the preferred technique, there are limitations: autografts cannot be obtained multiple times from one patient, and they fail when the patient lacks healthy blood vessels. Synthetic polymers are used in cases of weak blood vessels, but not when making small diameter vascular grafts (less than five mm) due to risks of stenosis (abnormal narrowing of a bodily canal or passageway), and thrombosis (a clot of coagulated blood attached at the site of formation in a blood vessel).

To fill the need for small diameter vascular grafts for people with weak blood vessels, this E-Team is developing the Hydrogel Microfiber, a hollow, polymeric cylinder in which living endothelial cells can be encapsulated. Concentric layers can be added to this fiber, each containing its own cell population. Once implanted in the patient, the cells in the fiber grow over time and eventually become fully integrated with the vessel wall.

Rotavirus Vaccination via Oral Thin Film Delivery

Johns Hopkins University, 2006 - $16,000

Rotavirus, a disease affecting children age five and younger, kills 600,000 people every year in the developing world. The virus infects the villi of the small intestines, leading to severe diarrhea, vomiting, high fever and dehydration. While rotavirus vaccines exist, they are currently delivered only in liquid form in a syringe, making the vaccine difficult to administer to infants and requiring expensive refrigeration to maintain. Building on thin film technology such as the popular Listerine Breath Strips, this E-Team is developing a method of delivering a rotavirus vaccine orally, on thin film. The team believes this design will have many advantages over current syringe-based methods, including simplifying storage and distribution due to the film's light weight and ability to be stored without refrigeration, and easier delivery to infants.

Above photo by Will Kirk.


Solar Water Purification Bottles With Dye Indicator for Developing Countries

University of Massachusetts, Lowell, $17,500

Almost one billion people worldwide do not have access to safe drinking water, most of them in the developing world. To combat the problem, this E-Team is developing a water purification process in which contaminated water is put into a recycled plastic bottle coated with titanium dioxide and placed in the sun for several hours. This kills not only bacteria but other harmful substances such as arsenic and herbicides.

The team received a 2006 NCIIA grant to test this method and to develop a dye that turns clear when the water is fully disinfected and ready to use. They are now looking to bring the product to market by setting up microenterprises in villages in the Peruvian Andes and by partnering with a large bottled water company for manufacturing the bottles for sale.

Method to Close Laparoscopic Fascial Trocar Sites

Stanford University, 2007 - $15,820

Laparoscopic surgery, also called minimally invasive surgery, is a surgical technique in which operations in the abdomen are performed through small incisions (usually 0.5-1.5 cm), as compared to the larger incisions common in traditional surgical procedures. The key element in laparoscopic surgery is the use of a telescopic rod/lens system, usually connected to a video camera, called a laparoscope. Using carbon dioxide, the abdomen is blown up like a balloon, elevating the abdominal wall above the internal organs and giving the surgeon room to operate. This approach has a number of advantages, including reduced blood loss, which means less likelihood of needing a blood transfusion; a smaller incision, which means shorter recovery time; and less pain, which equals less pain medication needed.

The approach isn't without drawbacks, however, as one of the most frustrating and time-consuming parts of the surgery is closing the small port sites in the abdominal wall that are made when accessing the operative site. If the port sites are closed improperly, the patient is at increased risk of hernia or bowel problems, requiring further treatment. This E-Team has developed a solution to automatically, safely and reliably close the port sites. The 10mm device has two opposing wings that open when placed into a port. An indicator on the device alerts the surgeon when the wings are in their final position, and the surgeon locks the device into position by pushing a plunger that drives two flexible needles from the shaft into the wings. The surgeon then releases the wings and pulls out the device, leaving a looped suture around the port site opening.


2009/10 updates

The team has formed the company SurgSolutions.


Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2007 - $19,930

Though many of the world's worst diseases can be treated with drugs, the problem of adherence--patients correctly following the timing and dosage of long, complex prescriptions--remains a major challenge in public health, especially in the developing world. To combat the problem, this E-Team has created uBox, a cheap, rugged, "smart" pillbox designed for rural communities in the developing world.

UBox is a palm-sized plastic container with sixteen compartments. The user rotates the top handle clockwise to expose a new compartment, and pulls down a small lid at the base of the device to retrieve medication. A simple electronic timer records each time the lid is lowered to remove pills, creating a log of when the patient takes the medication. Further, healthcare workers who are assigned to ensure patients take their pills are given a USB-like modified audio plug and insert it into a port on top of the uBox when visiting a patient. The uBox records the time and date of this action, allowing for healthcare worker tracking as well.

2011 Update

The team has formed Innovators In Health, Inc., a 501c3 working actively in eradicating TB. IIH runs two successful programs in India. In Delhi its biometric technology developed with Microsoft Research and Operation ASHA is now in a 600-700 patient trial. In Bihar, it works with India's national TB program and the Government of Bihar to improve access to TB for 50,000 rural residents in 19 villages.

Second product:
Innovators In Health has started development of a biometrics platform called uPrint, which is now in a 700 patient trial in Delhi. The business model is that government agencies pay IIH for use of IIH technology.

Development of a Prosthetic Vein Valve

Georgia Institute of Technology, 2007 - $15,650

Over seven million Americans suffer from Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI), a painful and debilitating disease that affects veins in the lower extremities. Veins in the legs have one-way valves that usually function to prevent blood from pooling at the feet, but malfunctioning valves can cause leg swelling, ulcerations, varicose veins, deep vein thrombosis, and pulmonary embolism, which can be fatal. Current treatments for CVI include anti-coagulant drugs, bed-rest and compressive legwear, but these target the symptoms of the disease rather than the cause. The standard surgical treatment is valve transplantation, but it's difficult to find suitable donor valves, and the surgery is highly invasive.

This E-Team has fabricated a prosthetic vein valve that can be implanted in a lower-risk, minimally invasive procedure. The valve is flexible, biocompatible, does not form blood clots, and can be manufactured cheaply. The team has shown that the valve is operationally functional; they are now performing pre-clinical tests in preparation for FDA approval.


Dartmouth College, 2007 - $18,466

According to the World Health Organization, 25% of the medicines sold in the developing world are inauthentic copies containing little or no active ingredients. When fake drugs are laced with lethal ingredients they can lead to mass fatalities, as was the case in a 1995 outbreak of false meningitis vaccine in Niger that killed 195,00 people. To fight the problem, this E-Team is developing an SMS protocol called UPAP. UPAP is a labeling system for drug manufacturers that allows customers to use their cell phones to text message covert, one-time alphanumeric codes to the drug company's back-end database for verification. The system verifies whether or not the drug is genuine, allowing the customer to get information on what they're buying right at the pharmacy.

A number of competing drug-verification technologies exist, such as RFID and colorimetric/holographic signatures, but none combine UPAP's low cost and high effectiveness. The team plans to focus initially on Ghana, where 40% of the drugs are counterfeit.

Update: a member of the original team has incorporated the venture as Sproxil, which has several partners, including the World Economic Forum Technology Pioneers Program, Ashoka, Nokia, and a number of telecoms carriers and pharmaceutical regulators in Ghana, Nigeria, and India.

Extremely-Low Frequency Seismic Detector - ELF-SD

Virginia Military Institute, 2007 - $12,390

This E-Team is developing the Extremely Low Frequency Seismic Detector (ELF-SD), a device designed to allow miners to communicate with rescuers on the surface in the event of a mine collapse. The device consists of an underground, battery-powered transmitter, a portable receiver, and custom software installed on a laptop. When a disaster occurs, ELF-SD transmitters located in predetermined safe rooms within the mines will send low frequency signals through the earth. By correlating the signals from these transmitters with specific safe rooms, rescue officials will get precise data on the location and condition of the workers, making rescue easier and possibly saving lives.

A number of miner tracking and mine communication products are on the market, but all depend in some way on an electronic network, which a mine collapse would obstruct and disable. The team believes their competitive advantage lies in the fact that their system would continue to function in the event of a collapse.

Update: Technology is licensed (July, 2011). The ELF team successfully negotiated a license with Strata Products Worldwide, LLC, to commercialize a low-frequency seismic detector that will enable miners trapped up to 2,000 feet underground to be located in a matter of hours. U.S. Mining companies have a legal mandate to retrofit all of their life refuge chambers starting in 2013, and as a result, the VMI device will soon make its way into almost every mine in the U.S.

Visit the ELF team's site and listen to a NPR broadcast on the project.

Expandable Fusion Cage

Johns Hopkins University, 2007 - $17,000

Spinal fusion is a surgical procedure in which two or more vertebrae are fused together to relieve pain stemming from degenerative disc disease, spinal fractures, and other sources of back pain. The preferred surgical method is Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF), where the disc is removed through an incision over the lumbar spine and a structural titanium cage and bone graft are inserted in its place. While this approach is less invasive than others and leads to lower trauma and complication rates, the small space in which to work and the vulnerability of local nerves make the surgery time-consuming and difficult to perform. Further, traditional cages have fixed dimensions and must be coaxed into the spine, possibly causing nerve damage.

This E-Team is developing a new approach to the procedure with an expandable fusion cage. The flexible titanium cage will be compressed during insertion and expanded during the positioning phase of the procedure. When the device is fit into the spine, a balloon will be inflated, expanding the cage to the exact size necessary and filling in all available space.

A Dynamic-Response Sling System for the Treatment of Stress Urinary Incontinence

Stanford University, 2007 - $16,550

Urinary incontinence is a common, often embarrassing condition affecting millions of Americans. The most common form of the condition is Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI), the involuntary leakage of urine when sneezing, coughing, or otherwise exerting yourself. While current surgical treatments are effective for most women with SUI, this E-Team believes there is a need for a reliable, minimally invasive treatment for patients with Intrinsic Sphinteric Deficiency (ISD), in which the urethra functions poorly despite normal anatomical support. Given the fact that all male cases of SUI are caused by ISD, the greatest unmet need lies in the male market.

The team has filed a provisional patent and developed an alpha prototype. With NCIIA funding the team will design and refine more prototypes, file for a full patent, and develop a business plan and marketing strategy.

Greensulate (Ecovative)

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2007 - $15,815

Household energy use accounts for one-fifth of the total energy consumed annually in the US. Better insulation would lead to a reduction in energy consumption, but today's most popular forms of insulation have significant drawbacks in the form of health risks, high cost, and large environmental footprints.

This E-Team developed Greensulate, an environmentally friendly home insulation material. Greensulate is a composite board made up of insulating particles suspended in a matrix of mycelium-growth-stage mushroom cells. This mushroom-based insulation is biodegradable, low cost, produces no pollution in the manufacturing process, and insulates as well as competing products.

They've since focused on developing and selling Ecocradle, a green alternative to polystyrene/Styrofoam packaging.

Update: the team is now incorporated as Ecovative Design. The company won 500,000 euros at Picnic Green Challenge 2008, the world's premier green ideas conference, in Amsterdam, received SBIR Phase I funding from the EPA, and won the DoE's Renewable Energy Laboratory's Clean Energy Venture Awards. Click here to visit their website.


E-Team for Carbon Nanotube Development

Taylor University, 2007 - $20,000

A carbon nanotube is a one-atom-thick sheet of graphite rolled up into a seamless cylinder with a diameter on the order of a nanometer. The unique molecular structure and high tensile strength of these tubes can potentially be used to make extremely strong and lightweight building materials (vehicle frames and more) and their ability to conduct heat also makes them ideal for superconductor electrical wiring. The drawback at the moment is their expense: current manufacturing processes create carbon nanotubes for about $100 per gram, too expensive for mass production. The challenge is to reduce production costs to a level where the tubes can become economically viable.

This E-Team, incorporated as Tiergan Technologies LLC, believes it can meet the challenge with a production process that creates nanotubes for nine cents per gram. Focusing on single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWNTs), the team uses a method that utilizes ethanol as the carbon feedstock. While ethanol is more expensive than the standard carbon monoxide feedstock, it operates at much lower temperatures and is easier to scale up. The ethanol-based process allows for significant reduction in production cost.

Plastic Microneedles for Drug Delivery

Georgia Institute of Technology, 2007 - $20,000

Over sixteen billion hypodermic needle injections are given annually in developing countries, but, due to frequent needle reuse and inappropriate disposal, half of the injections are deemed unsafe. Each year, millions of new cases of hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV are introduced in this way. In 1999 the WHO mandated that all conventional syringes used in its programs be replaced by auto-disable (A-D) needles that make reuse impossible, but this has not yet happened.

To combat the problem, this E-Team is developing an entirely new system of drug delivery based on plastic microneedles. The needles, which are about .5 mm long and feel like sandpaper on the skin of the patient, are made from bio-compatible, tough, and recyclable polymers. The drug delivery system consists of a flexible container (about the size of a fingertip) that contains the drug to be delivered, and, underneath, an array of microneedles that sits on the patient's skin. The drug seeps through the needles into the skin, and the device is put into recycling.

Ultrasound-Guided Noninvasive Measurement of Central Venous Pressure

Johns Hopkins University, 2007 - $12,220

Central Venous Pressure (CVP) is the pressure of blood in the thoracic vena cava, near the right atrium of the heart. CVP reflects the amount of blood returning to the heart and the ability of the heart to pump the blood into the arterial system, and is a key parameter used in diagnosing serious conditions like heart failure and monitoring patient fluid levels. Currently the only method of accurately measuring CVP involves surgically inserting a catheter through a major vein, which is costly, highly invasive, and can lead to complications. For these reasons, CVP measurements are usually only taken for critical patients, even though early detection could help treat conditions like congestive heart failure.

This E-Team is developing a small handheld device, called cVein, that provides a noninvasive and accurate method of measuring CVP. Using an ultrasound machine to visualize the internal jugular (IJ) vein, the operator applies pressure to the vein with cVein. The device records the pressure required to collapse the IJ and displays the reading to the operator. This quick and noninvasive measurement method could be used in emergency or primary care settings, allowing for earlier diagnosis of problems.

Porous Concrete Water Filtration: New Technology for Developing Countries

University of Alabama, 2007 - $19,400

It is well known that over 1.1 billion people in the world lack access to safe drinking water. Point-of-use (POU) drinking water treatment technologies have the potential to provide clean drinking water for those without, but are limited in their use in developing nations by their cost, durability, microbiological effectiveness, maintenance, and general usability. One promising technology is porous ceramic filtration, which provides an effective barrier against microbial pathogens in water and has recorded significant health gains in users versus non-users. The filter is, however, susceptible to breakage over time (2% per month in a daily household), is expensive to make where fuel to fire the kilns is scarce, and isn't feasible where clay isn't locally available.

This E-Team aims to build on the success of ceramic filtration by substituting the porous ceramic filter body with porous concrete, a more durable, more widely available, and less energy-intensive product.

Buzby Networks

Pennsylvania State University, 2007 - $18,000

The Buzby Networks team is creating a wireless network solution for the healthcare industry, particularly nursing homes. The team's system will allow for the wireless tracking of patients, equipment, and personnel.

The need for Buzby's network comes primarily from the tendency of some nursing home patients to wander off, escape, and put themselves and others in danger. Buzby Networks believes its wireless technology will provide peace of mind to families and staff.

Enhanced Bio-morphic Helmet

Michigan Technological University, 2007 - $15,500

Today's standard football helmet design includes a hard outer shell, a protective foam layer, and a comfort foam layer resting on the head. An impact occurring directly to the hard shell is distributed over the padding, which deforms in compression. This works well for direct impacts, protecting against concussion, but doesn't perform as well for indirect or rotational impacts, since the padding is relatively stiff with respect to shear forces.

This E-Team is developing the Enhanced Bio-morphic Helmet (EBM), an improved helmet better able to withstand indirect impacts. The design of the EBM imitates the protection system of the human brain, scalp, skull and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). The skull is simulated with a composite sandwich shell, the scalp by silicone gel sandwiched between the outer and inner wall of the shell, and the CSF by a soft padding system underneath the inner wall.

A Novel, Robust Device to Prevent Fetal Death During Labor & Delivery

Stanford University, 2007 - $20,000

It is standard practice in the US to monitor a mother and fetus during the labor and delivery process. However, the reliability and user-friendliness of current monitoring devices is questionable: the two sensors (fetal heart rate and contraction) must be strapped tightly to the woman's abdomen, require continual adjustment by nursing staff, limit mobility, and interfere with fetal monitoring during placement of an epidural.

This E-Team is developing a new approach to fetal monitoring. The team's solution consists of disposable adhesive patches placed on the mother's abdomen. The heart rate and contraction sensors are miniaturized and incorporated into the patches themselves. Once the patches are placed, they will not need adjustment by nurses, will not interfere with epidural placement, will allow the mother to move around more freely, and will provide more reliable data.

Real-Time, High-Accuracy 3D Imaging System

Catholic University of America, 2007 - $14,500

This E-Team is working to improve on current 3D medical imaging techniques by increasing their accuracy, field of view, speed and complexity, while at the same time lowering cost. Using advanced algorithms, the team has achieved preliminary results; this grant will help further develop their technique and build a prototype.

The 3D imaging market includes image construction of human body parts and organs, vision systems for tracking, and many other applications in the camera and entertainment industries as well as the military. The team's workplan includes improvement and optimization of techniques, prototyping, and assessment and final improvements.

Therapeutic Systems

University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 2007 - $16,500

Deep Pressure Touch Stimulation (DPTS) is a method of treating people with mental illness that involves applying firm pressure to the chest, much like the feeling of a hug. DPTS is most often applied passively, using simple weighted vests and toys. This E-Team is developing a DPTS system with more user control: the inflatable system can be inserted into any off-the-shelf vest and can safely apply a range of pressure, helping people cope with their anxiety. The team is also looking into developing a weighted blanket for people with chronic sleep problems.

For the vest, the team is targeting the parents and caregivers of children with autism and ADHD. They have partnered with Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Massachusetts and a local preschool for kids with mental illness, developed an alpha prototype, conducted market research, secured a provisional patent, and written a business plan. With this grant the team will develop and test a beta prototype and continue business development.


Boston Herald feature series:


Digital Maze Games

Northeastern University, 2007 - $15,900

The Digital Maze (DM) is a software game that challenges students with multiple choice questions in order to discover the maze exit. DM can be used in class or for homework and can be applied to disciplines as diverse as medicine, law and science. The team sees the game as a textbook supplement targeted to college professors, textbook authors and academic publishers.

The team believes that current games rely too heavily on repetition and memorization, while DM relies on a more cognitive learning process, creating a more intense gaming environment.

Removing Arsenic from Contaminated Drinking Water in Rural Bangladesh

University of California, Berkeley, 2007 - $20,000

In Bangladesh, naturally occurring arsenic poisons shallow drinking wells, exposing 30-70 million Bangladeshis to dangerously high levels of the toxin. Most of the people affected by arsenic are among the world’s poorest. To combat the problem, this team from UC Berkeley is developing ARUBA (Arsenic Removal Using Bottom Ash), a simple technology that effectively and affordably removes arsenic from drinking water. The team is partnered with the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC), the largest NGO in Bangladesh.

The top three objectives of this grant are: (1) Technical: scale up the production of ARUBA to greater than 500g/day, transfer the knowledge required to manufacture ARUBA to collaborators in Bangladesh, and construct a bench-top, proof-of-concept prototype than can be tested in Bangladesh in summer 2008; (2) Socioeconomic: completion of a village economic assessment through creation of a survey which will be administered in Bangladesh in summer 2008; (3) Business: quantify market size and opportunities for profitability, and continue to work towards ARUBA technology licensing.

Portable Negative Pressure Ventilation Device

Johns Hopkins University, 2008 - $17,562

Negative Pressure Ventilation (NPV) is the mechanism by which bodies breath naturally; air passively flows into the lungs due to the negative pressure of the diaphragm movement. This team's idea is to address the problem of increased mortality due to the detrimental effects of Positive Pressure Ventilation (PPV), when paramedics manually force air into the lungs using a bag valve mask. PPV can lead to longer hospital discharge times.

The team developed a prototype that electronically stimulates the phrenic nerve in the neck, forcing the diaphragm to take in air. Their prototype includes a neck electrode patch to deliver pulses to the phrenic nerve, a feedback system to determine if the patient is breathing, a stimulation unit that is battery powered and rechargeable, and software for a tablet PC to control the stimulation and the breathing rate.

Small Engines Enterprise

Colorado State University, 2008 - $15,300

The successful innovation of the treadle pump and its variations has increased the incomes of farmers earning less than one dollar a day in developing countries. Yet the average treadle pump lifts only 3-5m of water at 1 liter/second, requiring a farmer to operate the pump for 10-14 hours per day to irrigate half an acre. Diesel engines pump water much faster than that, but are expensive, heavy, and cost too much to run and maintain.

This E-Team is developing a one-horsepower biodiesel (or straight vegetable oil) engine that meets the water pumping and electricity generation needs of small and marginal farmers in the developing world, increasing their productivity and their income. The team has partnered with IDE, SELCO and the Energy and Engines Conversion Lab (EECL) at CSU to develop and distribute the engine. They will initially use IDE's distribution network in India, Bangladesh and Ethiopia.


Disposable Robot De-mining

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2008 - $13,420

Worldwide, 2,000 people each month are killed or maimed by land mines. Humanitarian de-mining projects are underway, and fall into two categories, manual and mechanical. Manual de-mining involves a person in protective gear prodding the ground for hours, and while effective, it is very slow and can be dangerous. Mechanical de-mining involves the use of robots to explode mines, but current robots are either very expensive ($500,000) or are unproven and not widely implemented.

This E-Team is developing a low-cost, disposable robot de-miner. Reasoning that the high cost of most robot de-miners comes from the fact that they are built for repeated detonations, and therefore need to be very sturdy, the team's robot is lower-tech, consisting of spike rollers, a steering mechanism, and a pressure concentrator to detonate the mine. The idea is to deploy a "swarm" of $50 one-shot robots to clear a minefield. The team has developed an alpha prototype.

Low Cost Ventilator for Use in Developing Nations and Large Scale Disasters (Onebreath)

Stanford University, 2008 - $19,000

This E-Team is developing a low-cost ventilator - named Onebreath - for two distinct purposes: emergency readiness in developed countries and general use in developing countries. The state of preparedness of the US healthcare system for an influenza epidemic has been recently assessed, and it was determined that the nation's hospitals will not have enough ventilators to meet the anticipated demand (more than 740,000 would be needed; the US has 105,000). Meanwhile, in developing countries, millions die each year from lack of access to a common ventilator. 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.


PneumoniaCheck: A New Specimen Collection Device

Georgia Institute of Technology, 2008 - $18,500

Although pneumonia is a common disease that affects 1.4 million Americans annually, diagnosing its cause can still be difficult. Pneumonia can be caused by a large variety of viral and bacterial pathogens, and traditional pneumonia diagnostic methods are limited, primarily because they cannot reliably collect a high quality specimen from the lower respiratory tract, where the disease originates.


In order to improve pneumonia diagnosis, this E-Team has developed the PneumoniaCheck, a handheld, tubular device that consistently obtains samples from the lower respiratory tract by separating the air as the patient exhales/coughs. Using fluid mechanics, the anatomic dead space volume can be separated from the alveolar (lower lung) breath, where the pathogens reside. This makes for an effective and inexpensive separation device that does not use electronics, a power source, or machined flow-valves.


In Feb 2011, the GIT team launched a new startup, MD Innovate Inc., to commercialize PneumoniaCheck.


Enabling Solar Disinfection of Turbid Water by the World's Rural Poor

Illinois Institute of Technology, 2008 - $6,000

SODIS is a water disinfection technique that uses UV radiation to kill microorganisms in the water. Small amounts of contaminated water are put into transparent plastic bottles and exposed to full sunlight for six hours, killing microorganisms through radiation and high temperatures. While the SODIS method has gained some traction in the developing world, it has two major limitations: it cannot disinfect turbid (murky) water, and it does not remove organic chemical contaminants such as pesticides and fertilizers.

This E-Team is developing a modification to the SODIS system. Their design consists of two buckets stacked on top of each other, with the first bucket containing layers of gravel, sand, and crushed charcoal, and the second bucket serving as a storage container. The team tested the design and showed that it significantly reduces both the turbidity of the water and the levels of microorganisms, pesticides, and fertilizer components.

Dizziness Diagnostic Device (D3)

Johns Hopkins University, 2008 - $17,000

This E-Team is developing a motorized head-moving device that effectively diagnoses dizziness. Dizziness is the number one medical complaint among the elderly and the third most frequent complaint that brings people to primary care and emergency rooms. Dizziness often leads to falls, which can be fatal or cause serious bodily injury, and result in billions of dollars in health care fees. While many causes of dizziness are treatable, current diagnostic techniques are complicated, costly, and uncomfortable for patients.

The team's device, D3, is simple, user-friendly, and reliable. The patient wears a helmet and places a "bite bar" in their mouth that has been molded to their dentition. A video camera monitors eye rotation responses while head is rotated.

Gallbladder Stent Insertion Regulator

University of Virginia, 2008 - $15,200

Approximately 40,000 patients per year that suffer from pancreatico-biliary disease receive Self-Expanding Metal Stents (SEMS) to alleviate pain. SEMS placement is normally a 30-60 minute outpatient procedure that involves passing an endoscope through the patient's mouth and navigating through the stomach to the entrance of the biliary duct. The insertion procedure can be complicated, however, and the stent can be easily misplaced, leading to infection, morbidity, and hospital admission.

This E-Team is developing a device to help make SEMS procedures easier. The device is an after-market addition to the existing SEMS catheter that acts like a shock absorber, slowing any sudden increases in insertional speed and giving the technician enough time to retract the inner catheter before SEMS misplacement occurs.


University of Michigan, 2008 - $16,710

This E-Team is developing the NovaPatch, a new drug delivery patch that will enable the transmission of "macromolecule" drugs (such as insulin, protein and vaccines) through the skin. Currently, passive diffusion patches are used to deliver fewer than twenty types of drugs because existing skin patches do not work for macromolecule drugs. NovaPatch will enable diffusion of large molecule drugs by temporarily opening windows in the walls of the skin to increase skin permeability, effectively enabling the drugs to reach the body. The process is pain-free and invisible to the eye.

Malawi Water Cycle (Developing World Technologies)

Washington State University, 2008 - $18,000

WaterCycle has developed a human-powered pumping solution to address the need for effective and inexpensive ways to irrigate crops. The team is marketing the technology through their company, Developing World Technologies.


Building on a 2006 NCIIA E-Team grant, this team is continuing to develop irrigation systems for farmers in Malawi. The team, now called WaterCycle, is developing two distinct systems: a hand-powered water pump and a bicycle-powered water pump. Both produce higher flow rates than standard treadle pumps (decreasing time spent pumping) and are easily transportable, rugged, and inexpensive. The designs are currently being tested in Malawi.


Uterine Atony Device Design Team

University of Virginia, 2008 - $16,100

This E-Team is developing a device to treat uterine atony, the failure of the uterus to contract after a c-section birth, which can lead to excessive blood loss, hysterectomy and (sometimes) death. While there are a wide array of treatments for uterine atony (manual stimulation, drug therapy, surgery, medical devices), they aren't particularly effective and their cost and complexity often precludes their use outside western hospitals. The team's simple mechanical device is a clamp that simulates manual stimulation more effectively by compressing the uterus, suppressing hemorrhaging. The clamp clicks into one of three settings, each corresponding to different levels of pressure.

The Negative X-ray Rapid System

Johns Hopkins University, 2008 - $16,500

The Negative X-ray Rapid System is a device that utilizes software to detect retained foreign bodies (RFBs) in post-surgical x-rays. RFBs--surgical instruments left inside the patient's body after surgery--can cause medical complications, result in death in up to 35% of cases, and almost always require a second operation to remove the forgotten item. Right now, the process of obtaining and analyzing post-surgical x-rays is laborious and expensive. The Negative X-ray Rapid System will dramatically reduce the resources needed to obtain a negative x-ray without compromising accuracy.

Solar Lighting Systems for Remote Rural Communities

Cooper Union, 2008 - $18,500

In 2006, Cooper Union began working with rural communities in northern Ghana on a solar lantern project. They have made steady progress since then, developing several generations of prototypes. Field trials began in June 2007, with the ultimate goal of creating an affordable, solar-powered lantern made from local materials and sold by local entrepreneurs.

This grant further supported the project. Students traveled to Ghana in summer of 2008 and continued developing prototypes of lanterns, charging stations, and a pilot production assembly line.


Endurance Rhythm

Stanford University, 2008 - $16,700

Every year, 10-20% of all pacemaker and implantable cardiac device (ICD) surgeries are replacements: the batteries fail, necessitating replacement of the entire device. This is an extra expense and surgical risk that could be avoided if the batteries lasted longer. To that end, this E-Team is developing a microgenerator consisting of a moving magnet and coil located within the tips of existing pacemakers' wire leads attached to the heart wall. The device will harvest the energy generated by the movement of the wall when the heart beats, thereby extending the life of the battery.

Pico-Hydropower Franchising: A Test Bed in Rural Honduras

Baylor University, 2007

Many poor villages in developing countries are located in isolated mountainous areas without access to grid-based electric power. Without access to electricity, villagers burn a variety of fuels for energy, which can lead to respiratory disease and environmental degradation. At the same time, a number of these villages have nearby streams that represent a considerable untapped natural resource for energy creation. This project seeks to take advantage of those streams, creating village-level pico-hydro systems that harness the small mountain streams to produce enough energy to serve the villages.

The team has developed and installed several pico-hydro systems in remote villages in Honduras. The team has replicated the process and made the pico-hydro systems sustainable by building them into community-owned businesses. Specifically, the grant allowed for the development of business plans for two types of companies: franchised power-producing operations in rural villages (villagers running the pico-hydro systems), and system design companies located in nearby urban centers.






Intelligent Mobility: Re-Cycling to Build Wheelchairs

California Institute of Technology, 2007 - $19,000

There are approximately twenty million people in the developing world who require a wheelchair to be mobile, but only one percent of those people actually have their own chairs. Even these chairs are second-hand most of the time and aren't suited to the rugged, off-road terrain often found in developing countries. As a result, many disabled people rely on their family members for support or resort to begging in order to live.To combat the problem, this team has founded a non-profit, Intelligent Mobility, to produce and distribute safe, durable, and affordable wheelchairs made primarily from old bicycles. The pedal axles on the bike are converted to rear-wheel axles on the chair, the pedals themselves are used for both the footrests and front caster assembly, the x-brace is cut from the metal on the back end of the bike frame, and the handle bars are used as push handles. The team believes this design makes for a less expensive, more durable, and more appropriate wheelchair for the developing world. It also takes less time to make than a standard wheelchair--about one-sixth of the current production time.

University of California, Davis Program for International Energy Technologies (PIET)

University of California-Davis, 2008 - $47,500.00

For this project, the UC Davis Energy Efficiency Center (EEC) and Center for Entrepreneurship are creating the Program for International Energy Technologies (PIET), an interdisciplinary program focusing on getting low-cost, clean energy, and energy efficient solutions into the market in developing countries. The primary goals of the program include: 1) educating and engaging UC Davis students in energy-related issues in developing countries; 2) developing interdisciplinary student E-Teams to create, design, and distribute sustainable energy products and programs; and 3) bridging the gap between the need, existing technologies, and the market by creating dissemination strategies for appropriate energy technologies in developing countries.

Enabling Student Innovation in Biomedical Engineering: Development of a Graduate Level Innovative Design Class

Marshall University - $36,500

This grant will help expand a pilot program in a graduate-level biomedical engineering course by offering additional resources to design teams: equipment, materials, supplies, prototyping funds, and expert lecturers and consultants. During this year-long class, students are completely responsible for idea generation, prototype development and commercialization planning. They are exposed to an entrepreneurial environment and gain entrepreneurial skills not traditionally taught or integrated into university coursework.

A Multi-disciplinary, Multi-level Innovation-team Course

North Dakota State University-Main Campus, 2008 - $9,000.00

This project supports a course focused on micro-manufacturing innovation in the field of medical and dental products. The course could be expanded to become a compilation of offerings with different technological emphases but a similar structure and innovation-centered context. All the resulting courses would: 1) be open to students majoring in any subject relevant to the topic of the innovation, and would also be made available to students attending NDSU's global partner institutions and students within the Tri-college network in the region; 2) create an enabling and sustainable framework for innovation teams to secure resources through partnerships with industrial organizations and private entrepreneurs, as well as through grants from governmental and foundation resources; and 3) potentially serve as departmental electives and have course credit hours fulfill graduation requirements.

Visualization in Design and Entrepreneurial Endeavors

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2008 - $6,500.00

This project builds upon a well established, entrepreneurial-focused engineering program at RPI. Specifically, the grant supports the creation of teaching modules will take students' visualization skills to a professional level, enhancing their ability to communicate complex ideas. These advanced visualization skills are critical to innovation because they (1) increase creativity in problem solving by allowing students to visualize various solutions, and (2) improve communication of design ideas, especially to external sponsors.

While RPI has a solid reputation of harvesting students with strong vision and technical skills, the students' visual skills are generally less sophisticated compared to professionals. The teaching modules will bring students' visualization skills in line with their aptitude for creative thinking, engineering, social analysis, and entrepreneurial planning. With professional-level visualization skills, RPI students will be able to compete with the best, allowing them to communicate their innovations to a wider audience.

Profile: Rotavirus Vaccination via Oral Thin Film Delivery

Rotavirus, a disease affecting children age five and younger, kills 600,000 people every year in the developing world. The virus infects the villi of the small intestines, leading to severe diarrhea, vomiting, high fever and dehydration. While rotavirus vaccines exist, they are currently delivered only in liquid form in a syringe, making the vaccine difficult to administer to infants and requiring expensive refrigeration to maintain. Building on thin film technology such as the popular Listerine Breath Strips, this E-Team is developing a method of delivering a rotavirus vaccine orally, on thin film. The team believes this design will have many advantages over current syringe-based methods, including simplifying storage and distribution due to the film’s light weight and ability to be stored without refrigeration, and easier delivery to infants.

GlobalResolve: Development of a Sustainable Gelfuel Business in Rural Ghana

University of Idaho

Proposal Summary: This proposal is a continuation of a sustainable Vision grant awarded to ASU last year to design and build an ethanol gelfuel manufacturing plant. ASU now proposes to partner with the Kumasi Institute of Technology, Energy and Environment, the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and the village chief and elders in Domeabra, Ghana to begin developing the gelfuel industry. This ASU proposal seeks to 1) study the market and monitor the acceptance and market penetration of gelfuel in Domeabra and Kumasi; 2) develop ultra low-cost stoves designed to work with gelfuel that will be produced in Domeabra; and 3) help Domeabra make a supply chain for raw materials and marketing/distribution of the gelfuel and stoves. Anticipated Outcome of Project: The establishment of a supply chain for the raw materials and the marketing and distribution of gel fuel and low cost stoves. New jobs and revenue streams for Ghanaian entrepreneurs and a reduced dependence on wood burning stoves. Why Project Should be Funded: The project has made significant technical advances, but more remains to be done in order to launch a sustainable venture. If successful, this program could significantly reduce indoor pollution and resulting respiratory health problems. Use of Funds: Funding is requested for stipends, prototyping, travel expenses and indirect costs.

The Four Directions Program

Carnegie Mellon University

The Four Directions Program is focused on sustainable entrepreneurship and venture development for Native American students and others at Arizona State University. E-Teams develop business plans for tribal-based ventures emphasizing sustainability, and are encouraged to submit their proposals to NCIIA and seek support from other Arizona institutions

E-Team Workshop Series and Phase 0 Seed Fund Program

Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus

This project will help form E-Teams by creating hands-on project experiences for students from various disciplines. A series of three "E-workshops" will be held, in which professors and guest speakers will introduce and educate students on the process of developing an idea, performing market research, and creating business plans. At the end of the workshop series, E-Teams will compete for $1,000 in seed funding

Development of a Prosthetic Vein Valve

Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering

Over seven million Americans suffer from Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI), a painful and debilitating disease that affects veins in the lower extremities. Veins in the legs have one-way valves that usually function to prevent blood from pooling at the feet, but malfunctioning valves can cause leg swelling, ulcerations, varicose veins, deep vein thrombosis, and pulmonary embolism, which can be fatal. Current treatments for CVI include anti-coagulant drugs, bed-rest and compressive legwear, but these target the symptoms of the disease rather than the cause. The standard surgical treatment is valve transplantation, but it’s difficult to find suitable donor valves, and the surgery is highly invasive.

This E-Team has fabricated a prosthetic vein valve that can be implanted in a lower-risk, minimally invasive procedure. The valve is flexible, biocompatible, does not form blood clots, and can be manufactured cheaply. The team has shown that the valve is operationally functional; they are now looking for funding to perform pre-clinical tests on sheep in preparation for FDA approval. A team of MBA students will write a business plan as well

Intelligent Ground and Structural Monitoring System

University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 2007 - $14,600

The best way to monitor the condition of load-bearing structures (bridges, tunnels, earthen dams, and levees) is to install sensors to measure things like movement, vibration, and water saturation. A typical instrumentation set-up uses a number of individual sensors to monitor each different parameter at each different location. This can become costly and inefficient, however, if many parameters need to be measured at once.

This team, now incorporated as Condition Engineering, is developing a solution with the Intelligent Ground Condition Monitoring System (IGCMS), sensor technology that can assess multiple parameters simultaneously. The IGCMS provides detailed information regarding structural stability while reducing the number overall number of sensors. The device consists of a sensor driver attached to a sensor rope. The rope is flexible like a garden hose and takes measurements all along its length. Sold by the foot, the rope could be used as a stand-alone device or in groups of tens, hundreds or thousands to provide a widespread monitoring system.

SolarShade (SmarterShade)

University of Notre Dame, 2007 - $14,700

This E-Team is developing SolarShade, a solar-powered aftermarket window treatment solution designed to selectably tint a window at the push of a button. Using a remote control, the customer can adjust the level of tinting from clear to opaque. SolarShade itself is a lightweight, semi-rigid sheet of plastic made from offset planes of polarized material. The sheet can be manufactured to fit into any existing window track or frame, right over the window itself.


Solar-Charged, Battery-Powered LED Lanterns to Replace Kerosene Lamps in the Developing World

University of Illinois at Urbana, Champaign, 2007 - $16,800

This E-Team is developing a solar-charged, battery-powered LED lantern that is healthier, more economical, less dangerous, and less polluting then petroleum lanterns. The team consists of an established network of engineers, industry leaders, aid organizations, academic professionals, and government contacts and is set to enter the market in India.

Updates: In 2009, just two years after it received an E-Team grant, Greenlight Planet, Inc. is selling its solar-charged, battery-powered LED lantern in India and China. Along the way, the company, which spun out of an E-Team from University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, has raised more than $500,000 from investors.

Greenlight Planet's market proposition is simple: to sell ultra-affordable solar LED lights for the 1.6 billion people who still don't have electricity. There are important social and environmental benefits: Greenlight Planet's lantern is cleaner, more economical, less dangerous, and less polluting then petroleum lanterns.

Read more at Greenlight

  • December 2009: Wall Street Journal video feature


Creating Business/Engineering Multidisciplinary E-Teams

University of Chicago

This grant supports the creation of a two-course sequence in which student teams spend their senior year working with industry and/or regional entrepreneurs to develop a product idea and bring it to the prototype stage. E-Teams are comprised of engineering and business students who participate in the capstone course as well as a seminar series on ethics, leadership and entrepreneurship. All of the E-Teams focus on the needs of the first-responder community as well as medical applications, thus allowing students to gain both an appreciation for entrepreneurship and a respect for the contributions made by law enforcement, fire fighters, and EMS personnel

Entrepreneurship through Experiential Learning and Community Service

Florida Institute of Technology

This grant supports the development of a two-quarter undergraduate-level honors course entitled “Entrepreneurship through Innovative Interdisciplinary Projects in Technology and Community Service” to be offered in spring and fall 2007. The course entails student E-Teams partnering with a nonprofit agency to develop solutions to specific issues the agency faces. Once solutions are devised, E-Teams will assess the technical and commercial viability of the solutions themselves. The course will be taught by seven faculty members from four disciplines. During the initial implementation of the course, both students and faculty will attend a private seminar each quarter at Eureka! Ranch, a private think tank with a focus on innovation, marketing and personal leadership

Advanced Design in Biomedical Engineering

Smith College

This grant supports the expansion of an undergraduate course in biomedical design. The course engages undergraduate students in creative design before they reach their senior capstone course, encouraging students to develop and maintain their creativity while motivating further independent course-based learning. In the end, the course hopes to provide students with theoretical and practical design experience, an introduction to entrepreneurship in biomedical engineering, and an introduction to the discipline

Osteoporosis Screening Tool

Wright State University, 2006 - $17,870

Osteoporosis, while widespread, is highly preventable with the right diet, regular exercise and bone density measurements. Regularly scheduled bone density measurements can detect the disease early on, reducing the number of debilitating fractures and mortality. The gold standard for bone density measurement is dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA), but only 10% of the at-risk population undergoes routine DXA examinations due to the expense of the machine and the fact that it requires dedicated space and personnel.

This E-Team opened up osteoporosis screening to a wider population by developing a tool that can be used in a dental care setting. Using dual-energy measurement, the device gives conventional dental x-ray equipment the ability to measure bone density in the mandible (jaw) and phalanges (fingers and toes).


University of Maryland-College Park

In partnership with the US Army, this E-Team has developed an environmentally friendly alternative to styrene. Styrene is a potentially carcinogenic petroleum derivative that has harmful effects on the environment and is highly regulated by the EPA. The team’s product is a soybean oil derivative that can replace styrene in thermoset resins (raw materials used in the fiber-reinforced products industry). The soybean oil is environmentally friendly (safe and renewable), performs better than styrene, and costs less

EcoTech NanoSystems: BioShield Technology

Lehigh University, 2006 - $19,492

The EcoTech E-Team from Lehigh, winner of two previous E-Team grants, used this grant to develop an advanced surface coating that prevents the growth of algae, mold, and other biological organisms on a wide variety of surfaces, from aquarium glass to home siding. Called BioShield™, the patented technology uses sunlight and water to react with organic matter, making it difficult for organisms to attach to surfaces. While BioShield™ is ready for commercialization in the aquarium market, the team is conducting further R&D to bring it to other markets, specifically animal husbandry (preventing algae growth on cattle troughs) and residential homes (decks, patios, roofing, etc.). Ultimately, the team hopes to create a transparent “spray-on” coating sold through home improvement stores like Home Depot.

Update: The EcoTech team has gone on to form a successful aquarium products company. Visit their website here.

Flashback Lighting System

University of Massachusetts, Lowell, 2006 - $18,000

This grant supported the development of Flashback, a device that shines light on the back of a bicycle rider during low light conditions. The device, which extends several inches behind the rider using a sturdy tube connected to the bicycle seat post, consists of a small plastic housing embedded with super-bright light-emitting diodes. The diodes are powered by a small battery pack attached to the base of the device.

The team developed a working prototype and tested it at night, showing it to be much brighter than the standard bike reflector.

Rensselaer and Grupo de Apoyo at Sector Rural for a Sustainable Peru

University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

Getting appropriate technology to rural areas in Peru is very difficult due to the geographical dispersion of the approximately 70,000 rural communities living in extreme poverty. To help solve the problem, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) is collaborating with Grupo de Apoyo al Sector Rural at the Pontificia Universidad del Peru, and the Inca-Bus mobile technology education program in Peru, to create and build systems for sustainable sources of energy, clean water, and air for the rural population using interdisciplinary student design teams from the Engineers for a Sustainable World and Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers chapters at RPI. Projects will be identified and evaluated based on impact on basic human needs and potential for commercialization, providing long-term sources of income for these communities. The plan also includes curriculum development, student life and professional development, as well as research and technology transfer

BME Design for Global Healthcare Technologies

Stanford University

Northwestern University has an undergraduate capstone design course that includes travel for students to work with researchers at the University of Cape Town in Africa. While students have been able to provide clear needs assessments and propose solutions to identified problems, it has become clear that there needs to be a way to maintain continuity on these projects so that they ultimately become product solutions. This grant supports the creation of an MS program as a way to further support the capstone projects. Specifically, the outcome of this project will be a new program that forms a track within the existing MS and BS-MS programs, but requires additional formal training in Healthcare Technology Management at the University of Cape Town and experience in acting as team leaders for the capstone project teams

Sustainable Manufacturing in Kenya: Collaborative Design of an Agricultural Utility System

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

With this grant, the service learning program at PSU will work to improve rural Kenyans’ economic well-being by addressing challenges of low agricultural productivity due to the use of simple instruments and tools. Service learning program-enrolled PSU students will work with students from the University of Nairboi and Moi University in improving a variety of devices, concentrating on making manually powered machines that significantly improve productivity. These devices will come with attachments that allow the machine to be powered by a small attachable petrol engine. It is expected that farmers' incomes will increase with the use of the improved manual devices, making it possible for them to purchase an engine, thus increasing productivity even further. Examples of potential devices include water pumps, electric generators, posho mills, decorticators, tillers, and power tools

Sustainable Micro-Enterprise Development and Management

Northeastern University

For this grant, Ithaca College is partnering with Ecuadorian NGO Fundacion Maquipucuna (FM), an established organization with non-profit and for-profit wings that sells a range of fair trade, organic products in the US and elsewhere under its brand name, Choco-Andese. The partnership is meant to develop micro-enterprises in Ecuador based around poverty alleviation and environmental sustainability and will build on the ideas of students participating in a course administered this past year.

Ithaca hopes to send more students to Ecuador with this project and bring in partners for work on other projects, such as partnering with Cornell to use synthetic roof thatch made out of waste plastic to make homes more comfortable by absorbing heat

KlarAqua Advanced E-Team Continuation Project: Low Cost Water Purification System and Service Organization to Support Development of Micro-Enterprises in Developing Countries and Other Applications

Illinois Institute of Technology, 2006 - $13,500

This E-Team developed KlarAqua, an inexpensive, bucket-size, clay-based water filter aimed at people in the developing world. During the first NCIIA grant, the team partnered with students at Tec de Monterrey in Mexico, site of the team’s initial target market, and discussed strategies for getting the filter into the hands of the target population. During the second grant, the team conducted a phase II pilot study to assess and demonstrate the effectiveness and efficiency of the filter and developed the associated educational, training, and marketing materials. Specifically, the team refined the KlaqAqua design, developed a customizable training program on how to use the filter, refined the business model (micro-enterprises manufacturing and selling the filter locally), and developed a long-range plan for broad implementation.

The team selected the town of San Luis Potosi in Mexico as the site of the pilot study due its need for clean water, proximity to Tec de Monterrey, and its representative socioeconomic characteristics.

KlarAqua won first place in the annual Idea to Product Social Entrepreneurship Competition, sponsored by Purdue University and held at San José State University. The $15,000 I2P prize money helped move the innovation closer to market.

Development and Commercialization of Innovative Wall-climbing Robots

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

This E-Team is developing the City-Climber, a wall-climbing robot intended for use in the inspection of building facades. New York City law mandates the inspection of building facades every five years, and the task is currently accomplished by lowering three trained workers down the side of the building by scaffold equipment. Each additional drop to reach other areas of the façade requires a complete relocation of the rigging equipment, making the process time-consuming and expensive (the cost for one day can exceed $3,000). The E-Team’s robot adheres to the wall by employing aerodynamic attraction produced by a vacuum rotor package. Cameras and sensors inside the robot are used to assess the condition of the building façade, and the robot itself is remotely operated by a joystick

Entrepreneurship beyond Literacy and Resource Barriers: A Proposal for Cross-Functional Course Development and Delivery

University of California-Santa Barbara

With this project, NCIIA supports the creation of Developing Products and Markets for Subsistence Marketplaces, a two-course sequence in which teams of engineering and business graduate students identify a general need in the developing world, conduct market research, and develop a prototype, manufacturing plan, marketing strategy and business plan. The course will begin in the fall semester of 2006, with students focusing on setting project objectives, understanding the context they’re designing for, and learning about the process of product development. Over Thanksgiving break the teams will travel to India, the first target area of the course, to do first-hand market research, and the remainder of the semester will be spent developing specific product concepts. The spring semester will be spent working the concepts up into prototypes, and developing manufacturing, marketing, and business plans

Teaching Structural Design, Construction Practices, and Sustainable Technologies for Mitigation of Natural Disaster Damages in Coastal and Fault Areas of Developing Regions

Vanderbilt University

This project supports the development of a two-semester course sequence for seniors focusing on design and construction to mitigate the impacts of earthquakes on residential structures in developing regions. Through lectures, guest speakers, mentorship and on-site visits, students will be introduced to structural dynamics, passive seismic control, low-tech and low-cost alternative construction techniques, value engineering and socioeconomics. The course will be made up of about fifteen engineering and architecture students divided into three or four E-Teams, each assigned an industry mentor.

The E-Teams will research and design solutions, and build and test prototypes in a Structural Control and A-seismic Research (SCARE) lab. They will document their progress in a report, including a business plan for field implementation of the proposed solution, and visit a selected community in a developing region to implement their solution.

Among the educational outcomes, students will be taught the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, and environmental context, with an emphasis on design to save lives in earthquake regions

Program to Support Computer Applications for Medicine

University of Tulsa

This project seeks to create a new type of senior thesis program at the University of Virginia. Currently, over the course of a nine-month period, engineering students write an individual thesis that identifies, analyzes and offers a solution to a specific technical challenge. With this project, UVA will move away from traditional (individual) research and toward multidisciplinary student collaboration by having E-Teams develop computer applications for use in the medical field. In liaison with the university’s school of medicine, each team will identify a medical need, suggest a solution, devise and test a prototype and follow the development cycle through to commercial viability.

Four E-Teams (each with three members) will be created during the first two years. Thereafter, it is assumed that more seniors from the annual pool of 450 individuals will join E-Teams; they will be selected on a competitive basis

International Social Entrepreneurship through Multidisciplinary Student E-Team Projects

Wake Forest University

Microfinancing is the delivery of financial services to the economically poor on a large scale and in a sustainable manner. While this approach has been highly successful tool for fighting poverty on a global scale, the small loans ($50-$500) require loan processing and labor–intensive activities that result in high transaction costs. With this project, Lehigh will develop E-Teams focusing on the implementation of pilot microfinance technology in developing countries, beginning in Honduras. The projects will include:
  • A rigorous application and selection process
  • An international immersion trip with students and faculty mentors
  • Experiential learning based on tackling real problems with external clients
  • Multidisciplinary student teams developing technologies and technology services

From Discovery to Commercialization: Development of the Greater Phoenix Nanotechnology Innovation Pathway and Pipeline

Dartmouth College

With this project, faculty at Arizona State University are developing an interdisciplinary undergraduate program with a focus on nanotechnology. The program, called Nanotechnology: Perspectives and Entrepreneurial Opportunities, draws together students with backgrounds in science, business, engineering, public policy, communication, pre-law and pre-medicine and forges links with industry and the regional entrepreneurial community.

The course curriculum defines nanotechnology, explores its underlying technologies and tools, and address issues of education and public understanding. Two main points of interest are emphasized: nanotechnology per se and environmental nanotechnology. Example projects include nanobiosensing, drug delivery systems, and recovery of materials in waste prevention. Five or six E-Teams form each year and are exposed to start-up and management concepts, strategic planning, business development, sales/marketing and team building. By completion of the program, students have developed skills in generating hypotheses, problem solving, cooperative learning, teamwork, patent dvelopment, and licensing and product marketing, in addition to having an increased understanding of creativity, innovation and leadership

Off Nicotine Smoking Cessation Program for Primary Care Settings

Case Western Reserve University, 2005 - $17,800

This E-Team developed a comprehensive tobacco cessation program that can be used by doctors and nurses in everyday primary health care situations. At the moment doctors typically spend little time trying to convince patients that smoke to quit due to constraints on time and the lack of an efficient, effective cessation program tailored to the clinical setting. The team’s program is an adaptation of one they developed and successfully implemented at Case Western, called the “Off (Officially free from) Nicotine” program. The Off program includes four weekly group sessions for smokers that focus on 1) self-assessment; 2) a personal strategic plan for quitting; 3) the cessation session; and 4) relapse prevention. This project allowed for adaptation of the support group format into shorter, individual counseling sessions run by doctors and nurses during regular office visits. Specifically, the team’s program includes: a workbook for smokers, with contents based around the smoker’s cessation strategy; the employment of a five-step cognitive restructuring procedure, based on a successful four-step procedure used to change behavior in Obsessive Compulsive Disease patients; relaxation techniques involving self-hand and self-ear massage to diminish symptoms of withdrawal; the use of Exhaled Carbon Monoxide (Ex CO) monitors to measure the level of one of the toxic agents in tobacco smoke present in the smoker’s body, and to track their progress; and lastly, the development of technology to allow for palmtop/tablet audio administration of the smoker’s clinical information, which results in an automatically generated report available to the physician before he enters the room.

A Method to Prevent Airway Obstruction in Patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Stanford University, 2005 - $20,000

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a clinical disorder characterized by instability of the upper airway during sleep, leading to frequent episodes of breathing cessation (apnea) or decreased airflow, during which the patient has a brief arousal from sleep that allows for the resumption of breathing. These episodes can occur 400-500 times per night, resulting in excessive daytime sleepiness that can lead to increased risk of cardiovascular events, stroke, car accidents, and premature death. There are numerous treatments for OSA currently on the market, but most of them have poor efficacy, poor patient compliance due to discomfort, and/or are very invasive. In response to this market need, this E-Team developed the Minimally Invasive Tongue Advancement Device (MiTAD), a tongue implant made of shape memory material that decreases the risk of obstruction during sleep by bringing the tongue upwards and forwards, increasing the cross-sectional area of the airway. The device can be implanted in an outpatient setting using a catheter-like delivery system: the implant is compressed and packed into the delivery system, then inserted by making a puncture in the lower aspect of the chin.

The E-Team believes its procedure is less invasive than current OSA treatments, provides for more accurate advancement of the tongue, allows the patient adequate tongue movement during speaking and swallowing, and comes at a low cost.

Internet Security Company

University of Georgia, 2005 - $20,000

This E-Team developed the SecureWebSurfer (SWS) USB Key, a technology that enhances computer security while surfing the Internet. SWS is a USB drive that contains a pre-installed Linux Operating System, a Firefox web browser, and no writeable memory. A user inserts the SWS before turning on her computer, and within thirty seconds of power-up an active web browser appears, allowing the user full Internet access. While using the key, no viruses, worms, or other damaging software can be downloaded to the user’s computer because of the key’s lack of writeable memory and the fact that the key prevents access to the computer’s writeable memory, eliminating almost all security risks associated with today’s computers. Once the key is removed, the computer returns to its original functionality.


Georgia Institute of Technology, 2005 - $19,750

Emissions trading, in which companies that exceed government-controlled pollution limits may buy emissions credits from companies that are able to stay below the designated limits, is a burgeoning market, growing 100% each of the last two years. Active participation in the carbon market requires that you have accurate models to predict the movement of carbon prices; however, these models can only be as good as the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions data on which they rely. Currently the available environmental data are of relatively low spatial and temporal resolution. This E-Team capitalized on the need for high-resolution GHG data by developing an interactive two-dimensional map that uses the most reliable satellite, aerial, and land-based sensor data to detail the concentration and movement of carbon dioxide around the world. Through an online point-and-click interface, customers can access the GHG concentration map, the locations of the primary sources, sinks, and emissions offset projects around the globe, and relevant weather data.

Wheelchair-Mounted Pelvic Restraint

University of Pittsburgh, 2005 - $15,250

Wheelchair-bound individuals frequently use minivans, para-transit vans, public transportation and private vehicles as means of transportation. While their wheelchairs are usually tied down to prevent them from moving during normal driving conditions or in the event of an accident, the individual relies mainly on a nylon safety belt system (similar to a conventional seat belt) that is both unwieldy and frequently disused. This E-Team developed a rigid restraint system mounted to the user’s wheelchair, securing the occupant in position at the level of the pelvis. The restraint is composed of two halves of a mechanical, rigid, padded bar attached to the side of the wheelchair. A ratchet system fits into place around the user’s pelvis, and a spring-loaded release lever allows the user to unlock the restraint from either side of the wheelchair.

The NUberwalker: Low Cost Body Weight Supported Treadmill Training System

Northwestern University, $15,500

This E-Team developed the NUberwalker, a Body Weight Support Treadmill Training (BWSTT) system that helps with the physical rehabilitation of stroke and spinal cord injury patients. The NUberwalker consists of a triangular frame that arches over the treadmill like a swing set, bungee cords, and a harness. Once the user is strapped into the harness, he or she presses a button to tension the bungee cords to the desired level of support, and starts the treadmill.

There are other BSWTT systems in rehabilitation centers and hospitals, but they are usually large, complex and expensive. The team reasons that an in-home BSWTT system would allow for more frequent training between physical therapy sessions, as well as ongoing in-home training following the completion of physical therapy, improving patient recovery time.

EcoTech Marine: VorTech

Lehigh University, 2005 - $18,738


Maintaining a reef aquarium requires adequate water circulation to balance water chemistry, carry nutrients to inhabitants, and remove waste, all of which can be accomplished by means of a pump system. The EcoTech Marine E-Team developed a new and improved pump, the VorTech™, which creates a natural wave-like water flow while minimizing the intrusion of heat and bulky equipment into the reef environment.

The team designed the pump to attach magnetically on either side of the tank glass, allowing the electric motor to reside outside the tank, while the propeller can be set to create a variety of surge types. Competitors’ pumps generally produce jet-stream water flows, as opposed to VorTech’s wave-like surges.

Update: The EcoTech team has gone on to form a successful aquarium products company. Visit their website here.

Sustainable Shelter Design

California State Polytechnic University-Pomona, 2005 - $18,400

Habitat 21, a sustainable settlements project from the John T. Lyle Center for Regenerative Studies at Cal Poly Pomona, performed a long-range study on improving housing options in impoverished neighborhoods in Tijuana. These neighborhoods are currently served by Corazon, a US nonprofit whose mission is to serve Mexico’s poor through home-building, educational programs, and other community development activities. While Corazon’s home-building program is effective in providing basic shelter for residents of the communities in which they work, their designs rely on imported, non-renewable materials, do not consider heating and cooling needs, and do not address issues that affect quality of life, such as water, sanitation, security, and food production. This E-Team developed prototypes of sustainable housing systems that meet the needs of relief organizations like Corazon as well as local residents.

The team designed and tested prototypes that emphasize materials readily available in Tijuana, technology appropriate for the community’s cultural and economic conditions, and strategies that minimize the use of energy. Specifics include passive heating and cooling technology, affordable food production, security concerns, and clean waste and water systems. The goal of the team was to incorporate shelter, waste management, food production, and security into an integrated operation.

A Tray 4 All

University of Illinois at Chicago, 2005 - $12,000

Many varieties of lunch trays are available on the market: the standard tray featuring a flat surface and circumferential ledge, compartmentalized trays, and trays coated with non-slip surface material. However, there are no trays specifically designed to help people with partial arm function or motor control problems. This E-Team filled the gap by developing a specialized lunch tray for children with upper arm dysfunction. These children lack the strength and motor coordination to handle ordinary trays, and can’t function independently in the school cafeteria. The team developed two prototypes: one featuring a ring attached to the bottom right corner of the tray through which the user puts her good arm, freeing up the weaker arm to put items on the tray, and a butterfly-shaped tray. Both prototypes have cupholders that prevent drinks from sliding around.

Swimming Aid for the Blind and Visually-Impaired

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, 2005 - $5,150

This E-Team developed a swimming aid for the blind and visually impaired that alerts the swimmer when a wall is approaching. The device consists of a small wireless headset attached to the swimmer’s goggle strap. The headset receives signals from two units placed on opposing walls of the lane; when triggered, the headset relays an audible warning through a waterproof earpiece that a wall is approaching. The units also detect a change in the swimmer’s direction, allowing the headset to count laps.

There are no similar devices on the market, but the team has competition from electronic lap counters currently on the market, as well as the “tapper” – a person standing at the end of a swimming lane who uses a long cane to tap the blind swimmer on the shoulder when he/she is approaching the wall. This method is well-installed in the blind and visually impaired community, but the team believes the independence offered by their device gives them an advantage.

Strategic Technology Planning and Development Course Development

Johns Hopkins University

The Marquette University College of Engineering is developing Strategic Technology Planning and Development, a new course in the field of engineering entrepreneurship. The course focuses on developing technology that will be appropriate and available for product transfer at the moment it is needed. The course organizes students into E-Teams with the goal of producing a strategic development plan for a new technology-based business opportunity. The opportunity may be original to the team, or may derive from current college R&D programs. To stimulate commercialization of resulting opportunities, E-Teams are entered into the annual Golden Angels Network business plan contest.

Each four to six person E-Team consists of students, faculty members, and industry experts. Students learn through lectures, discussions, projects, and presentations. Once established, the course will fill a core role in the university’s Engineering Management Program

From Discovery to Commercialization: Developing the Greater Phoenix Innovation Pipeline

Loyola Marymount University

Sustainable development reconciles society’s developmental goals with the planet’s environmental limits over the long term. Although the sustainability industry is built upon the discoveries of researchers, the road from discovery to commercialization is not well known by most investigators, students, faculty members, and early-stage entrepreneurs. Additionally, many underserved student groups, such as the Hispanic and Native American populations and women, have had little exposure to sustainability science and innovation-focused careers. To address these issues, faculty from Arizona State University’s International Institute for Sustainability and the ASU Technopolis are implementing a sustainability-focused Technology and Life Sciences Entrepreneurship Course (TLSE), Sustainability Entrepreneurship, to bring together graduate and undergraduate students and faculty members, educational and entrepreneurial communities, and underserved populations and engage them in the innovation pipeline.

Course attendees—students, faculty members, and early-stage entrepreneurs from greater Phoenix—will learn basic start-up and management concepts and be exposed to strategic planning, technology roadmapping, business development, finance, intellectual property, marketing, law, product development, sales, and team building. Class members will form entrepreneurial teams to develop sustainability-focused business plans and financials, culminating with formal team presentations before a panel of industry experts, attorneys, and venture capitalists. ASU will also provide additional support for students to develop their sustainability-related projects following completion of the course

Entrepreneurial Field Studies

Northwestern University

This grant supports the University of Oklahoma’s Entrepreneurial Field Studies course, developed by faculty from the College of Business’s Entrepreneurship Center, which provides students with opportunities to apply concepts mastered in previous business courses while they work to develop intellectual property generated at the university. Student E-Teams work closely with the inventor of a product or service to bring previously shelved ideas to commercialization, with the ultimate goal of increasing wealth in the state of Oklahoma. Self-forming student teams choose intellectual property projects to undertake from several local institutions, including the office of Oklahoma Technology Development (OTD), the Noble Foundation, and the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF). The IP selection criteria include its ability to address social issues through technologies that solve critical problems and meet basic human needs. The scope of the teams’ due diligence generally involves research into the feasibility of commercializing patented IP, market research surrounding a new IP, or the development of a business plan for new IP.

The class will has an enrollment of twenty-four students, divided into eight E-Teams. Each E-Team is composed of three graduate students and a mentor, integral to the team’s activities. The students learn entrepreneurial evaluation processes in the classroom, partially through guest speakers, then execute due diligence on their chosen product in the field, working with the inventor to determine the market applications of the invention and the opportunity and feasibility of the proposed application. At the end of the semester, student teams complete a business plan and present it to a group of panelists from venture capital and private equity firms in the culminating business plan competition. Students involved in the competition gain access to networks of successful entrepreneurs, lenders and investors, team-building opportunities, business planning skills, and media exposure. At the course’s conclusion, they may form a company or perform as marketing agents on behalf of the university’s Office of Technology Development, receiving twenty percent of gross royalties

Measuring Bioimpedance in the Human Uterine Cervix: Towards Early Detection of Preterm Labor

Premature birth is the major determinant of long-term health problems in children, and occurs in 11% of approximately six million pregnancies in the U.S. each year. Subtle changes in cervical tissue throughout pregnancy can be detected as a decrease in bioimpedance. This team has developed a probe to measure bioimpedance, thereby detecting impending preterm labor at the tissue level with significantly more accuracy than current technologies

Service through Design and Entrepreneurship Certificate Program

Rowan University

Pennsylvania State University’s Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW), a student-led organization, was created in 2001 with the goal of providing undergraduate students with design and research opportunities that directly impact the lives of people in developing communities through active collaboration with university partners and host nations. Faculty in the Department of Engineering Design at Penn State are now creating a Service through Design and Entrepreneurship certificate to be offered through the College of Engineering in conjunction with the Entrepreneurship Minor.

Students receive the certificate after successful completion of a three-course series: Entrepreneurship Business Basics, which teaches intellectual property, finance, and marketing; Entrepreneurship and New Product Development, which examines the concept of new product launch within a mainstream company as student teams design, prototype a new product family, and then present the product concept to venture seed fund representatives from companies like General Electric; and Engineering Cultures, Appropriate Technology and Product Design in Developing Communities, which discusses appropriate technology and initiate collaborative team development between Penn State students and host university students working on preliminary problem recognition and design study.

Each year, two to four interdisciplinary E-Teams of four to six members are formed to address an infrastructure or product design problem in a developing community, specifically focused on addressing the needs of individuals living on less than $2 a day. Faculty, practicing engineers, NGO representatives, and community development practitioners work with teams as mentors.

Design for Sustainability: Courses of Study for Electrical Engineers

Stanford University

Waste produced by the disposal of outdated computer systems presents a serious environmental problem. A team of business, engineering, and liberal arts faculty at Auburn University is developing balanced design curricula for junior and senior electrical engineering students that focus on sustainability design for computer equipment through teaching modules incorporated into existing courses and the development of Recycling the Toxic Computer, an elective senior design course. Auburn will also host a nationwide workshop on sustainable engineering curriculum development to disseminate the results of the program at the end of the three-year grant period.

Through modules inserted into laboratory courses, junior-year students learn the social, economic, and environmental impacts of computer system product design and manufacture. Senior-year students have the ability to incorporate sustainability constraints into the design of a computer system product, and seniors taking the elective design course demonstrate the design of a computer system product that meets sustainability requirements and generate a business plan for the product with the goal of bringing it to market.

Digital Receipt Team

Stanford University, 2004 - $11,000

This E-Team developed a digital receipt system for retail and online stores. The system consists of a credit card-sized smart card with an embedded 1 Mb memory to store receipt data, a card reader/writer for stores, and a card reader/writer for the consumer’s personal computer that allows her to upload receipts from the card, organize them by category, and process them using spreadsheets. For an example of how the system works, take a typical return: the consumer hands the smart card to the cashier, who places it in the reader, finds the correct receipt, and matches it with the store’s receipt. With this device the team is looking to solve hassles with paper receipts, make check-out faster, save businesses money, and give the consumer an easy way to manage purchases.

The E-Team consisted of two electrical engineering undergraduate students and one biomechanical engineering undergraduate. David Kelley, founder and CEO of IDEO and currently a Stanford professor, advised the team.

Chest Protector

University of Miami, 2004 - $11,095

This E-Team developed an enhanced chest protector aimed at little league baseball players. More than any other sport, baseball players are susceptible to sudden cardiac death (SCD) as a result of a baseball hitting the child’s chest, particularly the silhouette of the heart located in the upper-left quadrant. The team built a chest protector that disperses the force of a direct hit over the chest, mostly through extra padding.

Three are three giants in the baseball equipment market: Rawlings, Mizuno, and Wilson. Each offers different chest protectors using different materials, but none offer a protector explicitly aimed at preventing SCD. Their protectors rely on impact absorption, whereas the E-Team’s protector focuses on impact redistribution, with extra layering around the heart.

The E-Team consisted of five biomedical engineering undergraduates, a professor of biomedical engineering, a professor of architecture and design, a local entrepreneur, and a cardiologist (who initially brought the project to the team’s attention).

An Innovation Curriculum: Introduction to Innovation and Innovation Teams

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Major changes are underway at UCCS, which will culminate in the development of a new series of degrees: a Bachelors of Innovation (BI) and a Masters of Innovation (MI). These degrees encompass traditional disciplines, such as computer science and business, but also provide students with an extensive “innovation core” of courses intended to make them familiar with the process of innovation. NCIIA funds provide support for the development and implementation of two elements of these majors: a freshman-level “Introduction to Innovation” course and the central course of the innovation core, the six-term “Innovation Team” course. The first introduces students to innovation processes, problem-solving, teamwork strategies, etc.; the second involves them in a hands-on project in a multidisciplinary team comprised of eight to twenty students, ranging from sophomores to graduate students.

New Elements for International Idea to Product (I2P) Program

Illinois Institute of Technology

The University of Texas at Austin received NCIIA funds in 2003 to further develop their pre-existing Idea to Product Technology Commercialization Program (I2P™). NCIIA funding provided seed money to E-Teams generated by the I2P Competition process to help improve the quality of their products and prototypes and increase the potential for taking their ideas to market; helped faculty initiate an international intercollegiate component of I2P Program; and helped faculty develop a new, innovative Austin Technology Incubator Affiliate (ATI) initiative.

In 2005 NCIIA funded the I2P Program again, this time with money going toward strengthening and institutionalizing the international competition component of the I2P™ program and thus significantly expanding the potential number of E-Teams generated.

The International I2P™ competition is modeled after both the MOOT CORP® competition and the UT Austin I2P™ regional competition. It's designed to be a pre-launch, pre-business plan competition that assesses the market opportunity, technological feasibility, and intellectual property position of innovations from teams representing the leading research universities around the world. The competition has grown from six teams in its inaugural year to thirteen teams this year and will be expanded next year to at least twenty teams. To date, the UT Austin I2P competition, which also focuses on the creation of entrepreneurial ventures grounded in science and technology, has attracted approximately 200 teams made up of a mix of ethnically and gender diverse undergraduate and graduate students from a broad cross-section of UT’s colleges and departments

Multidisciplinary Entrepreneurship Thematic Learning Community (E'ship TLC) - Creating Opportunities for Entrepreneurship Education from Top to Bottom

Babson College

The University of Kansas School of Engineering, in partnership with the Office of Technology Transfer, is implementing a university-wide program in entrepreneurship: the Multidisciplinary Entrepreneurship Thematic Learning Community (E’ship TLC), creating a culture of entrepreneurial thinking across the campus. The E’ship TLC will be open to participation from faculty and students (graduate and undergraduates) across all disciplines. A subset of the students will also be enrolled in entrepreneurship courses that integrate business into subject-specific courses. A part-time administrator will manage the courses and be responsible for publicity across the campus community. Students in new upper level multidisciplinary courses areas will form cross-functional entrepreneurship teams to explore faculty inventions. The E-Teams will evaluate the technology from a science, engineering, legal, and business perspective, creating a strong foundation for commercialization. In addition, faculty inventors will be involved in the entrepreneurial process. Underclassmen in the TLC will interact with students in the advanced courses and learn from their volunteer experiences. The program will initially focus on bioengineering-related disciplines.


University of Southern California, 2004 - $19,939

Today, computer users must work with a traditional 2D mouse or trackball to manipulate 3D images, a counterintuitive method that leads to inefficiency and frustration. To solve the problem, the ZDimension E-Team developed a mouse-like peripheral, the ZMouse, which works with 3D autostereoscopic (AS) displays and software already on the market to allow the user to interact comfortably with floating 3D images in mid-air. The images float in front of or behind a special monitor that looks like a standard LC Display.


Tulane University, 2004 - $12,680

With the help of a 2004 Advanced E-Team grant, this Tulane University E-Team created Deflexion, an electronic board game that combines the strategic appeal of chess with modern technology. Players take turns moving Egyptian-themed, mirrored pieces around the playing field, then fire a low-powered laser diode to bounce light off the mirrors and illuminate their opponent’s pieces, eliminating them from the game. The goal is to defeat your opponent by strategically maneuvering pieces so the laser hits the “pharaoh” piece, similar to a king in chess.

Along with being a commercial success, Deflexion (now called Khet) has received significant press and industry recognition. The game was featured at the New York International Toy Fair; named one of Wired magazine’s “supercool” toys for 2005; dubbed “very cool” by Playthings, a toy industry publication; and praised as “innovative” by BusinessWeek. Khet is commercially available through the company’s website ( and select retail outlets around the US.

DigiTails LED Taillights

Drexel University, 2004 - $16,530

The DigiTails E-Team developed replacement taillight assemblies that combine the visual appeal of “Euro” style taillights (consisting of individual red lenses in a chrome housing) with the benefits of LED technology. The first prototype emulated different designs and the beta included software for creating customizable lighting designs. LEDs provide lower power consumption than incandescent lights, lower operating temperature, and a 20x longer lifespan.

The team members were from diverse academic backgrounds in business, mechanical engineering, and electrical engineering. The team’s advisors and faculty had experience in entrepreneurship and engineering.

Update: The DigiTails team went on to found Spaghetti Engineering, a company built around DigiTails technology. Read a profile of company founder Michael Muhlbaier here.

Location Specific Alarm Relay

Rutgers University-New Brunswick

Residential fires kill and injure thousands of Americans and cause billions of dollars in property damage each year. More than 428,000 home fires occurred in 1996, which resulted in a residential fire every 74 seconds, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). By the mid 1980s, laws that required alarms in all new and existing residences existed in 38 states and thousands of municipalities. Systems wired throughout the house are expensive to install and provide only a general alert, while standard smoke alarms are not interconnected. This E-Team’s Location Specific Alarm Relay (LSAR) system is designed to be installed in individual rooms, but has the ability to transmit data and can relate the location of smoke in the event of a fire. For example, the existence of smoke in the basement will be relayed to the second floor bedroom through a combined horn and voice alarm

Patient Rotation System for 3D Mammography

Vanderbilt University, 2004 - $18,500

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among women. Current mammography screening techniques, which use polychromatic X-ray sources and compression techniques to obtain images of the breast, have a number of shortcomings.

This E-Team developed a compressionless monochromatic 3D mammography screening system to improve on the old model. The Patient Rotation System is a model table on which a patient can be rotated to allow the system to produce accurate three-dimensional images. The team made the table movable, able to rotate with the breast as a center point in order to easily screen the breast and chest wall, and improved the comfort of the experience for mammography patients.

Feasibility study to analyze the economic value proposition and related marketing strategy for a modular, pressurized anaerobic digestion reactor

Stanford University

Dairy farmers, animal processing facilities, and wastewater treatment plants use biogas generated from the anaerobic digestion of organic matter to stabilize their waste streams, facilitating processing for disposal or its conversion into usable by-products. NCIIA funding supports this E-Team in completing a technical feasibility study for a modular reactor that pressurizes and purifies biogas produced from anaerobic digestion of biomass using a closed-loop system. This will be the first step toward the commercialization of biogas-producing technology for use by commercial, industrial, and consumer clients who could benefit greatly from a reliable source of clean, renewable energy.

The US water supply and wastewater treatment is a $110 billion industry, of which $32.1 billion (30%) was spent in 2002 on capital improvements at municipal wastewater treatment facilities. In the next six years, municipalities are expected to spend an additional $100 billion to meet state and federal environmental standards. The team’s goal is to determine a practical system design and identify appropriate markets for commercialization, developing a thorough understanding of the economic value proposition for this technology

Automated Page-Turner

University of Rhode Island, 2004 - $10,000

This E-Team developed a single-switch automated page-turner designed to aid people lacking manual strength and dexterity in reading a hardcover book. The device is user-friendly, single-switch activated, affordable, reversible, lightweight, portable and easy to load, utilizing a washable and renewable commercially available adhesive.

Arsenic 3

University of California, Berkeley, 2004 - $20,000

This E-Team developed a prototype device for removing arsenic from Bangladesh's drinking water. The device uses chemically treated bottom ash (residue left over from coal combustion) as the medium for removing arsenic. The invention is based on coating the surfaces of bottom ash particles with ferric hydroxide, and using this treated ash to react with, remove, and immobilize arsenic in water supplies. Lab results demonstrated that 5 gm of treated bottom ash can reduce arsenic concentration in 2.4 liters of water from 2400 ppb to 10 ppb.

The E-Team believes the final product’s pricing model will be proportional to table salt, costing <.30/kg per person per year. The business costs are also comparable to table salt.

The team consisted of four lab-based professionals in chemical engineering and physics.

E-teams in D-lab: Promoting Invention and Innovation for International Development

Swarthmore College

Swarthmore College

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s D-lab is a four-part series of courses and field trips that focus on international development, appropriate technologies, and sustainable solutions for communities in developing countries. In the fall, students focus on issues of international development and appropriate technology and partner with community organizations in developing countries to apply what they have learned. During the winter Independent Activities Period (IAP), students travel to their partner organizations to implement their projects and identify other possibilities for collaboration. In the spring, students learn about the design process and apply it to create solutions to the problems identified on their field trip. Over the summer, students return to their field sites to implement their designs, conduct field tests, and get user feedback.

NCIIA funding helps to expand the design portion of the class to include E-Teams. 10-15 E-Teams work through the design process and construct prototypes using design methodologies and rapid-prototyping tools presented throughout the term. Guest speakers talk about their successes and failures, providing insight into project implementation strategies.

Entrepreneurial Enterprise Using E-Teams, at Michigan Technological University

California Institute of Technology

For this project, NCIIA funding supports the development of an ongoing Entrepreneurial Enterprise program at Michigan Technological University. EE builds on the success of the school’s Enterprise program, in which teams of 30-40 students with diverse skill sets are handed a project by an industrial sponsor. The team acts as a “company,” the students as “employees,” performing testing and analyses, manufacturing parts, staying within budgets and schedules, etc. The Enterprise lasts several years, and students leave and enter the Enterprise fluidly, imitating a real company.

The proposed EE program is very similar to the Enterprise program, but differs in one key way: in EE, students will not be handed a project but will instead find creative applications or modifications of technologies already "on-the-shelf” at MTU, with the intention of developing and commercializing products.

Life Science Entrepreneurship Curriculum Expansion to Certificate Program

Whitman College

With help from a NCIIA Course and Program grant, UCSF has created two new classes, and expanded two others, to form a four-course, university-accredited Certificate Program in BioEntrepreneurship. Run by the Center for BioEntrepreneurship at UCSF, each course focuses on forming E-Teams to bring biomedical innovations to market. The new and expanded courses are part of a CBE-developed suite of programs directed at campus entrepreneurial audiences at all levels of experience. These include seminars, mentoring of E-Teams, student-run programs and community outreach programs.

Entrepreneurial Financial Computing

University of Nevada-Reno

This project supports a new finance-based, interdisciplinary course at Pace University, titled Entrepreneurial Financial Computing. The course is designed for undergraduates in finance, management, computer science and information technology. Students form heterogeneous, interdisciplinary E-Teams whose goal is the creative solution of a financial problem for a determined market by developing commercially viable software applications. Once completed, these applications are available on a university website and released in CD-ROM formats.

Multidisciplinary Entrepreneurial Design

University of Miami

With the help of NCIIA funding the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology accelerated the development and implementation of a new three-course design sequence that prepares engineers and scientists for entrepreneurial careers. The sequence replaced the formerly offered single-discipline-focused senior design classes.

The first course in the sequence focuses on laying the foundations of business and technical topics; the second and third focus on team project work and the formation of E-Teams. Content includes lectures, discussions, hands-on activities, and case studies.

An appropriate faculty member or project engineer from Rose-Hulman Ventures mentors each E-Team. External advisors also support the teams.

Integrating Engineering Educaton with Entrepreneurship to Enhance Technology Transfer

Purdue University-Main Campus

NCIIA funding supported the creation of a new class in the Master of Engineering Management (MEMP) program at Duke University, entitled Engineering Entrepreneurship. Duke professors understand that, in today’s competitive environment, it is critical for engineering students to understand business issues, and the new course addresses this need. The course is designed to combine classroom entrepreneurship training with a team-based project whose goal is to develop a business plan to commercialize Duke University intellectual property. Teams of 4-6 students assess the technical and commercial viability of 3-5 inventive concepts developed by Duke researchers. The teams develop business plans and present them to a panel of judges consisting of business experts and potential small business investors. If the plans/products show commercial promise, the teams apply for NCIIA E-Team grants as well as receive funding from Entrepreneurial Fellowships from Duke University and the Duke Start-Up Challenge.

Balance Sport Wheelchair

University of Portland

Wheelchair basketball is among the five highest risk sports for the disabled. Injuries resulting from collisions are frequent during wheelchair basketball because the athletes must not only control the ball and the game, but also themselves and their chairs.

The Balance Sport Wheelchair E-Team has designed a less cumbersome, more responsive, and safer wheelchair that employs a simple leaning/braking system to help the athlete control herself. The seat of the wheelchair sits atop a centralized column that passes through a universal join mechanism; the column extends down where it's attached to a braking system on the chair’s two large wheels. When the player leans left, the chair turns left; when they players leans right, the chair turns right; when the player leans back, the chair stops.

The E-Team consists of four students: three undergraduates majoring in industrial design, and one member of the University of Illinois wheelchair basketball team

Shuttle-tracking Service Project

University of Colorado at Boulder

This E-Team looks to make the UC Berkley shuttle system safer and more convenient by developing a shuttle tracking service. The service provides the location of Berkeley shuttles to students and other riders through a central server connected to the internet. Each shuttle transmits its location data via a built-in GPS device to internet access points situated throughout the shuttle routes. Users can access the location data with their cell phones, through the web, or on public display boards placed near campus buildings.

The team consists of three students specializing in electrical engineering and computer science, business administration, and bioengineering. One professor of engineering and five industry advisors aid the students in areas of design, marketing, and safety

The Enterprise Cost Solution

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2003 - $16,150

80% of a product’s cost is decided early on by design, purchasing and manufacturing decisions. However, little information on cost is typically available until the design is completed and the company begins manufacturing. This lack of information about cost during product development can have a great impact on overall expense, particularly if design changes are made later in the product cycle. The Enterprise Cost Solution E-Team developed a technique, called Feature-Based Costing (FBC), that quickly and accurately estimates production and tooling costs early in the design process using readily available information. The device determines information automatically from the engineer’s solid model and does not require user input. FBC software estimates total part costs, including material, overhead, processing, and tooling costs.

Piezoelectric Microjet for Drug Delivery

University of the Arts

Needle-based drug delivery is often painful, has limited accuracy, and typically requires a visit to a doctor’s office. Some therapeutics are totally inaccessible to individuals because they can't safely and reliably deliver the drugs themselves. To address these problems this E-Team has developed a hand-held microjet drug delivery system to replace the use of hypodermic needles in treating arthritis patients. The piezoelectric actuation device accurately delivers the correct dosage with minimum pain.

The E-Team consists of three undergraduate students specializing in bioengineering

Si2C Evolution: Direct Writing of Silicon Carbide Components

University of Texas at Austin, 2003 - $13,700

Tool steel is the dominant material of choice for aluminum die casters, but it's very tough, hard, and challenging to work with. Machining tool steel to create complex aluminum casting dies is a labor intensive, complex, and slow process that ranges from four to twelve weeks.

The Si2C Evolution E-Team developed new technology that provides superior die tooling to the metal casting industry. The team discovered a process of forming silicon carbide using selective laser sintering (SLS) technology, a process for turning a powdered material and polymer binding agent into a three dimensional part.

Update: the team, now incorporated as Advanced Laser Materials, is on its feet and growing.

Software for Automated Mold Design

Pace University-New York

The Software for Automated Mold Design E-Team aimed to reduce development time and product cost of current mold design methods with software that automates the mold design process.

The software automatically designs molds for complex objects such as automotive parts, toys, plastic consumer goods, and scanned objects. The product automates part design, process planning, price quotation, and mold design for scanned irregular shapes. These innovative features significantly reduce the time, expertise, and costs traditionally associated with mold design.

The E-Team consists of two graduate students and a professor from the mechanical engineering department. Six industry experts support the team

Entrepreneurship: Concept to Commercialization

Clarkson University

This project supports the implementation of a comprehensive entrepreneurship development colloquium that develops E-Teams and serves students across all academic majors at Springfield Technical Community College (STCC). Throughout the colloquium, E-Teams of students, technology and business faculty, successful local entrepreneurs, and other advisors work collaboratively to develop new products and apply existing technologies to new ideas.

While the honors colloquium is nothing new at STCC, the proposed program would act as a vehicle to engage high achieving students from across academic divisions to pursue their entrepreneurial aspirations. The primary goal of the colloquium is to develop and implement a set of strategies that will nurture, promote, enhance, and support innovation, invention, and entrepreneurial enterprises among E-Team students through the use of courses, workshops, lectures, field trips, laboratory experiments, professional consultation and group dynamics. When the semester ends, E-Teams are further encouraged to pursue commercialization by advisors and supported by STCC resources

Development and Implementation of a Web-based Demand Forecasting Service

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

This E-Team has developed GASDAY, a rolling eight-day natural gas load forecasting service for large and midsized local distribution companies (LDCs). The team's objective is to scale the GASDAY service to provide affordable accessibility to small municipal gas utilities. Smaller-sized LDCs will enjoy the benefits of this industry-leading load forecasting package built specifically for their customer base. The service increases a forecaster's understanding of and confidence in the gas load forecast.

GASDAY has three advantages over its competitors. First, it's an existing tool based on ten years of research and used to forecast more than 17% of the nation's natural gas demand. Second, GASDAY's biggest competitor is usually an in-house forecasting employee; because small LDCs often cannot afford developing a solid forecasting tool, GASDAY can cost-effectively fulfill their need. Finally, the project has several industry experts guiding and supporting development.

The E-Team includes two graduate students specializing in computing and marketing and two undergraduate students majoring in computer engineering and electrical engineering. Two professors of engineering and one industry expert support the students. Visit the project's website here

Full Load Designs: Position Communication System

University of Idaho, 2003 - $12,700

In their second round of E-Team funding, the Full Load Design E-Team developed the Position Communication System (PCSys). The PCSys revolutionizes communication between a combine operator and truck driver during the harvest of root crops. The device uses low power radio transmissions to communicate visual signals to the truck driver. Farmers currently use hand signals that often prove ineffective under poor visibility conditions. PCSys would improve the convenience and safety of harvesting tuber crops by replacing hand signals with an electronic communication device.

Building a Curriculum in Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Technology Management at UMass Amherst

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

The University of Massachusetts Amherst is launching a new program in Technology Management, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship (TIE). NCIIA funding sustains the first of a two-course foundation sequence for a three-year time span. The goal of the first course is to serve as an introduction to systematic innovation and entrepreneurial skill, thinking, and practice, providing a foundation of conceptual skills, technical content, and experiential understanding essential to effective innovation and entrepreneurship. The follow-up practicum course supports the development of E-Teams and provides core skill content such as business plan development, fundraising, and market research.

A key complementary component to the course is the student-run UMass Five College EntreClub, which was the prototype for the NCIIA publication “The EntreClub Handbook.”

Software Engineering & Entrepreneurship

Drexel University

This project supports Muhlenberg College in creating a new Software Engineering and Entrepreneurship (SE&E) course that enables students to learn more about invention, entrepreneurship, and software engineering. SE&E examines the ideas and techniques required to create computer-based systems that address real-world problems, and engage student teams in developing prototypes of such systems. E-Teams include students from the Biomedical Entrepreneurship course, depending on selected projects and student backgrounds. Each team develops a proof-of-concept or prototype, and an initial business plan. The entire class meets regularly for guest lectures, code reviews, presentations, and readings discussions.

Innovations in Architectural Infill

Hampshire College

NCIIA funding helped create one new class and two new workshops focusing on "architectural infill" at Carnegie Mellon. Architectural infill is the fine grain of architecture that students don’t often get the chance to imagine, research, or develop. The new additions are Architectural Infill I: Healing Devices, a semi-independent study course in which students research, develop, and test a narrow range of products previously explored in related classes; Architectural Infill II: Innovations in Architectural Casework, a workshop within an existing course that introduces students to human needs, human factors, perception, cognition, and specialized need design; and Architectural Infill III: American-Japanese Collaboration, a two-week collaboration that may be worked into the Carnegie Mellon Study Abroad Program. It aims to apply installations and designs that improve quality of life for people throughout the world.

The Integrated Technology Ventures (ITV) Program

California State Polytechnic University-Pomona

This project supports the University of Florida in creating the Integrated Technology Ventures (ITV) Program. The ITV Program aims to provide engineering and business students with an educational experience that closely mimics a true entrepreneurial environment. Students form virtual start-up companies led by actual CEOs. In addition to their product development, students complete research assignments, as well as attend supplemental lectures on entrepreneurial approaches and problem solving.

The ITV Program builds upon successful UF industry interaction model programs such as the Integrated Product and Process Design Program, the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the Office of Technology and Licensing, and two university supported technology start-up incubator facilities.

University of Maine Entrepreneurship Program

Lehigh University

NCIIA funding spurred the development of an entrepreneurship program at the University of Maine, encouraging students to think innovatively toward new product development leading to commercialization. The program encourages inventive, innovative, and entrepreneurial initiatives by bringing together students from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds. Students from the Colleges of Business, Engineering, and the Sciences merge with existing entrepreneurs, researchers, and experts in business development and technology commercialization to develop new Maine companies.

The entrepreneurship program is initially offered as a special topics course, introducing students to entrepreneurship through weekly business seminars. The second semester offers a more in-depth and detailed seminar series, in which E-Teams form. Students who wish to continue the development of a business beyond the course are encouraged to participate in the activities of the Target Technology Incubator as affiliate members or Tenant companies.

Transesophaegal Cooling Device (TEC)

Stanford University, 2003 - $18,200

Multiple studies have shown that cold therapy can protect the heart from myocardial infarction by slowing blood flow through major organs after the onset of ischemia. Building on cold therapy theory, this E-Team invented the Transesophageal Cooling (TEC) device, which cools the damaged area of the heart immediately after ischemia by using a cooling transesophageal balloon catheter.

The device consists of a cooling balloon catheter inserted through the naso/oralpharyngeal pathway. Once the catheter is placed within the esophagus closest to the heart, a cooling fluid flows through the catheter. The process preserves myocardial cells during an Acute Myocardial Infarction by slowing down metabolism and decreasing reperfusion injury associated with other methods that treat acute coronary disease.

The E-Team included four graduate students specializing in engineering, business, medicine, and biotechnology. Two advisors with backgrounds in cardiovascular medicine and biodesign supported the students.

Glow Friends

Lehigh University, 2002 - $13,500

This E-Team developed Glow Friends, an electronic friendship bracelet and one of the few high-tech toys on the market targeted specifically at young girls ages seven to thirteen.

The Glow Friends bracelet, which features a heart-shaped rhinestone center that glows when the bracelet is on as well as six additional light-emitting rhinestones along the band, interacts with other bracelets -- it can be "synchronized" by its owner. When a synchronized friend gets within 300 feet of the bracelet wearer, a rhinestone on her bracelet glows every thirty seconds. As the friend grows closer, the rhinestone glows brighter. The six rhinestones can recognize up to six friends.

The Glow Friends E-Team consists of five undergraduates in marketing, computer engineering, business, electrical engineering and fine arts. They work with faculty in business, economics, and electrical engineering.

AHS Hydrofoils: It's a New Generation

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Recreational power boats consume a large amount of fuel, with a typical thirty-foot boat yielding efficiencies of only two miles per gallon. The hydrofoil, a wing-like device that extends under the boat and lifts the hull out of the water, reduces drag and can potentially double the miles per gallon efficiency while improving seaworthiness and aesthetic appeal.

The AHS Hydrofoil E-Team has developed a retractable hydrofoil system that increases the fuel efficiency of cruiser-type pleasure boats up to fifty feet in length. Retractable foils can be lifted out of the water when not in use, enabling easier cleaning, shallow water navigation, and the option of cruising in displacement mode. AHS is the first company to develop and produce a retractable hydrofoil system

Prototyping and Development of DNA Amplification Method

University of Virginia-Main Campus

Mass-produced DNA is used in a number of industries, including nanotechnology applications, gene therapy, and as standards in diagnostic tests. However, existing DNA production technology is slow, inefficient, personnel-intensive, and provides opportunities for human error and cross contamination of products. In response to the need for better, faster DNA production, this E-Team developed the Triathlon Thermal Cycler, a continuous, rapid thermal cycler that replicates DNA 150% more efficiently than the traditional thermal cycler and can potentially produce DNA 800% more efficiently due to its scalability.

The original E-Team consisted of Derek Gregg and Justin Swick, two IST undergraduates in the College of Science. After incorporating as Vandalia Research in March 2004, the company now has five employees, with Derek handling business development, Justin handling research and manufacturing design, a full-time lab technician on hand, and two Marshall professors, Dr. Elizabeth Murray and Dr. Michael Norton, on the management team. They secured an exclusive licensing agreement with Marshall for use of the cycler, and recently completed their first round of significant funding, securing almost $1 million from local West Virginia angel investors

Updateable Message Personal CD Player - Gen 4

Drexel University

This E-Team received a previous Advanced E-Team grant for development of the X-CD system, a system that integrates wirelessly updated messages with recorded music. The X-CD is a portable CD player that receives messages broadcast over FM sub-carrier, stores them in memory, and plays them back before, during, or after any CD played, as appropriate. Listeners receive the X-CD broadcasts, consisting of story capsules, interviews, reviews, and advertisements, automatically when they use a properly equipped personal music player. Magazines, television shows and others who advertise to young adult audiences will buy air time from X-CD and provide the broadcasts. X-CD players, branded by these sponsors, and will be offered to magazine subscribers or prospective subscribers. The sponsors, magazines like Rolling Stone or Teen People, or TV shows like MTV, will then gain access to the young adult market.

To date, the X-CD E-Team has created three successful prototypes and is now ready to create a fourth generation prototype. While the first three prototypes have been PC-based, the fourth will be built around an embedded microcontroller. In the first phase of the work plan, each team member will design and build a major subsystem of the self-contained module. The end goal of this phase is that all key subsystems will function properly in isolation. In the second phase, the E-Team will integrate the subsystems into a whole. In the third phase, the team will conduct field testing, range measurements, system optimization, and concept/functionality refinement.

The X-CD E-Team consists of three computer science undergraduates. They work with an electrical engineering faculty member and the founder and president of SixtySeven Kilohertz, Inc.

Learning Innovation and Invention through Doing

Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art

This project supports the incorporation of E-Teams into Franklin W. Olin's "Olin Hatchery," a resource center supporting student-initiated ventures on campus. E-Teams form early on, in the sophomore year, with the idea that the teams will continue their work through their junior and senior years

Introduction to Biomedical Engineering Design and Discovery

CUNY City College

In 1967, the School of Medicine and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the University of Virginia teamed to form one of the first Departments of Biomedical Engineering (BME) in the country. Over the past thirty-five years, the department has focused on graduate education, developing strong doctoral and masters programs while carrying out world class research. In 2000, the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) added a BME minor to supplement existing traditional majors. This venture met with success, and has led to the development of a BME major within SEAS. In fall 2002, the principal investigator obtained preliminary approval for the BME major curriculum.

The first course of the BME major is Introduction to Biomedical Engineering Design and Discovery. First offered in fall 2002, the course provides students with theoretical and practical design experience, an overview of issues relating to entrepreneurship in BME, and an introduction to the discipline. Within the first few weeks of class, students identify problems in the field of BME that they wish to address through their semester long design project. They then form design teams based on interest and backgrounds. The major student effort in the class is toward E-Team development of a novel device, method, program, or experiment. Whenever possible, teams develop prototypes to prove design feasibility. The second segment of the class focuses on tackling the issues involved in developing a new product in BME. The course covers basic management tools including Gantt charts, critical path diagrams, and criteria for team selection. Students attend lectures on intellectual property, entrepreneurship, and regulatory issues. The third segment of the class serves as an introduction to the BME discipline. At the end of the course, E-Teams present their final projects to a group of faculty and local entrepreneurs. This grant provides E-Team seed money, student team travel, speaker honoraria, equipment, tools, and a stereo microscope

Blink Right for Healthy Eyes

University of Pittsburgh, 2002 - $12,150

Each year, approximately 140,000 patients are affected by deficit of the seventh cranial nerve, which provides signals for the facial expression muscles for one side of the face. Of these patients, about half are unlikely to recover, and many sustain permanent damage to the eye. Current treatments for this disorder include sewing the eyelids together, connecting other nerves to the facial nerve, and implanting gold weights into the upper eyelid. Unfortunately, these treatments can disfigure patients and do not restore dynamic restoration of blinking.

This E-Team is developing a prosthetic device to facilitate blinking in patients suffering from facial nerve palsy. The device will consist of a number of tiny silicon chips that act as both actuators and sensors. The devices will be implanted in upper eyelids, and function as sensors on the unaffected side to pace the actuators on the affected side. The dual sensing/actuating nature of the system will allow the device to sense any recovery of the nerve on the affected side and calibrate itself accordingly. Power is provided to the chips by a device contained on prosthetic eyeglasses with a powering antenna wound in the lens holders, and a battery in the earpieces.

Remotely Operated Stitching Device for Secure Treatment of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms

Stevens Institute of Technology, 2002 - $8,000

This E-Team is developing a device for use in conjunction with current non-invasive surgical technology treating abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA)--ballooning of the aorta in the abdominal region. Currently, there are two FDA approved methods of treating the condition. One is open surgery, in which a large incision is made and the diseased portion of the aorta is replaced with an aortic graft that gets stitched in place. Although the surgery lasts a lifetime, it is not safe for patients with co-morbidities. The second method is endovascular stent-grafting in which a small incision is made near the groin and a compressed stent-graft is positioned using the frictional force it exerts on the wall of the aorta. This treatment is a lifesaving, less expensive solution for those who cannot undergo open surgery. It has become the standard method of treatment for AAA. However, the treatment is prone to leaks and device migration.

In response to the problems associated with endovascular stent-grafting, this E-Team has developed a method for stitching the graft in place from within the aorta. They have developed an alternative form of sutures for the stitching procedure using a device that will be inserted and positioned in the patient the same way as a stent graft.

Technological Entrepreneurship

University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus

Northeastern University is creating a School of Technological Entrepreneurship, and has already raised $3 million for the startup. The vision is a professional school that can become a national leader in education and research at the intersection of technology development and business creation--Technological Entrepreneurship. This grant supports an undergraduate concentration in Technological Entrepreneurship consisting of five joint courses, which will allow the engineering students to complete an accredited engineering degree and the business students an accredited business degree. This grant will help fund twelve undergraduate E-Teams consisting of ninety-six students--sixty engineering students and thirty-six business students

The Global Design Solutions Project

Finlandia University

Finlandia University, Hancock, Michigan and Columbia College, Chicago, share a design education philosophy that is linked to the real world. Finlandia University partnered with the Kuopio Academy of Design to adopt the business-based Finnish education model which requires a cross-disciplinary design and business curriculum. Columbia College engages students with as many real life design problems as possible, requiring innovation in their problem-solving approach to design problems.

This grant supports a collaborative program between the two institutions--The Institute for Global Design Education--which will marry the strengths of their design programs. Ultimately, the institute will be a consortium of international design schools and corporations that will identify, consider and solve international design problems.

This grant supports phase one of institute development in which both institutions will integrate the E-Team concept into their curriculum on a permanent basis. In phase one, Finlandia University will develop two new classes in design and entrepreneurship, while Columbia College integrates E-Teams into its existing course structure. Finlandia proposes to offer the Art and Design Project Management and Art and Design Project courses as a continuing project learning structure within the Art and Design Program. The courses will allow student teams to pursue project work in their sophomore and junior spring semesters, leading up to their senior final project. Columbia College will integrate E-Teams into their five studio sequence. The first three studios teach materials and techniques, design paradigms and product semantics, while the fourth and fifth studios facilitate team project work. E-Teams at both schools will pursue solutions to real-world problems offered by corporate partners including, ED Designs, the largest design firm in Finland; Wilson Sporting Goods, Chicago; and Kone from Moline, Illinois

Invention and Innovation in New Product Development: Freshman/Sophomore, Junior/Senior, Graduate Course Sequence

Missouri State University

In 1997, the Department of Mechanical Engineering launched its Managing New Product Development course. This graduate course is part of the Management of Technology Program at the University of California, Berkeley. It specifically aims to develop interdisciplinary skills in students, for successful product development in today's competitive marketplace. To accomplish a truly multi-disciplinary course experience, the course is cross-listed in three UC Berkeley Colleges including Architecture and Engineering, Business, and Information Management and Systems, and at the California College of Arts and Crafts. Students from these colleges team to work through all stages of new product development, learning useful tools and techniques to execute each step of the process. The course is extremely popular with students, and tends to over-enroll. However, although the course is successful, it has several limitations. One, the course does not support E-Team projects past the end of the semester; two, it does not provide students with seed money to cover project costs.

Drawing from lessons learned in the Managing New Product Development course, the principal investigators will develop two new courses, and improve the Managing New Product Development course. In all three courses, NCIIA funding will provide seed money for E-Team projects during the semester, and support for especially promising teams at the close of the semester. The first new course is called Designing Technology for Girls and Women. This lower division course will cover gender issues associated with new product development. In it, students will apply state-of-the-art information technology and new tools to tackle and design solutions to crucial societal problems where women are the end users. A major goal of the course is to motivate women students to persevere and thrive in engineering. Designing Technology for Women and Girls will work closely with the Institute of Women and Technology and companies within the San Francisco Bay area. The second new course, Introduction to Product Development, provides students with an operational experience in the development of innovative and realistic engineered problems. The course will introduce design concepts and techniques, and will guide students through the process of developing a design or feasibility study. Students will make both individual and group oral presentations, and participate in conferences

Experimental Haptics

Stanford University, 2002 - $27,000

In 2002, the Computer Science and Surgery Department at Stanford University offered CS277, Experimental Haptics, one of the first courses in haptics taught in the U.S. "Haptics" is the dynamic interaction of proprioception (our sense of space around the body), kinesthesis (our perception of external forces on the body), and tactility (our ability to sense the properties of surfaces on the skin), and of the science of using machines to stimulate these systems. The course provides students with basic knowledge of haptics, including current research and commercial potential. Students in the course gain a basic set of tools for developing hardware and software for haptics interfaces. They then form E-Teams to pursue independent projects in haptics with support of the course administrators and the Stanford Haptic Laboratory. Projects from last year's course included: linking the SensAble Phantom to a Sony Playstation to make the surgical simulation available on a low-cost computer platform; developing "Haptic Battle Pong," a video game that integrates the advanced sensibilities of the Phantom; and developing a haptic interface that uses mechanical brakes to simulate contact with virtual objects. In addition to project work, E-Teams attend a lecture series featuring key pioneers in haptic technology.

This project will improve Experimental Haptics with support from the NCIIA, based on lessons learned from the initial course. Though the first course was successful, it lacked several elements that would allow students to pursue even more complex projects or turn existing projects into commercially viable products. Students lacked access to computer hardware and haptic devices crucial to project development. The proposal requests funds for haptic interface hardware, three computers, additional supplies for hardware projects, and patent/publication/marketing funds.

Entrepreneurial Marketing Course

North Carolina State University at Raleigh

Currently, the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater (UWW) offers only one course in entrepreneurship: Product Development. This course covers the process of developing a new product in the context of an established business. In an effort to expand its entrepreneurship program, the UWW Innovation Center will develop a new course in entrepreneurial marketing for new ventures, based on those offered at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and Syracuse University.

The Entrepreneurial Marketing course focuses on the key marketing strategies relevant for new venture initiation, as well as marketing decisions for small and growing organizations. In the course, students learn to:

  • apply marketing concepts to entrepreneurial company challenges
  • take on the special challenges and opportunities involved with developing marketing strategies
  • identify entrepreneurial opportunities from emerging trends in marketing practice
  • develop inexpensive, valid approaches to identifying customer needs and conducting market research
  • design creative approaches to marketing communications, and
  • explore the varying role of marketing strategies among entrepreneurial firms.
The course environment facilitates student acquisition and application of knowledge of new market venture strategies, recognizing variances in the process of different industries and companies


University of Miami

An adverse effect of chemotherapy is that it lowers patients' white and red blood cell production as it attacks their rapidly dividing cancer cells. Progressive reduction in red blood cell counts leads to anemia, while reduction in white blood cells leaves an individual susceptible to infection. In the event of infection, mortality rates for chemotherapy patients can reach as high as 70% if the patients are not promptly treated with antibiotics. Thus, quick detection of infection is critical to maintaining chemotherapy patients' health. Because fever is an indicator of infection, chemotherapy patients and their caretakers must monitor patients' temperatures to ensure patient health. When fever is detected, patients require prompt medical attention.

The ChemoTemp E-Team has developed a fever monitoring and reporting device for chemotherapy patients. Although a variety of related technologies are available on the market to track fever, these products do not provide the comprehensive service offered by ChemoTemp. The device accurately measures patient temperature, identifies fever and risk of fever, and reports fever conditions to the patient and/or caregiver. Patients can wear ChemoTemp comfortably for long periods of time. The E-Team has nearly completed an alpha version of the device, and plan to finish circuit and algorithm developments in the next phase of the project. The E-Team has conducted a market and patent search and found that no like products exist on the market specifically for chemotherapy patients. The team consists of twenty-three undergraduate students from the Junior/Senior Engineering Clinic course, including students from electrical and computer engineering, mechanical engineering, and possibly life sciences students. These students work with a team of twelve graduate students and the clinic course professor.

Smith Engineering Entrepreneurial Initiative

California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo

The Picker Engineering Program is the first degree-granting engineering program at a women's college in the US. In its first year, the program attracted nineteen students; in 2002, twenty-one students declared Engineering majors. In the fall of 2002, fifty-three students enrolled in the Introduction to Engineering course, more than doubling the target number of enrollees.

The Picker Engineering Program strives to redesign engineering courses to make them more relevant to the challenges facing society today, to women, and to other underrepresented groups. The Engineering Design Clinic (EDC) is the program's senior capstone course. In EDC, student teams solve engineering problems posed by industry sponsors. While this is a valuable exercise, it does not introduce students to entrepreneurship.

With NCIIA funding, EDC E-Teams will have the option to pursue their own project ideas, rather than those posed by an industry sponsor. Teams of two to five students will be invited to submit proposals for a design clinic project based on an entrepreneurial idea in April of their junior year. The EDC Director will select teams to pursue their project ideas. EDC will offer entrepreneurship modules to help the entrepreneurial E-Teams progress through the stages of project development. In addition, E-Teams will work with faculty and advisors from the community, including local business leaders and entrepreneurs. The Picker Program will collaborate with the UMass Five Colleges Entreclub. EDC will offer an E-award to the entrepreneurial team that excels in innovation and entrepreneurship in their project work.

Applications of Bioengineering, Bioinformatics, and Basic Biological Science to Current Problems in Diabetes

Stanford University- 4000.00

The ability to understand human disease at the molecular and cellular levels has blurred the boundaries between the basic biological and chemical sciences, engineering, and clinical investigation. Because of this, students from a variety of disciplines want to understand medical problems so that they can successfully translate their research into useful clinical outcomes. In response to this educational need, a team of faculty in Biosciences, Medicine, Bioinformatics, Engineering and Education at Stanford University created a new course in 2001, Introduction to Medicine for Graduate Students in Biological Sciences, Bioengineering, and Bioinformatics. The central activity of the course is interdisciplinary team project work. E-Teams composed of three PhD candidates (one each from electrical engineering, management science and engineering, and one NASA-Ames continuing education student from the Stanford Center for Professional Development) identify an unsolved problem in diabetes and conceptualize a novel solution. Teams develop and present concept papers.

This project supports development of an extension course, Applications of Bioengineering, Bioinformatics and Basic Biological Science to Current Problems in Diabetes. The Applications course will enable E-Teams from the introductory course to further develop their project concepts and obtain preliminary results on their solutions and/or develop early prototypes of medical devices

The Stanford MarrowMiner Bone Marrow Harvest Device E-Team

Stanford University, 2002 - $14,500

In 2000, approximately 40,000 marrow transplants were performed worldwide. In the field of bone marrow transplantation (BMT), an autologous transplant involves bone marrow harvesting from the patient, and feeding the marrow back to the same patient following treatment with high-dose chemotherapy. An allogeneic transplant refers to the procedure of harvesting bone marrow from a healthy donor and giving it to the patient who has received high doses of chemotherapy and radiation.

Because both of these harvesting methods are expensive and tedious, the MarrowMiner E-Team developed an innovative device and method for rapidly harvesting bone marrow and the stem cells bone marrow contains. The team incorporated as StemCor Systems.


In 2008, the team signed an agreement with Hospira, Inc. to develop and commercialize StemCor's proprietary system for the harvest of  bone marrow. 


Floatation Flood Wall E-Team

University of Central Florida, 2002 - $15,500

The traditional method for resisting a flood involves filling individual bags with sand and stacking them to form a flood berm. This method is costly and slow, however, and requires large amounts of manual labor. This E-Team developed a new invention, the Flood Floatation Wall (FFW), which addresses the problems associated with traditional methods of resisting floods. The FFW is self-deploying: the user pre-positions the device at the anticipated flood level and then evacuates the area as needed. It consists of a flexible tubular flood chamber, skirts, and an air-filled flotation collar. As floodwater enters the flood chamber, it expands the chamber and activates the flotation collar, which rises to block incoming water. The FFW incorporates reasonable manufacturing costs, ease of transport, reusability and functional utility in one.

Wireless Entrepreneurs Program


United States
40° 33' 4.3812" N, 85° 36' 8.5104" W

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology - $28000.00

The Electrical and Computer Engineering faculty at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and the Florida Institute of Technology are collaborating on undergraduate entrepreneurial projects in the area of wireless communication and radio-related fields. The Wireless Entrepreneurs Program builds on existing design curricula at both schools, but follows the entrepreneurial model developed at Rose-Hulman, rather than a traditional engineering course format. In the collaboration, faculty and students work on two projects. In one project, students from each school work together on multi-institutional teams on a development project. The student project focuses on developing interactive modules that visually depict and/or simulate the principles involved in cellular and PCS systems. Each team researches, proposes, and develops their own projects for a wireless application, starting in the teams’ junior years. The teams submit a proposal to a committee composed of industry and faculty from both institutions.

The second project involves the development of a small auxiliary radar device that senses the presence of a vehicle in an unsafe zone or detects the presence of a vehicle that is approaching with excessive speed. The project involves the evaluation of both technologies and techniques for sensing as well as providing wireless means for communicating to the dashboard. While faculty and students at each institution work independently, the faculty shares the team findings, approaches, and experiences as development progresses from concept through design, developing, and testing.

Wee Know Child Loss Prevention System

University of Pittsburgh - $15900.00

Child loss is a real fear for child caregivers in today’s society. In 2001, the police received 2,000 lost-child cases. Although the majority of these children were recovered within hours, time spent finding the child meant time spent keeping the family in distress. To deter this problem, this E-Team developed Wee Know, a child loss prevention system.

Wee Know consists of two wireless communication devices: one for the child and one for the caretaker. The child’s device, about the size of a wristwatch, attaches to the child’s wrist; the adult’s device resembles a pager. The devices consist of integrated circuits (ICs) that handle all functions of the system, utilizing radio frequency (RF) for communication. The team’s current prototype integrates a RF transmitter and receiver produced by Linx Technologies. To ensure the correct signal passes between the child and caretaker devices, the communication signal must be encoded. Encoding distinguishes the RF signal from other signals that could cause interference. If the child and adult devices get too far away to properly communicate, an alarm signals.

The Wee Know E-Team consists of four undergraduate students in computer, electrical and mechanical engineering. They work with two faculty members in electrical engineering, and a business advisor from the Wesley J. Howe School of Technology Management.

Equigene Research

California Institute of Technology, 2002 - $12,100

The Equigene Research E-Team used racehorses to identify the genes involved in athletic performance and disease susceptibility. Working with industry advisors, the E-Team, consisting of two PhD candidates in Biology, created a database of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) strongly associated with superior and/or diseased cardiovascular function in thoroughbreds. The team genetically evaluated horses for their racing and breeding potential, propensity for injury, and susceptibility to illness. Using proprietary methods to create DNA tests that allow precise determination of clients' horses’ genetic composition, the team advised horse owners, breeders, and trainers on how to best manage their stock.

MedfoLink Crew

Columbia University, 2002 - $10,450

Every visit a patient makes to the hospital generates at least one medical report. Because of high volume, hospital staffs are unable to keep up manual entry of reports into computer systems for analyzing and statistics keeping. Manual processing of these reports can lead to breaches in patient confidentiality and misplaced files.

For this reason, this E-Team, consisting of two biomedical engineering undergraduates working with faculty and an industry advisor, has developed MedfoLink, a computerized system for processing hospital patient records. MedfoLink adapts the data contained in the Unified Medical Language System (UMLS), a medical language source database containing over 2.1 million concept names in over sixty different biomedical vocabularies, for use by language processing systems. This allows MedfoLink to transform the data from patient records into a format appropriate for computer analysis. With this analysis, healthcare professionals will have the tools to identify trends in the patient population.

Interlink Technologies


United States
43° 11' 37.8672" N, 71° 34' 20.622" W

Dartmouth College - $17350.00

The growing industry of mountain biking faces problems as cycle frame manufacturers face design, materials, and manufacturing constraints in their attempts to reduce frame weight while increasing strength. These limitations result from the disadvantages of conventional fusion welding to join bicycle frame members. To eliminate these constraints, the Interlink E-Team is applying innovative Friction Stir Welding (FSW) technology to bicycle frame assembly. Introduced in 1991, FSW is a cutting-edge solid-state joining technology developed by The Welding Institute, a nonprofit welding consortium. FSW is a simple mechanical process in which a cylindrical pin made of tool steel is rotated, plunged and traversed along a weld joint to create a solid-state, high strength joint.

FSW improves bicycle frames in five important ways.

  • FSW improves frame strength and rigidity with greater joint strengths and fatigue life; elimination of solidification defects; reduced thermal input; and the ability to join higher strength aerospace alloys that are not weldable with fusion welding.

  • FSW lowers frame weights by reducing structural over-design, minimizing join build-up, and expanding the use of higher strength-to-weight ratio aerospace alloys.

  • FSW reduces manufacturing costs by eliminating fusion weld consumables, reducing the number of manufacturing steps, and increasing process automation.

  • FSW providers greater freedom in mechanical design through enhanced joint properties and alloy choices.

  • FSW is an environmentally friendly and safe process with no noxious byproducts.
  • The Interlink E-Team, spread among many institutions, consists of two MBA candidates from the Tuck School of Business, a graduate student in materials science engineering from the University of California at Berekely, and various faculty and industry advisors. The team is designing and building a mountain bike using FSW; completing metallurgical and mechanical testing of simulation joints; drafting and filing a patent for the frames and sub-assemblies; and generating a business plan. Interlink plans to target the high-performance mountain bike market.

    Syrup Out Signal

    Lehigh University, 2002 - $13,900

    Many restaurants serve fountain drinks made of mixed syrup and CO2. Servers and managers monitor syrup levels to ensure quality beverages with manual techniques, such as observing the color of the drinks, lifting the syrup canisters to judge weight, and visually observing containers. In a busy establishment, syrup levels often run low or completely out before a supervisor or server notices, causing poor customer service, poor quality drinks, or interrupted service.

    To remedy this problem, six undergraduates students developed the SOS, or Syrup Out Signal. SOS monitors fluid levels in CO2 canisters and syrup boxes and alerts restaurant staff when the ingredients reach low levels. With syrup in the tubing, the circuit generates a steady voltage output. But when air replaces the syrup in the line, the voltage lowers. This sudden change in voltage causes a radio transmitter to signal a receiver, which supplies current to a light-emitting diode and turns on a warning light, alerting the user to low syrup levels.

    UV-Tube Project

    University of California, Berkeley - $13100.00

    Every year, waterborne viruses and bacteria kill millions of children under the age of five. Improved water supply and sanitation could prevent many of these deaths; currently, however, one out of four people lack access to clean water. Though the technology for disinfecting drinking water exists, high costs make it inaccessible for many. In response to this problem, this E-Team has developed the UV-Tube, a highly effective method for disinfecting drinking water that is also cost effective. The UV-Tube, a very simple technology, eliminates harmful microorganisms directly from the water source, using ultraviolet (UV) light as a disinfectant. The UV-Tube technology is environmentally friendly, deactivating pathogens without generating harmful byproducts. In addition, the technology adapts to different communities and circumstances; users can construct the UV-Tube from locally available parts. It also operates passively, without extensive maintenance or monitoring.

    Currently the E-Team plans to integrate changes from their studies into a new design, investigate additional potential materials (recycled plastic soda bottles, stainless steel, and pottery), redesign the UV-Tube, and test the new design in a real-world situation. The team hopes to complete a list of potential materials and adaptations for users in all types of geographic locations.

    The UV-Tube project consists of several graduate students, one in civil and environmental engineering with field experience in Patzcuaro, and the other in energy and resources. They work with an undergraduate in environmental science, a member of the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, and the director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory, who is also a faculty member, and are advised by Dr. Lloyd Connelly, a representative of the Energy Sector Management Assistance Group, and the president of Grupo Interdisciplinario de Technolgías Rural y Apropiada in Patzcuaro.

    Design of Biomedical Systems and Devices I and II


    United States
    35° 31' 2.9676" N, 86° 34' 49.6092" W

    Vanderbilt University - $36220.00

    Since its inception, the Design of Biomedical Engineering Devices and Systems I and II capstone course, required for all biomedical students, has evolved into a two-semester course. At the onset of the course, students learn from lectures and then transition to team projects. Students divide themselves into teams and choose a project from a list solicited from engineering and medical faculty and staff as well as from industrial sources. Currently, few students carry their projects beyond the confines of the course.

    With added support, E-Teams have the opportunity to extend the scope of their projects beyond the classroom. The new course integrates the engineering and life science backgrounds of senior biomedical engineering students. Students learn design principles and discuss solutions to design problems in medical devices and systems. Guest lecturers cover some topics of interest, such as database design and entrepreneurship. The director of the Own Graduate School of Management has expressed interest in lecturing and possible involving entrepreneurship students in E-Teams. Example projects include genetic identification of hazardous indoor air organisms, a leg compression device to assist in ultra-sound testing, ergonomic chair design, and an O.R. X-ray sighting system.

    For more information on Vanderbilt's Biomedical Engineering Program, visit their website

    The Breast Examination Simulator: A Training and Assessment Tool for Patients and Physicians

    Stanford University, 2002 - $16,700

    Breast cancer is the second most common form of cancer among women in the US and the leading cause of cancer deaths for women. The National Cancer Institute estimates that one in eight American women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. Early detection leads to early treatment and improved patient outcome. Breast Self-Exams (BSE) aid early discovery of the disease, but only 29% of women regularly conduct the exam. Part of the reason for this low percentage is that health care providers do not have a standardized method for teaching breast examination skills.

    In response to this lack of uniformity, the Brest Examination Simulator E-Team developed training tools to simulate breast exams and teach the proper procedure. The team created computerized, strap-on breast models for teaching patients how to perform breast self-exams and plated breast models for teaching medical students, residents, nursing students, and physician assistants to perform clinical exams. Each model simulates various conditions, including normal and pathologic. Both models contain electronic sensors to communicate users' movements to a computer screen as they examine the models. The computer data provides individualized performance evaluations and helps define the quantitative and qualitative characteristics of an adequate clinical exam, thereby standardizing the method. Model development is based on the E-pelvis simulator, which one of the E-Team members designed.

    TUI^2 Certificate Program in Innovation & Product Development

    University of Virginia-Main Campus - $14000.00

    In January 2000, with the approval of the president and college deans of the University of Tulsa, an interdisciplinary team of faculty developed alliances and constructed a comprehensive two-year curriculum for a certificate program in innovation and product development, TUI2. This curriculum and its faculty assist students with the entrepreneurial evaluation, selection, development, management, funding, and nurturing of promising technological developments. Students form E-Teams, collectively select their project topic, and together prove its technical and commercial feasibility. Students have faculty advisors throughout their study and receive the benefits of business community mentors during the last semester of their senior year. NCIIA supported TUI2's efforts by providing funds for prototype materials, technical services, E-Team and advisor travel expenses, course planning expenses and stipends for E-Team summer internships

    An Integrated Approach to Technological Innovation

    Georgia Institute of Technology - $30000.00

    With support from the NCIIA, the Georgia Institute of Technology, in collaboration with Emory University, established an innovative multidisciplinary training program, entitled Integrated Approach to Technological Innovation (IATI). The IATI Program equips science and engineering PhD students with the skills and multidisciplinary perspective necessary to succeed as entrepreneurs. IATI also produces science and engineering (S & E) dissertations with both technical merit and market relevance, and provides Master of Science Management and Doctor of Jurisprudence students with practical experience in a technical research environment.

    As part of the IATI Program, students in management, law, and economics team with S&E students to explore the market potential of the new technologies developed by the S&E students. Team projects focus on research in four primary S&E areas critical to US innovation: biomedical engineering, manufacturing, microelectronics, and nanotechnology. Advised by faculty and industry mentors, these teams develop the technical, legal, and business issues involved with moving fundamental research to the marketplace. Fifteen students participate in IATI each year, joining E-Team projects for the duration of the two-year program.

    Breath-Alert Breath Detection System

    Vanderbilt University, 2001 - $10,440

    Approximately 2,500 infants suffered Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in 1998. Although decreasing, the numbers of SIDS cases is still quite large. Caregivers typically discover the occurrence of SIDS when they check on a sleeping infant. Closely monitoring an infant's breathing gives warning when a problem arises. Breath monitoring is also necessary in other medical cases, such as post-operative patients who have received anesthesia and sleep apnea patients.

    The Breath-Alert device, developed by an E-Team of two MBA students and two graduate students in biomedical engineering, is a general purpose breath monitoring system appropriate for post-operative patients, sleep apnea patients, and infants at risk of SIDS. The device measures carbon dioxide levels to determine whether or not the patient is breathing. Carbon dioxide absorbs light in the 4.2 to 4.4 bandwidth, so the device uses infrared (IR) light to detect carbon dioxide in the ambient air around the patient. Breath-Alert positions an IR source tuned to the appropriate wavelength and power to shine its beam through the exhaled volume of gas. A parabolic reflector placed opposite the source concentrates the IR light at its focal point, and an IR sensor at the focal point detects the transmitted light. A simple algorithm processes the IR transmission data and signals an alarm when breathing ceases.

    CameraMouse (TM) E-Learning Team: Developing Technology for the Disabled

    University of Texas at Austin, 2001 - $14,500

    Increasingly, special education and rehabilitation programs are providing clients with computers and, at the same time, trends show that people with disabilities are getting increased access to programs that have traditionally excluded them. The government supports equal access to computers for people with disabilities, while schools, caregivers, and employers seek new ways to increase opportunities and productivity for their clients or workers with disabilities.

    In response to these trends, this E-Team developed CameraMouse(TM), the only assistive technology hands-free mouse control device of its kind. With CameraMouse(TM), people with severe disabilities can completely control computers. It is image-driven and non-invasive, and does not require head harnesses, adhesive dots, wires, or illumination with infrared lights as other products do. Intuitive even to small children, users learn to operate CameraMouse(TM) within minutes, and they can soon play educational computer games, write with an onscreen keyboard, and surf the Internet. A research paper on the efficacy of CameraMouse(TM) showed that nine out of twelve people with limited voluntary muscle control due to cerebral palsy or traumatic brain injury learned to use the technology. These nine used CameraMouse(TM) to spell words, operate commercial software, and access the Web.

    For more information, visit the E-Team's website.

    Fluent Systems

    University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2001 - $11,600

    The Fluent Systems E-Team received funding to develop a wireless NH3 monitor to help farmers apply ammonia nitrate fertilizer to fields more efficiently. US farmers annually apply fifteen million tons of anhydrous ammonia to their crops using a field tractor and an implement to pull a large tank, creating a long, train-like configuration of machinery. Partly because of this configuration, tractor drivers can’t see the tank fluid level, so they must periodically stop application to read the tank’s levels.

    Fluent’s NH3 monitor solves the problem with a two-module system composed of a tank module that sits atop the field tank and a display module within the tractor cab. The tank module continuously monitors fluid levels and communicates them to the cab using wireless technology. The cab module allows the farmer to track how much product is in the tank without getting out of the tractor to check the tank gauge.

    The product sold well in its first year of commercial availability, but Fluent’s big news came in late 2004, when Raven Industries LLC acquired the company for $1 million. Raven, a diversified manufacturer of plastics, electronics and special apparel products, bought Fluent to help grow its Flow Controls Division.

    Home Heating Wireless Communication System

    Swarthmore College, 2001 - $12,633

    In 2000, an E-Team from Swarthmore College developed a home heating system that utilized many advanced microcontrollers. Although useful, traditional microcontrollers use a cumbersome amount of wiring for communication, making the system expensive to install and difficult to repair without specific expertise.

    To address this problem, the team developed a wireless communication system, called simply "The System." The System integrates Bluetooth chips into microcontrollers' printed circuit boards to allow for short-range operation (10 to 100 meters) while using very little power. For example, The System could exchange commands between a boiler and zone valves, zone valves and thermostats, and thermostats and boiler, all without hard wiring.

    The E-Team included members from the original Home Heating System E-Team as well as several new recruits.

    Smart Parking Lot

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2001 - $14,900

    In continental Europe and the UK, the parking industry has developed innovative solutions to accommodate the increase of cars in limited spaces, but parking technology in the US hasn't reflected these industry changes. Recognizing the need for improved parking technology in the US, this E-Team has developed appropriate technology in response. With Preora, ImargenAR's proprietary technology, wireless sensors in each parking spot alert drivers to empty spots within the lot.

    For lot owners and managers, the sensor technology provides constant, accurate information on parking lot occupancy and allows them to keep the lot at full capacity and serve customers better. The sensor system is compatible with automated payment systems, like E-Zpass, and bar code scanners at each spot ensure that customers park in their allotted spaces. Preora could also aid in increased security if linked with license plate scanners and facial recognition systems, monitoring those entering or leaving the lot.

    With the sensor system, customers can reserve a space over the Internet or telephone.

    Low Complexity Noise Monitoring Systems

    Dartmouth College, 2001 - $12,500

    Noise pollution is a major problem in many communities. Big industry, military operations, and airports are all capable of producing damaging levels of sound. Wilderness areas need to monitor noise to protect wildlife. Because this type of pollution has a high impact on the safety and quality of life, this E-Team from Dartmouth College developed, by request from Lebanon Municipal Airport, an efficient, low-cost, and portable noise-monitoring system.

    The system is a robust, weatherproof, and portable package backed up with solar power for use anywhere. It employs digital and analog technology, and is equipped with long and short-term data storage, user-friendly hardware and software controls, and data analysis software. The system automatically monitors low-complexity noise and records its findings.

    Cargo Organizer Project

    Loyola Marymount University - $14620.00

    Drivers of sport-utility vehicles, trucks, and many cars often have difficulty keeping their cargo organized because they have no dividers or containers to separate the space and accommodate packages. Consequently, groceries often spill out of bags, sports equipment rattles around, and many items are lost or damaged. To address this problem, this E-Team from Loyola Marymount University has created a multipurpose organizer for storing and transporting cargo safely. The Cargo Organizer is easy to use, carry, collapse, and store. In addition, it is expandable and can fold down, making it adaptable to many types of vehicles. Customers can also use the product in homes and offices to organize toys, clothes, office supplies, or tools.

    The Cargo Organizer E-Team is confident that their product is better than anything currently on the market because of its versatility, maneuverability, and cost. Because of this they believe that this unique package is attractive to many different markets.

    The Cargo Organizer E-Team is comprised of MBAs, graduate students in engineering and product management, and an undergraduate in mechanical engineering with an emphasis in design. Team advisors include a mechanical engineering professor, an entrepreneurship professor, and two mentors: the President of PML, Inc., who can address design and prototyping issues, and the President of Brubaker & Associates, an expert in accounting and marketing

    IPRO 353 Sensor Systems in the Transportation Industry

    Miami University-Oxford - $18150.00

    This E-Team from the Illinois Institute of Technology has developed a safety device for railroad tank cars, many of which carry toxic and hazardous commodities. The cars would be equipped with a monitoring device that combines the most advanced tiny chemical sensors with modern telecommunications technology and the internet. This integration allows for advanced warning to loading or unloading sites, thus reducing the risk of a dangerous accident. The device can detect small leaks in the tank car valves and fittings, enabling maintenance before any hazard develops

    Painless Injection Method and Device

    University of Cincinnati, 2001 - $17,800

    Over the next ten years, more than 73 million vaccinations will be given to children under the age of five. For most of these children, receiving an injection will be a traumatic experience due to the pain. This pain can be attributed to the size of the needle and the speed with which the medicine is injected. As a child receives additional vaccinations, they often develop a psychological aversion toward injections. Eventually, just the sight of a needle can elicit a fearful response from the child. The parents are often just as emotionally affected as their children.

    The Painless Injection Device, or PID, is a revolutionary and innovative product that eliminates the trauma associated with vaccinations. With the PID, the needle is hidden from sight, its diameter is below the threshold for sensing its insertion, and the medication injection speed (one to five minutes) is below the threshold of pain. This E-Team from the University of Cincinnati believes the PID has enormous potential to positively alter the lives of millions of children and their parents.

    Breast Augmentation Instrument - BME 590 Technical Entrepreneurship

    Stanford University - $9800.00

    This E-Team from the University of Miami has designed an instrument that eases the insertion of implants when using the transaxillary breast augmentation procedure. The device works by holding the implant in an upright position. The first prototype is being made out of stainless steel. Eventually, the team wishes to test that prototype in surgery and, depending on the results, take it to mass production.

    The team plans to make the prototype out of plastic, allowing the instrument to be disposable. If the design is successful, the team can use a thermo jet machine (FDM) to mass-produce the tool in a plastic form using three-dimensional drawings. This tool could promote surgeons to switch over to this newer procedure, thus promoting a much safer and efficient breast augmentation surgery.

    The Vayusa Team (Modiv Media)

    Babson College, 2001 - $8,400

    Seven years ago, the Babson College Vayusa E-Team created a mobile commerce solution that allows people to pay for products with their cell phones. At the checkout counter, the customer dials the company, enters a four-digit PIN, chooses a payment method (credit card, debit, etc.), and confirms purchase. The Vayusa platform also contains a loyalty card management system, allowing retailers to reward consumers for using certain payment methods. Vayusa's system is fast and safe, requires no additional equipment installed on either side of the transaction, and can be utilized with any existing cell phone.

    After graduating from Babson the team went on to incorporate as MobileLime, completed a round of funding that brought in $2.2 million, and launched in Boston with twenty-one employees in March 2003. In 2007 the company merged with Cuesol to become Modiv Media, developer of a next generation retail media delivery platform.



    Digital Lap Counter and Timer for Swimmers

    Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, 2001 - $11,200

    The Digital Lap Counter and Timer for Swimmers frees swimmers' minds of lap counts so that they can concentrate on their positioning and stroke dynamics. The device consists of an underwater pad placed directly over the wall at the end of a swimming lane. Inside are digital displays that show a swimmer's current lap count and either total swimming time or their current lap time. Also inside are pressure-activated switches that sense a swimmer's lap change when the swimmer presses the pad while pushing off the wall into the next lap. All of the computing, saving of data, and counting takes place just outside the pool in a small waterproof box connected to the underwater pad by a short cable. This box has a simple user interface and a standard DB9 serial port socket for connection to a personal computer. When the device is connected to a PC, the swimmer can download swim data, giving them the ability to chart their improvement between different training sessions.

    Entrepreneurship Implementation: Internet-Based Business

    University of Arkansas Main Campus - $19000.00

    Entrepreneurship Implementation: Internet-based Business is a course for students interested in the start-up phases or management of a new Internet-related business or technology. This course is appropriate for students that have already taken a business plan development course and seek to form and implement their E-Team plans. The course has a "how to do it" practical emphasis. Students who complete the course will know how to implement a business plan, understand the technologies involved in Internet-based businesses, and how to proceed with the fundamental, underlying implementation tasks required to start an Internet-based business. Each E-Team student in the class selects a project, problem-solves, and completes the project with their team members, learning the critical tasks involved in a new venture implementation

    Creative E-Teams Developing Global Products

    Loyola Marymount University - $15200.00

    LMU's College of Science & Engineering and College of Business Administration will develop and integrate three unique courses during one academic year: New Product Development, International Marketing and Entrepreneurship.

    The project combines faculty from engineering, business, and applied psychology that have expertise in design, marketing/entrepreneurship, and team building, respectively. The goal is to form diverse E-Teams of engineering and business students who design creative products for international customers. The E-Teams perform product planning, market research, design, prototyping, and write a business plan. They focus on developing unique, high risk/high reward products leading to a factor of 10x improvement over existing products. The E-Teams conceive products that "improve the quality of life for people."

    Six E-Teams, each composed of 5 students, will design their product around their customers' needs in different geographical areas. The E-Teams will address the different social/economic, environmental and cultural needs that affect their product's design. The students will interact both in collocated teams and in virtual teams. The virtual teams will collaborate over the Internet using ipTeamSuite software from Nexprise Inc. This project will integrate engineering, marketing and entrepreneurship for meeting the changing demands of the 21st century

    IdentiChem, Inc.

    University of Tennessee, Knoxville, 2001 - $13,500

    The IdentiChem E-Team formed in a course called "Technopreneurial Leadership" taught by Dr. Lee Martin at the University of Tennessee. While researching a proposal for the US Food and Drug Administration, the team determined that polyamines, istamine, putrescine, and cadaverine are all indicators of tissue breakdown and can be monitored using Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy. Their device provided near-time results for a problem that has been estimated to cause as many as 33,000 annual cases of illness from seafood in the US.

    The E-Team consisted of four MBA students with backgrounds in engineering and medicine. They targeted sales to the seafood industry as a faster and more cost effective measurement tool.

    Comfort Computing, Inc.

    Comfort Computing Inc. (CCI) designs, develops, manufactures and commercializes computer accessory products that promote ergonomics, mobility, and productivity to mobile computer users. CCI plans to lead the market with the Portable Computer Laprest product, an accessory for users of portable computers in the home, office, or hotel. The product addresses an unarticulated market need from home workers, telecommuters and students that seek alternative computing environments. Laprest allows users to operate their computers from their laps comfortably and free from the dangers of repetitive stress injuries or excessive heat generated by the machine.

    The team is comprised of two Babson College MBA students. One student has done brand development and the other has an MS in Engineering Design with significant work experience. Their advisors include two entrepreneurship professors and a physical therapist. The Babson College Incubator Program is providing office space and $5,000 for startup expenses. The E-Team's plan includes securing patents, creating prototypes, conducting further market research, writing a market plan, and making models for manufacturers.

    Stanford University - $7400.00

    Comfort Computing Inc. (CCI) designs, develops, manufactures and commercializes computer accessory products that promote ergonomics, mobility, and productivity to mobile computer users. CCI plans to lead the market with the Portable Computer Laprest product, an accessory for users of portable computers in the home, office, or hotel. The product addresses an unarticulated market need from home workers, telecommuters and students that seek alternative computing environments. Laprest allows users to operate their computers from their laps comfortably and free from the dangers of repetitive stress injuries or excessive heat generated by the machine.

    The team is comprised of two Babson College MBA students. One student has done brand development and the other has an MS in Engineering Design with significant work experience. Their advisors include two entrepreneurship professors and a physical therapist. The Babson College Incubator Program is providing office space and $5,000 for startup expenses. The E-Team's plan includes securing patents, creating prototypes, conducting further market research, writing a market plan, and making models for manufacturers.

    Wyoming $10K Entrepreneurship Competition


    United States
    43° 4' 33.4848" N, 107° 17' 25.0224" W

    Clarkson University - $29500.00

    This program will help create E-Teams to compete for the University of Wyoming's $10K Entrepreneurship Competition. The competition, started in FY 2001, rewards students who have excellent business plans for viable ideas with financial support to take their projects to the next level. In addition to financial support, through the process of preparing for the competition, the $10K Entrepreneurial Competition provides students with a thorough education in business planning and entrepreneurship, mentor contacts, and networking opportunities. The addition of E-Teams adds a new dimension to the $10K competition by providing additional support to students throughout their process, and by helping students form teams. The program encourages the formation of well-rounded E-Teams composed of students from different disciplines, through "student mixers" where students can network after listening to a guest speaker. E-Teams receive funding for project materials, to supplement UW's business plan writing course fees, and for intellectual property protection.

    NCIIA funding will also be used to expand the existing list of entrepreneurs available for E-Team mentoring, and to fund venues for students to work with their mentors. Funds will also be used to support the 10K project itself, the competition's newsletter, website, and judging process.

    Exploring Innovation Technologies Using RF Technology for Engineering Applications


    United States
    40° 3' 29.9664" N, 74° 24' 20.3796" W

    Moravian College and Moravian Theological Seminary - $2000.00

    This grant supports the new course Invention, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship under Rutgers' Special Problems in Civil Engineering Course. This course is a unique addition to the Rutgers Engineering curriculum, to be institutionalized after the pilot semester. The class is the first step toward the creation of Rutgers Invention Institute, to promote invention and creativity in engineering at Rutgers. The undergraduate/graduate course will lead E-Teams through brainstorming new ideas, identifying problems and solutions, completing assessments of an idea's commercial potential, and writing business plans.

    The E-Teams will work on radio-frequency identification (RFID) as the focus of their initial projects for the pilot course and possibly future courses as well. In addition, the class will undergo ennegram personality typing to help them understand their own personality types and to better understand the people they are working with, be they managers, teammates or investors.

    Technopreneurial Leadership Center


    United States
    35° 31' 2.9676" N, 86° 34' 49.6092" W

    California Institute of Technology - $27000.00

    This program helps graduate level E-Teams launch tech-based businesses through the Technopreneurial Leadership Center (TLC) at the University of Tennessee. TLC is a recent initiative of the university, which works in collaboration with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Using ORNL technologies as the product, E-Teams form a company, establish a business mission, research the product's market potential, create a virtual presence for the company, and manage its operation for the duration of the course. By the end of the two-year program, E-Teams are equipped to launch their ventures.

    Creation of an E-Team Prototyping Service Center

    University of Pittsburgh - 17500.00

    A New initiative Grant Title Creation of an E-Team Prototyping Service Center Institution: University of Pittsburgh Grant # 462-01 PI Michael Lovell Budget Item $ Approved Web development 1,000.00 Prototyping services 3,500.00 Brochures and publicity 500.00 Total $5,000.00

    Teledaze Step-In Telemark Binding

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - $11500.00

    This grant supports the development of a new step-in telemark ski binding. Using NCIIA funding the team will further develop and refine a design for a binding that improves on existing technology to provide a superior step-in binding with few moving parts, low weight and applicability to both lift area and backcountry situations. The members of the team include dedicated teleskiers and a group of advisors with appropriate experience and connections. The team will build and test prototypes, develop a market survey and business plan, explore IP opportunities, and ultimately launch the product.

    Technical Entrepreneurship Portable Insulin Cooler

    University of Nebraska-Lincoln - $21800.00

    This grant supports the development of a prototype for a small, portable, battery-powered cooler for transporting heat- and cold-sensitive materials such as insulin for periods greater than forty-eight hours. The device will be cost competitive with existing coolers using cooler packs, and will offer greater temperature control, longer storage, and additional features, such as a syringe and blood sugar measuring equipment compartment. The market is projected to be 50 -100K units based on diabetic usage in the US. The E-Team is composed of five biomedical engineering students and faculty advisors from the department. The team is working with two companies that manufacture the key components of the device, a thermoelectric cooling system and moldable paraffin insulation.

    CS 426 -Senior Project

    Lehigh University - $6000.00

    This grant project introduces an E-Team approach to the Computer Science Department's Senior Project class, with the objective of ultimately merging the class with the combined Electrical Engineering/Mechanical Engineering course supported by previous NCIIA grants. The teams will develop, prototype and lay out a business strategy for their ideas in the spring semester. The teams will have mentoring faculty with a specialty in the area of development, active mentoring from an outside industry advisor, and access to extensive on-campus computing resources. Teams will present their ideas at the end of the course

    MME 498, 499 Senior Design MMI 421/521 Entrepreneurship

    Lehigh University - $26500.00

    This project incorporates E-Teams into a program focused on technical innovation. Drawing on students from business and technical disciplines and providing coursework in entrepreneurship and product development, a select group of students identified through a competition have the opportunity to pursue technology-based product and business concepts in a team setting. The curriculum is centered on a two-semester design sequence and a sequence of entrepreneurship courses offered in the business school. Interdisciplinary teams from the engineering and business schools form around product or business concepts. A previous emphasis on specific assistive and design projects for clients will be replaced by a more open-ended and commercial set of evaluation and development criteria.

    University of Colorado at Boulder - $7300.00

    Proposal seeks support for development and launch of a web based electronic community guide. The team has developed prototype sites in their local area and are planning to create a system that can be readily transferred to suburban and rural communities in partnership with a small local newspaper. The community guide has partnered in their prototype systems with a local paper that provides content. They sue an advertising and sponsorship revenue model that brings in revenues from an early stage. The project won second prize in a local business plan competition and has had a prototype system operating in a several local communities for some time. In one locations the site had a very high usage rate (2200 hits/week from a community or 4400). Support is sought for computer equipment, web programming services, team stipends, business expenses and supplies. Item $ Requested $ Approved Networked Laser Printer 2,500 0 Web Development/Programming Services 8,500 3,300 ECG Team Members Stipends 5,000 0 Domain Name Renewals and Expansions 800 800 Office Supplies 500 500 Intern Stipends 1,500 1,500 Annual Hosting Service Fees 599 600 Info USA Business Listing Directory 600 600 Total $19,999 7300 The proposal was originally submitted as a replacement for a previous proposal ShopLoco # which was abandoned before the $ was used. They have requested more than the account balance as an additional grant. The project has come a long way. They are operating in a very crowded space, but have identified a niche (suburban / rural) that the larger players have ignored so far with their regional sites. The focus on local politics, issues and information supported by local advertisers, primarily small businesses, could be challenging, but may be worth a try. The team is highly motivated and has strong recommendations.


    University of Nevada-Reno - $12325.00

    This E-Team received a grant to design and prototype an outdoor "café" chair made from a new material called Supramics, a composite made principally of flyash and sawdust combined under pressure in the presence of supercritical CO2. The team leader is an advanced graduate student with substantial experience in furniture and materials design. He has put together a strong team and obtained the assistance of the owner of the technology to be used for design and prototyping. The target market is inexpensive outdoor furniture, a very large commodity market. The proposed product is designed to be more durable, heftier, and more attractive than existing products. The work plan involves design of the chair, prototyping in various materials, construction of molds and prototyping the finished product

    Tuck General Management Forum - Team Project

    Rowan University - $29800.00

    This project supports the work of teams within a newly modified intensive first-year management curriculum. The program provides students with a hands-on opportunity to develop and plan a new business venture in a team setting over the two years of their MBA program. The Forum (as the program is called) provides self-directed team experiences with a focus on E-business creation (although any opportunity is open). Students are encouraged to form teams and pursue ideas of their own creation or those suggested by alumni or sponsors. Outside speakers and consultants participate. Teams develop ideas, work closely with a research librarian to do an industry survey, and write business plans. The first year culminates in a presentation of the business plan to a group of venture capitalists. Successful projects can continue in the second year as the focus of work in an entrepreneurship class and as an independent study under two faculty advisors. Long-term plans for the development of an incubator are underway, in collaboration with the medical and engineering schools.

    Screening Probe System for Coronary Artery Disease

    Case Western Reserve University, 2000 - $20,000

    This grant supported the prototyping, further development, and commercialization planning of a gamma imaging system to assess the risk of coronary artery disease. The system, based on new gamma imaging sensor technology, is intended to compete with existing technologies such as stress testing, EKG and ECT imaging by providing a lower-cost, higher-resolution test.

    Update: The team has incorporated as NeoMed Technologies, secured two patents and received over $700k in funding.

    Hinman Campus Entrepreneurship Opportunities (CEOs) Program


    United States
    39° 2' 44.718" N, 76° 38' 28.5756" W

    University of Maryland - $4000.00

    The Hinman Campus Entrepreneurship Opportunities (CEOs) program, the nation's first living-learning entrepreneurship initiative, brings students together from diverse majors to learn how to start their own businesses. A specialized, high-technology "e-Dorm," seminars and workshops from venture capitalists and successful businesspersons, industry-student mentoring, and unique entrepreneurship education courses give students a stimulating and supportive environment in which to dream and realize their ideas. The program culminates in a business plan for each new student venture and assistance in obtaining financing.

    For more information about the program, visit the Hinman CEOs website

    E3: Education, Empowerment, and Entrepreneurship Awareness

    St. John's University - $19500.00

    This grant supports the development and implementation of an entrepreneurship curriculum at a large (20,000 enrollment) community college in the Chicago, IL suburbs. The program incorporates elements of existing outreach programs with a focus on technology topics, and brings in hydroponic growing systems as an area of technical and product focus. The college is currently involved in a web-based Mars exploration simulation program. This project is the focus for the development of hydroponic growing and robotics curriculum materials and kits. Students come into the program through courses, speaker forums, an exposition, and competition for innovation prizes. Opportunities for commercialization are provided through a local SBDI grant

    Starting an Internet-Based Business

    University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus - $2000.00

    This project establishes a semester-long course in which students in the Lubin School of Business have the opportunity to conceive, plan, and develop ideas for internet businesses. Teams of students form after taking a business planning course to develop and plan business concepts, analyze and research these concepts, and then implement them in prototype form with the assistance of hired web programmers and external mentors from the local area (Silicon Alley). The objective is to develop and provide marketable concepts that will be developed further as Advanced E-Teams or startup ventures.

    The course has access to the resources of the business school, including a mentoring program. Plans are underway to provide internship opportunities for students working on startups, and expand the network of mentors. A short but impressive list of existing members includes the founder and CEO of Quicken and Corcoran.

    Mechanical Systems Design

    Dartmouth College - $13700.00

    This grant supports the incorporation of innovative and entrepreneurship activities into the senior level Mechanical Systems Design course at the University of Rhode Island. The new course format splits the class into groups of four each plus a member from the Business School at URI. Each group works in the fall semester on one of several different, product-orientated design projects. The students are asked to perform a patent search, critique related products, prepare a marketing study, propose a design of this product, and realize their design using a 3-D solid-modeling software. At the end of the fall semester, groups compete for funding for activities in the following spring term that include building prototypes of their design, formulating business plans for commercialization, and applying for patent protection. The new format gives students better understanding and exposure to the entrepreneurial process of the product design and innovation

    Imagination and Product Planning, Innovation and Technology

    California State University-Fresno - $17850.00

    This grant supports a program in entrepreneurship that is offered as a minor to nonbusiness (technical & other) majors at Miami University. The PI previously received a planning grant for the development of this course. The grant supports two classes which, taken together, constitute the core components of a team-based approach to entrepreneurship. The first course focuses on creativity and productive ideation with content provided on teaming, creativity, and related topics. All exercises have a commercial focus. The second course focuses on technological entrepreneurship and provides opportunities for teams to develop around technologically based commercial opportunities. Both courses feature extensive guest lectures and draw on resources beyond the university by including mentors and guest speakers. E-Teams that form in these courses go on to focus on the development of their ideas in a capstone entrepreneurship course already in place.

    Biomimetic Hip Prosthesis

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2000 - $5,500

    The major limiting factor in the lifetime of total hip prosthesis is wear and its incumbent problems. The current implant lifetime is ten or fifteen years, which is typically insufficient for most active patients, and revision surgeries are often necessary.

    This grant supported the development of patent protection and the pursuit of licensing agreements for a novel approach to increasing the durability of artificial replacement hip joints. The team consisted of one student and a broad group of advisors working to develop basic technology sufficient to obtain patent protection and initiate licensing arrangements.

    The innovation is a method of mimicking the lubrication capabilities of natural cartilage with a synthetic matrix containing molecules that mimic the weeping and ionic re-uptake of synovial liquid that protects the bearing surfaces.

    Arthroscopic Simulator

    North Carolina State University at Raleigh - $13500.00

    This E-Team has developed a mechanical device which allows surgeons to practice various arthroscopic techniques on the knee, in order to develop better techniques and muscle memory. The device incorporates feedback mechanisms to allow for performance monitoring. It is portable, affordable, and easy to use

    A Flexible Protein Modeling System for Undergraduate

    Michigan Technological University - $13900.00

    This E-Team will design, build, and field-test a flexible protein modeling system to be used in conjunction with physical, three-dimensional models of proteins. These physical models are produced using rapid prototyping technology at the Center for BioMolecular Modeling at the Milwaukee School of Engineering. The addition of a flexible modeling component to these otherwise static models will greatly enhance the interactive nature of these instructional aids.

    The models will be field-tested in conjunction with the summer program of the BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium, an organization of undergraduate educators committed to innovative curriculum development. In addition, the market potential of the product will be evaluated and a commercialization strategy will be developed for 3D Molecular Designs, LLC, a newly formed company that focuses on the use of rapid prototyping technology to produce accurate, physical models of proteins and other molecular structures.

    The PIs include the developer of the technology, an entrepreneurship faculty member from Carthage College, and an influential curriculum development specialist from Beloit College. Student team members come from each of these three schools and will be on site at MSOE.

    Guardian 2000 Global Monitoring System

    University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus - $12500.00

    This grant is helping to further develop and market the first of three models of "Guardian 2000 Monitoring system." The earlier version of this system continues to receive extensive national/international media coverage through TV, radio, Internet and national newspapers. Individuals and companies from around the world have expressed interest in buying or distributing the product. The "Guardian 2000" is a cutting edge invention designed to monitor the location of children, Alzheimer patients and other valued people and material items. Based on responses from media coverage and market research, the market demand for this product is growing rapidly. The E-Team consists of highly qualified faculty advisors (from both technical and business disciplines from two universities), technical and business experts/mentors, engineering and business students to insure success in bringing this device to the market.

    This system has been prototyped in a NCIIA supported class; this grant supports a multi-institutional, multidisciplinary team of students from ETSU and LMU to develop production prototypes, business and marketing plans, and patents

    AMES 15: Introduction to Engineering Graphics and Design

    Hampshire College - $13350.00

    This program draws on the personal experience of the PI in teaching freshmen through senior students. He finds that students who are introduced to teamwork and projects as freshmen are much more capable of creating high quality senior design projects than those who have not. This program incorporates teams and design projects into a large (200 or more students), standard introductory CAD course. Emphasis is placed on creativity, project management, teamwork, and learning from the iterative nature of design to overcome obstacles. Students who wish to pursue their ideas after the completion of the course will have the option to form pre-E-Teams. These teams meet periodically in their sophomore and junior years in preparation for a senior level Advanced E-Team project

    The Bio-Logic Fuel System

    Hampshire College, 1999 - $14,225

    This E-Team, now incorporated as Greasecar, developed a kit that enables conventional diesel engines to run on unrefined waste vegetable oils. Biofuels are becoming increasingly important due to concerns regarding fossil fuel supplies, pollution and costs of pollution control, and other environmental concerns.

    This project originally developed in the NCIIA-funded course Technological Innovation for a New Agriculture: Redefining the Tractor at Hampshire College. After receiving the grant the team founded Greasecar, which now has fifteen employees and annual sales over $1.2 million. They've sold over 4,000 Greasecar kits to date.

    News update



    ME 446 - Integrated Design II: Drag Reduction of Tractor-Trailers

    Hampton University - $15500.00

    Lessening the pressure drag on trailers can increase fuel efficiency in long haul semi-trucks. Clarkson University and Composite Factory, Inc., are jointly developing a drag reduction device that could cut fuel consumption by 5%, potentially saving US truckers about $2 billion per year.

    Update: This project has spawned several graduate degrees, undergraduate research projects and received a grant from NYSERDA for over $300k. The team also made the news:

    The Why Files

    BUS 100 - Business Perspectives

    Clark Atlanta University - $6000.00

    This course in technological entrepreneurship is part of a new program in technology entrepreneurship within the school of business. The course reaches over 200 freshmen and involves mentoring by senior students, seminars and visits to J&J plants. Business plans and presentations are the main deliverables. The course is well-supported by faculty and the administration, with plans proposed to fully fund it after its second year.

    MME 498,499 Senior Design

    Clarkson University - $2000.00

    UAB's current senior design curriculum is based on mechanical engineering design teams solving industrial-based problems. The problems are formulated by industrial clients who must be satisfied with the final product offered by the design team. This NCIIA-funded program keeps the current client/team format of the design process while adding to selected teams a business component comprised of a marketing team member from the MBA program or Engineering Management program at the UAB School of Business and a patent attorney mentor from the local community.

    Projects selected for E-Team design must develop a business plan, conduct market research, and perform a patent search. The design team incorporates the business plan and results from the market analysis and patent research into product design. The team submits the written reports on the business plan, market analysis, and patent research, demonstrates how these plans and studies were incorporated into the product design, and explains how the design was affected by these inputs. The team also builds a prototype of the product and provides test information demonstrating its effectiveness in meeting the design goals

    Stanford Medical Device Course & Prototype

    Stanford University - $45000.00

    This E-Team program supports the development of early stage commercialization of products formed within the Medical Device Network at Stanford University. The program draws on the Medical Device Design Program in the medical school and the Product Realization Lab in the engineering school. The program combines three elements. The first is the twice yearly Medical Device Invention Challenge, where students design solutions around a medical problem ripe for innovation. The program also offers a new course sequence in medical device design that is open to undergraduate and graduate students and will be a combination of lectures and team projects. The last development supports medical device ideas that occur outside the sequence of courses, called Medical Device Prototyping Pathways. Typically, this part of the program requires student independent study where the faculty develops pathways and student-driven E-Teams with mentors

    Integrated Principles of Business II - BUAD 302

    California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo - $10009.00

    This program is the continuation and expansion of a course sequence in entrepreneurship and product development. The courses are taught by faculty in management, marketing, operations, and law. Faculty and students communicate using, a site that allows the faculty to place course materials online and where students may post and share information. Eight E-Teams are formed and charged with developing product ideas and initial marketing plans during the first semester. In the second semester, students further develop their concepts, define production and service requirements, and create a business plan. Each team has its own online space for discussion, a whiteboard, and a drop box for file sharing. A network of graduate students and mentors support the student teams formed in the course

    Curriculum for Inter-University E-Teams

    Illinois Institute of Technology - $19100.00

    This project develops two unique interactive courses between Loyola Marymount University (LMU), the lead institution, and East Tennessee State University (ETSU), the supporting institution. The two courses will be New Product Development and Entrepreneurship. Graduate engineering and MBA students from LMU interact with undergraduate/graduate engineering and business students from ESTU. The university teams communicate using ipTeam Suite software for data exchange, design creation and changes, information sharing, messaging and group sharing.

    The product concepts focus on space-saving and portable devices, devices for the handicapped and elderly, products that improve the quality of life, and sports recreation products. The instructors feel that this project opens new opportunities for inter-university and industry-university E-Teams to jointly develop innovative projects. The definition of E-Teams broadens to include "E"= Excellence, Entrepreneurship, and Electronic Interaction

    The Cue Card Emergency Medical Aid

    Stanford University, 1999 - $20,000

    Observations and published studies reveal that retention of emergency first aid and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) skills is difficult. When these skills are not regularly used, both lay people and highly trained professionals (police, nurses and doctors) lose the ability to give adequate care within three months after training. This E-Team team developed a device that gives audio prompts to a rescuer, coaching a standard lifesaving algorithm. The device is about the size of a credit card and inexpensive to produce.

    The team first started work on this idea in an advanced product design course called Needfinding. They found a common lack of confidence amongst survey respondents in being able to retain CPR training. The two students on the team were graduate students in product design, and they were assisted by a faculty advisor in product design and several industry advisors with experience in the medical industry, business development, and product design.

    University of Miami, College of Engineering E-Team

    University of Virginia-Main Campus - $14000.00

    An E-Team course for juniors and seniors within the College of Engineering, the initial area of focus for this program is biomedical innovations that build on existing coursework. The course runs for two semesters, and successful E-Teams are encouraged to apply for Advanced E-Team funding in the second semester. Teams are supported to design and patent projects.

    During the first semester the teams develop a business plan and attend weekly lectures on topics such as intellectual property, market analysis, budget development, and manufacturing. In the second semester, the teams meet biweekly to report progress and solve problems found during independent work. At the end of the second semester, they present a prototype and marketing plan. Support is available for teams that decide to continue their projects

    Simple Anastomosis Device Team

    Stanford University, 1999 - $20,000

    The standard method surgeons use to join grafted blood vessels to host vessels in cardiac bypass surgery is called hand suturing. This procedure creates a tight seal but is time-consuming and subject to a "purse-string effect," a common cause of bypass surgery failure. In most cases, the heart must be arrested during the procedure, leading to poor recovery and multiple complications. This E-Team received funding to develop and prototype a device that joins grafted blood vessels to host vessels in cardiac bypass surgery. The technology joins the vessels together without the complicated maneuvers that are difficult to perform on a beating heart. The procedure requires only fifteen seconds to implant the device and establishes the required "intima to intima contact" (the inside of one vessel to the inside of another vessel) between the anastomosed vessels.

    The device is low cost and straightforward to manufacture. Due to its simplicity, surgeons can easily adopt the device and method since it does not require extensive training. The device that the team designed allows for minimally invasive surgery and would have fewer complications than other options.

    A Venture Capital Fund to Encourage Rapid Product Development in the Junior and Senior Clinic

    University of Wisconsin-Whitewater - $30000.00

    A renewal and extension of Rowan University funded Junior Engineering Clinic I and Junior Engineering Clinic II, this program supports a joint Rowan/NCIIA Venture Capital Fund. The Venture Capital Fund provides the opportunity for multidisciplinary E-Teams to propose, plan, and implement an original, semester-long product development enterprise. Student E-Teams involved in the program create a corporate structure to develop a prototype and write a business plan in one semester. Teams must form early, have an original idea, and be interdisciplinary in order to receive funding. Teams who do not receive NCIIA funding in the course join other teams or work with an industry or faculty sponsored project

    Senior IPD Project Course

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - $15000.00

    Proposal requests renewal of funding for E-Teams in Lehigh IPD program. Program is multi-disciplinary design and business development program run in conjunction with the Ben Franklin Incubator. Funding would enable 2 teams to develop prototypes and marketing & business plans. Teams are well supported and the IPD courses offer very good support for E-Teams including lectures and connection with industry and business mentors and access to the incubator center for successful projects. ITEM $ Requested $ Approved E-Team Prototype Development $4,000 $3,000 Technical services 2,000 1,000 Support services 4,000 1,000 Summer stipends for students 2,600 0 Equip 1,000 1,000 Supplies 200 200 Travel 200 200 Patent & legal 200 200 Market analysis 200 200 Business plan development 200 200 Posters, presentation mtls and reports 400 200 $15,000 $7,200 The proposal is very well rounded and likely to produce good E-Teams. The funding requested is quite high although the teams work on projects which are often quite complex and involve elaborate prototyping. Recommend funding at $7200 based on comparable expenses in the programs with the removal of internship expenses. Encourage applications for advanced support for summer funding Fund at reduced level of $7200.

    Obsidian Cyclops

    Lehigh University, 1998 - $20,000

    This E-Team created Obsidian Cyclops, a novel high end mountain bike front shock. Aimed at the downhill segment of the mountain bike industry. Obsidian originated from a Lehigh University design project in the Integrated Product Development course. The project explored the possibility of and then prototyped a single blade suspension fork to improve on existing fork designs.

    A Novel Digital Bathroom Scale

    University Nevada-Reno - $17,000

    Unlike most scales that sit on the floor, this scale replaces the seat of a toilet, thus combining the function of the scale with the form of a toilet seat. The team researched, invented, designed, constructed a prototype of the scale, and demonstrated both the functionality and the appeal of the product. The scale is designed to function and mount, via hinges, onto a commode just as a standard toilet seat.

    The Toilet Scale may be sold as a novelty gift, home improvement item, or as a health care device.

    MedScan3D: The Development of an Affordable Three-Dimensional Ultrasonic Scanner for Medical Applications

    Ramapo College of New Jersey - $19720.00

    This team is developing an ultrasonic scanning system that scans and creates an image of the exterior of human body parts in three dimensions. The initial uses for the device will be medical applications such as the development of orthodic devices. Using new ultrasonic transducer technology, the team is funded to assemble, develop, and test a scanning helmet or barrel that will provide a CAD compatible output of the exterior surface of the scanned person or object.

    The team plans to patent and license the technology. The technology should be of comparable quality to laser-based scanners, easy-to-use, portable, and less expensive than existing products.

    The faculty advisor has assembled a group of advisors from the medical industry, electrical and computer engineering, mechanical and aeronautical engineering, as well as an expert in business and entrepreneurship. The students working on the project are recruited from a design course that he instructs.

    Introduction to Engineering Design and Follow-on Courses

    Kettering University - $9500.00

    This grant supports the creation of an E-Team "clinic" for continuing projects from an existing Introduction to Engineering Design course or other sources. Funding supports prototyping, patenting, market research, and further product development. The technically oriented teams of engineering majors each sell their ideas to business students from the management school business planning class. Students work with mentors to write business plans as they refine their products. Each semester, three to five teams work on patenting and commercializing their products. The students work on the projects on a non-credit basis, register for independent study credit, or complete projects for other classes

    Design of Mechanical Systems

    NCIIA supported development of a new capstone design course at RPI that utilizes product concepts developed by MBA students in the business school. Projects are unrestricted and teams seek NCIIA Advanced E-Team grants for further development. Product ideas are thoroughly researched prior to the development of prototypes and full business plans. Teams are formed from classes of MBA and engineering students

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - $19600.00

    Proposal seeks support to create an internet business providing tutorial information in a customized format utilizing a streaming data approach. Subject matter is extremely variable, the concept is a tool for delivery on a for fee as paid awaiting module. The team is in formation (student member) but has excellent advisors & would seems to be in a good position to implement this business strategy rapidly. Initial content for the 'tutorial' system would be in programming for ecommerce & is available to the team. Commercial prospects are bolstered by the previous business success of one team member and an advisors whose position in ACSIOM (Umass computer Sr Tech transfer) would be especially helpful. ITEM $ Requested $ Approved Web Hosting 2,000 2,000 ILS Software Training 2,000 2,000 Travel Expenses 3,000 3,000 Legal Fees 750 750 Phone / Long Distance / Internet Access 250 250 Third Party Interface Design 1,000 1,000 Narrative Services 500 500 Hardware for Multimedia Development (Digital Camera) 700 700 Hardware for Multimedia Development (MiniDisc Recorder) 500 500 Hardware for Multimedia Development (Multimedia Tower) 1,450 1,450 Software for Multimedia Development (Sound Editing Software) 400 400 Software for Multimedia Development (Graphics Editing Software) 300 300 Summer Internships (2) 3,500 3,500 Professional Consultants 400 400 Electronic Commerce Industy Reports 850 850 Trade Show Fees 2,000 2,000 $19,600 $19,600

    Patent Evaluation and Entrepreneurship

    Swarthmore College - $7100.00

    This course creates interdisciplinary E-Teams that evaluate the commerical potential of on-the-shelf, patented, university-owned technologies. The curriculum focus is on business planning and creation; students develop prototypes and pursue commercialization if the ideas are feasible. The central feature of the course is the use of E-Teams to move patented but unexploited technologies into the marketplace.

    An E-Team to Design a Very Low Power Network


    United States
    41° 12' 11.9592" N, 77° 11' 40.29" W

    University of Pittsburgh - $12500.00

    This E-Team developed a prototype for a system that establishes a network of wireless devices within a small area using very low power and RF radio transmission. The transmission distances may range from a few inches to a few meters.

    Communication over short distances with very low power creates a wide array of new applications of RF technology. The applications for this technology are diverse, ranging from wireless patient monitoring devices to food safety monitoring for the meat industry. The technology originated in a funded E-Team course EE1185, Microprocessor Systems.

    The E-Team plans to develop a prototype and perform a market study on the device. Members of the E-Team are computer and electrical engineering students.

    Mechanical Design/ Digital Systems Design

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - $12300.00

    This project used NCIIA funding to create an E-Team course at Howard University, entitled Mechanical Design / Digital Systems Design. The course is a two-semester design sequence incorporating electrical engineering and mechanical engineering students into E-Team projects. Students select topics, research market potential, write a feasibility plan, and build prototypes. The curriculum includes information on intellectual property (IP), lectures on business topics and a competition between teams to create the projects worth of applying for Advanced E-Team grants.

    Smart Product Design

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - $13500.00

    For this project, Dartmouth College used NCIIA funds to purchase rapid prototyping equipment, leading to E-Teams’ development of mechatronic, or “smart product” ideas. The grant funds supported approximately sixty students, some working independently on E-Team projects, and some first and second-year students enrolled in ENGS 21: Introduction to Engineering. All students were required to define a problem, brainstorm for a solution, test and prototype a design solution, and propose a commercialization strategy.

    Introduction to Design and Inventive Engineering

    This project supports a new course at George Mason University focused on team-based problem solving in a civil engineering context. In the course, E-Teams form and solve a pre-established problem, e.g., stormwater runoff pollution control in urban areas. Experts on the particular subject are brought in to consult to the E-Teams; these experts attend lectures, make class presentations, and interact with students on a regular basis. Students are encouraged to create innovative designs and aim for commercialization.

    Invention and Entrepreneuring

    University of Virginia-Main Campus - $3500.00

    This course is for students who have taken a course in creative problem solving to apply what they have learned by inventing or developing a product or a process. In addition, students learn additional principles of entrepreneurship and hone their teamwork skills in E-Teams. The course is team taught by one professor in mechanical engineering and one from business management. Both have taught creative problem solving and model the process throughout the development of this interdisciplinary pilot course. The course is a one hour seminar and three hours of lab per week for student E-Teams to work on prototyping and patent searching. Students are drawn from engineering, computer science, and engineering management. Topics covered in the course include teamwork and communication, creative problem solving, patenting, entrepreneurship, and marketing. The course will teach an inventing process including problem identification, idea generation, feasibility study, design and specifications, and prototype construction and testing

    Technological Innovation for a New Agriculture: Redefining the Tractor

    Columbia university

    This project supports a course focusing on the development of innovations in organic, tractor-based agricultural cultivation. E-Teams work to create a tractor that runs on vegetable fuels and uses non-chemical weed control devices and implements. E-Teams also pursue innovative approaches to problems with diesel fueled tractors.

    Mark I

    California Institute of Technology, 1998 - $20,000

    This E-Team developed a compact, powerful electromagnetic tool that can be used for removing dents from auto bodies quickly and efficiently without damaging painted surfaces. The technology is competitive with standard methods of dent removal but does less damage to the paint on the car. The concept originated from an experiment a student did to remove a dent from his car with a natural magnet.

    The team identified a market of more than 26,000 auto body repair shops nationwide, as well as secondary markets of car dealerships, rental car dealerships, do-it-yourself consumers, and metal garage door repair professionals.

    The E-Team drew from students in engineering, applied science, physics, economics, mathematics, computation and neural systems, and electrical engineering at Caltech, University of California at Berkeley, and the University of California at Los Angeles. The team also included technical advisors and a financial advisor.

    Integrated Design

    Drexel University - $3500.00

    This two-course sequence is required for all seniors in the Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering Department. The fall deliverable is a set of engineering drawings and a manufacturing plan. Teams select products from a list of ideas. The spring project is a tested prototype. Seventy students take the course and form eight to ten E-Teams of about six to seven students each. NCIIA funding allows students to focus on the development of quality prototypes

    Junior Engineering Clinic I

    Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art - $10000.00

    In this project, Rowan University's Engineering Clinic incorporated an E-Team structure, enhancing the existing entrepreneurial focus of the Clinic. NCIIA funds were used for E-Team prototypes and product development in the junior and senior phases of the Clinic's four-year course sequence. Throughout the sequence, courses are team-based and focused on design and development of products. Innovation is stressed and students are encouraged to create new technologies.

    Development of a Hand Held Sewing Machine

    Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art - $11900.00

    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

    Strategic Invention

    NCIIA supported the incorporation of E-Teams into a business strategy and planning course at the University of Wisconsin Whitewater. Students develop projects based on innovations they develop themselves or obtain the rights to develop. Groups call on the network of experts the university has assembled for market assessment mentors. No prototypes are built in the course, but business plans are written and presented to a panel of entrepreneurs, and the option to continue work as Advanced E-Teams is available

    Heat-Driven Refrigeration System

    Illinois Institute of Technology, 1998 - $18,000

    This E-Team originated in the NCIIA-funded course, Invention Project. The team is designing a refrigeration system that uses heat sources to create cooling.

    The refrigeration system will be marketed to developing communities where electricity is scarce. Industrialization goes hand-in-hand with the spread of refrigeration, as it creates a way of storing and transporting food. Heat-driven refrigeration systems have unique capabilities. They are capable of using waste heat from a power plant, an industrial process, or an agricultural process to provide cooling at little extra cost, and can also use solar power or energy produced by low-grade fuel.

    GEEN 1400: Designing for the Community: Practical Multidisciplinary Engineering Design Courses

    This project supports the integration of E-Team development into an existing course in the Integrated Teaching and Learning Lab (ITLL), a progressive, high profile program at the University of Colorado at Boulder. The course currently requires students to complete group work for clients; the focus of this project is the development of more entrepreneurship-related content and a greater focus on commercialization within the course.

    Virginia Composite Wheel Team

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - $19718.00

    The proposal requests funding for the development of a commercial prototype of a composite auto wheel and a proprietary process for producing it. The project seems feasible and well thought out. There is ample commercial potential if it is well executed and the students involved appear to have the appropriate background and skills to carry it out. The proposal has strong support for the advisor who advises a number of E-Teams. The budget request is appropriate and the proposal is well written presenting a clear work plan and time line. A total of $19,718 is requested for: Equipment: $1,799 Internships: $4,500 IP: $2,300 Travel: $500 Supplies, etc.: $10,619


    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - $14900.00

    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 courseInvention: Creative and Legal Perspectives at Ramapo College

    GEEN 2400: Innovation for the Community

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - $8900.00

    This E-Team-focused course, Innovation for the Community, offers lectures on entrepreneurship, IP, and team development from visiting mentors. E-Teams learn first-hand about product development by designing, building, and testing interactive learning exhibits for K-12 classrooms. Students explore the market potential for such products and evaluate competitor products at the Association of Science-Technology Centers conference. An important part of this course is that students "learn by doing."

    The course is offered to sophomore engineering and business students who have not taken the course First-Year Engineering Projects. Experience has taught the PIs that students work harder and produce better products when they serve a real client. Students gain an understanding of how innovation causes people and society to change for the better. The course is part of the Integrated Teaching and Learning (ITL) Program that began as a grassroots, college-wide initiative to reform the engineering curricula to incorporate hands-on, team-oriented, project-based learning

    Commercialization of the Cooper Cooler

    Cooper Union, 1998 - $16,000

    This E-Team developed the Cooper Cooler, a shoebox-size device capable of chilling a bottled or canned beverage from room temperature to refrigerator temperature in less than a minute. The device provides rapid, natural cooling of the internal contents using only ice water and a spinning device. The process is perfectly safe for carbonated beverages like beer and soda, which are not agitated and do not explode upon opening.

    The idea for the Cooper Cooler was born on a summer day in 1992. Faced with the age-old college dilemma of running out of cold beverages at a party he was hosting, Cooper Union engineering student Greg Loibl was inspired to use his engineering skills to solve the "academic" problem. Loibl worked on the idea as part of his chemical engineering master's thesis, and, sensing commercial promise, co-founded a parent company, Revolutionary Cooling Systems, Inc. The Cooper Cooler experienced strong commercial success and is now sold around the world through major retailers like and

    Entrepreneurial Studies in the Natural Sciences

    University of Massachusetts Amherst

    To meet the growing need for business skills in technically-trained individuals, Carthage College founded the Entrepreneurial Studies in Natural Science (ESNS) program, an integrated undergraduate program in technical entrepreneurship. The ESNS Program begins with a one-year course covering a range of materials including: accounting and marketing; intellectual property and regulation; personnel management; communications and presentation skills; international business issues; information retrieval and organization; creativity; and an overview of technical careers.

    Following the initial course work, students participate in a hands-on internship to prepare them for their senior technology business project. NCIIA funding allows ESNS to integrate E-Teams into the year-long course, by modifying the course work activities, re-ordering and supplementing topics, and reformatting the entire second semester curriculum to shift from individual to team projects. This class was developed with support from a Planning grant in the March 1996 cycle.

    Invention Project

    Embry Riddle Aeronautical University-Daytona Beach

    The Invention Project is an extension of the Invention and Innovation Project, which received a Course & Program Development grant in the December 1995 cycle to support IIT's innovative curriculum. The program has advanced considerably since the award of its first NCIIA grant. The program generated the Advanced E-Team Automotive Ozone Pollution Fighter, which won the BF Goodrich Invention Award in the undergraduate division; Professor Ruiz was invited to speak about the E-Team course before the Harvard Business School Club of Chicago; the program was awarded a grant from the US Department of Education for curriculum development and dissemination of the "Invention Center" concept, providing more resources for E-Teams; IIT is establishing E-Teams into all levels of its undergraduate program and the university is renovating a 30,000 square foot building for the "Invention Center". With the NCIIA Level II grant, the Invention Project class offered continued support for the development of E-Team projects in the class, and for equipment for the students.

    Cedarville Ethanol Challenge Team - Reformer Project

    Northwestern University - $14000.00

    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

    MGRS 487 Entrepreneurship/ EE491 Senior Design

    The Evergreen State College

    With NCIIA grant funding, a new product design course was created at the University of Nevada/Reno by Professors M.S. Fadali and R.C. Barnes. By combining EE 491 Senior Design and MGRS 487 Entrepreneurship, the Entrepreneurship and Senior Design course prepares students for today's marketplace. Within the course, multi-disciplinary groups of engineering and business students form companies and are asked to build a product and investigate its market potential. To provide students with a concise but clear representation of the organization required to accomplish this task, students use the "Hierarchical Process Modeling" (HPM). HPM requires the collection of considerable information, yielding insights into the operation and potential of an organization as a whole. NCIIA funding provided students with HPM software and equipment, prototype development money, and legal assistance with patent searches.

    E-Tech E-Teams

    Swarthmore College

    Springfield Technical Community College is developing a new course, E-Tech E-Teams, to generate student E-Teams. Within the course, E-Teams conduct research on engineering technologies and analyze the findings; carry out experiments in product development; and then identify, create, and market new products. The content of the course curriculum includes mathematics, written/oral communication, historical aspects of design, scientific principles and business knowledge. E-Teams work with entrepreneurs from the on-campus technology business incubator in the areas of telecommunications and optics. The courses and materials developed at STCC are used as the basis for a model for a technical entrepreneurship curriculum to be offered to a consortium of State Community Colleges.

    Ergonomic Design for Special Populations

    This grant helped introduce E-Teams into a design course focused on developing new technologies for people with disabilities. Teams of students worked with clients to create new assistive technologies to suit their client's needs. A seminar and practicum approach emphasizing teamwork made E-Teams central to the course pedagogy. Students were encouraged to pursue innovative solutions to design challenges

    Concurrent Engineering & Engineering Design

    Drexel University

    The High Pressure Optical Cell (HPOC) is a research tool that enables the modification of food proteins, decreased freezing temperatures and dewatering foods. HPOCs are also used as a tool in the study of lipid/protein interactions, protein denaturation, virus dissociation, and drug-membrane interactions. Any innovations in HPOC technology will impact future research in biomedical, pharmaceutical and food science research.

    The Concurrent Engineering & Engineering Design E-Team has developed a new HPOC design, enabling researchers to introduce a second component to the original sample while both components are under pressure. This innovation allows researchers to observe initial molecular interactions in real time and at high pressure via fiber optics, and in the process gather previously unobtainable data.

    MECH 452: Design Synthesis

    University of Nevada-Reno

    Mechanical Engineering 452: Design Synthesis is an existing senior design course at University of Nevada/Reno. In the past, the course has focused on teaching students the fundamentals of product development. With NCIIA funding, the course has been revised to include product innovation, elements of entrepreneurship and invention, and early stage E-Teams, modeled after Professor John Kleppe's well-structured Electrical Engineering E-Team class at UNR. Each E-Team functions as a start-up company, creating their own organizational structure, and submitting a pseudo-business license. The teams then construct a proposal detailing the team's ideas and begin product development. Student teams compete within the class and are evaluated on their commercial potential as well as their technical content.

    Surgical Dustbuster

    University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus

    Many surgical procedures require the removal of fluid from the surgical site using a vacuum system. The typical source of suction in the surgical field is a large tube connected to a wall vacuum at one end of the operating room. Because the suction system's tubes run across the floor of the operating room and need to be maneuvered like a garden hose, the system is ungainly and awkward. To address these problems, the Surgical Dustbuster E-Team is developing a prototype portable, freestanding unit for removing fluid where wall suction is unavailable, or large capacities for fluid collection are not required. This device incorporates a surgical vacuum with greater maneuverability and lower cost, making it suitable for use in outpatient settings as well as traditional operating rooms.

    New Product Development and Venturing

    This project supported development of New Product Development and Venturing, a course offering students the opportunity to design a product and take it to market. The course is modeled on the E-Team concept. Students design a new product, develop a feasibility study, learn about patenting and seed capital sources, and work in a team with product-oriented entrepreneur mentors. Each E-Team makes two formal oral presentations to a panel of entrepreneurs and professors: one on its business feasibility study and the other on its product design. An award is presented to the E-Team with the best presentation

    Automotive Ozone Pollution Fighter

    Embry Riddle Aeronautical University-Daytona Beach, 1997 - $18,000

    The need to run an internal combustion engine more efficiently and with minimal environmental effects is the driving force for this E-Team's ozone generator development project. With the introduction of ozone into an engine's intake gases, combustion becomes leaner. However, because ozone cannot be stored in tanks, it has to be produced on-board the vehicle. The E-Team has developed an innovative ozone generator that contains no moving parts and is compact, fitting into existing vehicles with little or no modification to the vehicle.

    The team is currently evaluating the effects of adding ozone to a 1996 Chrysler mini-van that has been converted to run on propane. This device mitigates the inherent problems of high initiation energy required by high octane alternative fuels and creates a cleaner burning engine.

    The Automotive Ozone Pollution Fighter E-Team began as a student team working on a natural gas vehicle as an independent project with Professor Francisco Ruiz as the team's faculty advisor. As the project progressed, several of the members participated in Professor Ruiz's NCIIA Invention and Innovation class in the spring of 1996. The project was one of the first to emerge from the class, with an E-Team of seven engineering students. The E-Team received the 1996 B.F. Goodrich Inventor's Prize in the undergraduate category.

    Climbing High to Fitness

    Northeastern University

    The Climbing High to Fitness E-Team has created the Wall Climber 2000 (WC2000), an indoor rock climbing simulator for use as a training instrument and low impact exercise machine. The WC2000 consists of a collapsible climbing deck that rotates with a speed and incline chosen by the user. The hand and foot holds, made of rubber to simulate a rocky surface, change as the climbing deck rotates, according to the difficulty level chosen by the user.

    At this stage, the Climbing High to Fitness E-Team is creating an advanced prototype of the WC2000. In addition, the team is working to better understand the exercise equipment market, by conducting market research and drafting a business plan. In the fall the E-Team plans to apply for a patent. The Climbing High to Fitness E-Team originated in a team based design course at RPI and is composed of five engineering students.

    EE1185, Microprocessor Systems

    University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus

    The Microprocessor Systems annual engineering course considers the interfacing between microprocessors and computers in general, which normally leads to communications with and control of many different types of physical devices and technologies. Students are required to consider all aspects of design, manufacture, and marketing. With NCIIA funding, two E-Teams have been generated in the class - Argus and EarTronX. Each E-Team was challenged to design a prototype device for locating lost hearing aids. Both prototype devices included a target in the hearing aid, and a locator implement. The E-Teams presented and discussed each prototype with five industry experts and entrepreneurs and submitted individual designs as a part of national and local competitions. The E-Teams plan to apply for Advanced E-Team funding.

    Soil Aeration: Use of Windmills to Regenerate Anaerobic Soils by Active Aeration

    Carthage College

    In areas where organic waste products have accumulated in excess, the oxygen in the soil is often depleted. When this occurs the soil becomes anaerobic and waste material degrades very slowly, and can prove to be toxic. This E-Team has created and refined a new windmill design intended to aerate anaerobic soils, thereby restoring artificially anoxic environments. Applications for soil re-aeration with the compact, inexpensive windmill are rejuvenating coastal dredging lands, constructed wetlands, and landfills. The market envisioned for this aeration system includes private property and government restoration projects.

    During the grant period, the team is completing a patent application, and field-testing prototypes with several potential customers at sites around the country. The Soil Aeration E-Team originated in Professor Michael Gorman's Invention and Design course at the University of Virginia.


    University of Massachusetts Amherst

    The OmniSport E-Team has designed the SideWinder, an electric wheelchair capable of moving in any direction while the rider faces forward. Using any number of compatible input control devices such as a joystick, mouse, track ball, or voice control the rider controls the wheelchairs motions through a track ball drive system. The increased mobility offered by this design provides the rider with the choice of participating in a wider variety of sports and offers greater accessibility in the office and home.

    The OmniSport E-Team is now in the process of researching the market potential of the SideWinder and determining the feasibility of the technology. The team originated in an introductory engineering design course, and consists of three engineering students, and a faculty advisor. The team is recruiting advisors with adaptive equipment expertise.

    Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship

    University of Nevada-Reno

    This program is an interdisciplinary product and business development course conducted online. Students form E-Teams at the six South Dakota University (SDU) campuses around the state. At the beginning of the course, ten teams form, and include at least two technology-based members and two business members. Most teams have a team leader who is a student funded by the South Dakota National Science Foundation EPSCoR program. The E-Team works with a local mentor from a technology business to identify the product, conduct research, and create a development plan.

    The course is delivered to students at SDU campuses using the internet in conjunction with two-way video and audio technology. Successful technology entrepreneurs present to the teams about product development and business issues. Topics and activities in the program include legal issues, sources of capital, budgeting, brainstorming, and successful collaboration. The objective of the course is for E-Teams to continue to work with businesses and organizations to make the projects a reality. Some E-Teams will continue work to compete for financial awards and support

    Senior Project Design

    For the past twenty-five years, Drexel's College of Engineering has required its students to take a Senior Project Design course, taught by a team of faculty from each engineering department save chemical engineering. Within the course, students work in teams, developing solutions to problems of practical and societal importance, while at the same time learning about intellectual property, ethics, professionalism, and design. What was missing from Drexel's Senior Project Design course, in the opinion of the professors, was an entrepreneurial component. With NCIIA funding, the engineering faculty team teaching the course were able to modify the class curriculum to include entrepreneurship by exposing students to entrepreneurial success stories from other engineers, and targeting E-Team projects with commercial potential for further project development.

    Project on the History of Black Writing

    University of Virginia-Main Campus

    The Project on the History of Black Writing E-Team is developing a omprehensive bibliographic database of African-American novels in an interactive learning environment on CD-ROM and, by license, on the internet. A prototype CD-ROM is under development that includes author biographies, full texts of novels, photographs, pointers to critical sources and advanced search tools. Much of the literature on the CD-ROM is now out-of-print, making this a valuable resource. The team intends to develop a range of indexed bibliographic offerings in an electronic format for distribution to scholars and libraries worldwide. Initial market surveys indicated substantial interest in the product among academic and municipal libraries.

    Students and faculty from Northeastern University, the University of Virginia, and James Madison University collaborate on different aspects of the project, calling on the strengths of each institution, in the first virtual E-Team. The content is provided by NEU, the programming by UVA and JMU.

    This E-Team joined the Project on the History of Black Writing eleven years after it was founded by the Cooperative Research Network in Black Studies. Since 1984 the Cooperative has compiled an extensive bibliography of writing by African-Americans in the last century and a half, including over 2,000 records. The work of the E-Team makes this previously inaccessible bibliographic resource available to a wider audience.

    Miniature Ice Resurfacer

    University of Virginia-Main Campus

    The Miniature Ice Resurfacer E-Team has developed an innovative ice resurfacing machine called the Ice Chief. The Ice Chief is a lightweight, portable, and relatively inexpensive machine intended to maintain quality ice surfaces on private skating rinks or ponds. The device is towed behind a standard garden tractor and will be priced to make it accessible to small municipalities or individuals with access to a pond or artificial rink. To date, the E-Team has built a working prototype that successfully cleans an ice surface; collects debris; then resurfaces the ice in one pass. The E-Team plans to continue prototype testing and refine the design, while writing a business plan in partnership with the RPI Incubator Program. The team is also conducting a patent search and prepare a patent application.

    The Miniature Ice Resurfacer E-Team originated in an RPI engineering design class. The team consists of six engineering majors, several with minors in economics or computer science. They plan to launch a business to market this product in 1998.

    HP Design Team

    Clarkson University

    The HP Design Team has developed an educational software game to teach middle school students about the connection between humans and nature. The game simulates Adirondack Park in New York state. In the game, the player is the park manager, and has to solve the problems posed in different park simulations. Through the problem-solving process, students learn how people affect the park economically, environmentally, and socially and how these aspects are interdependent. Students also learn the park's history by means of a slide show.

    Product Design Studies I & II

    Trinity College

    This project supports the establishment of a design studio for the first two semesters of the interdisciplinary design curriculum at RPI. The curriculum, designed to support students in independent design work, follows on the Introduction to Engineering Design course already offered. The studio provides ongoing support for E-Teams after IED, and includes shop equipment for modeling, digital cameras, and computers with scanners and printers.

    Invention: Creative and Legal Perspectives

    Invention: Creative and Legal Perspectives is the first course on invention offered at Ramapo College. The course integrates students from a variety of disciplines, including science, business, and the arts. With a NCIIA grant, Professors Anderson and Sherman revised the curriculum to extend over two semesters. In the first semester, the professors divide students into teams of four and challenge each group to identify a problem in daily life and solve it with an inventive solution. Students begin this process by listing daily problems and annoyances they would like to eliminate. After this initial exercise, students then form new teams and work together on invention ideas culled from students and faculty. Each team applies its newly gained knowledge in the course to its own invention, constructively reducing the invention to practice. The goal of the course is to motivate students to invent and to supply them with the minimum legal and business know-how they need to produce, market, and protect an invention.

    InterSecT Project

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

    Current search engine technology on the internet will often provide the user with several thousand entries, leaving it to the user to find the most valuable information. In addition, the user interfaces currently available can be difficult to use. In response to these problems, this E-Team has begun development of the Internet Secretary Tool (InterSecT), a software package which serves as a highly personalized, smart web browser. The InterSecT browser works to continually learn and relearn the likes and dislikes of the user. When prompted to find a specified piece of information, InterSecT accesses an array of internet search engines, chooses the results it judges the user most values (based on what it has learned about the user's habits) and reports back. With each completed search, the selective abilities of the personal browser become more refined and gain accuracy.

    InterSecT utilizes several cutting edge technologies, such as neural net programming, to create an innovative, powerful, and user-friendly end product. This product makes the internet easier to use and extends its benefits to those with little or no computing experience, and/or limited hardware resources.

    The InterSecT E-Team was founded by Josh Lifton, an honors student at Swarthmore College who is pursuing a double major in physics and mathematics and a minor in computer science, during his semester at Hampshire College as a Lemelson Fellow. When Josh returned to Swarthmore, he applied for an Advanced E-Team grant to continue his advanced project working with another computer science student, faculty from Swarthmore and Hampshire Colleges, and four technical and business advisors. Josh is now in the process of recruiting business students to help him conduct more extensive market research and develop a business plan.

    Invention and Entrepreneurship

    California State University-Fresno

    With NCIIA funding, Professors Timothy Stearns and Ed Sobey collaborated to create Invention and Entrepreneurship, a prototype for a permanent course challenging students to create a business to invent and sell toys. In the course, students from the Sid Craig School of Business, the schools of Education and Human Development, Natural Sciences, Engineering, Agriculture and Technology, and Arts and Humanities form E-Teams and learn how to work creatively in those teams, designing, building and testing mock-up toys, while developing a comprehensive business plan. The inventions and plans are presented to business leaders, venture capitalists, inventors, patent attorneys, and course participants.

    The toys developed in the course include: Paragear, a launcher with a parachute attachment that fits to the back of an action figure; The Orb, a sphere that balances on a pedestal with pegs placed in the orb; The Ringer, a ring toss game that builds hand-eye coordination; and Stack-O, a marble game.

    Virtual Security Research

    St. John's University - $8500.00

    The Virtual Security Research (VSR) E-Team recognized a lack in affordable and creative security systems for the Internet. To fill the gap, the team evaluated existing software solutions and made improvements in usability, user interface, and security.

    The team received second prize for their business plan in Northeastern University's $60k business plan competition. They then founded Virtual Security Research in 1998, and have since been focused on providing quality network and application security consulting services. They have clients in the financial services and commercial software sectors

    Student Originated Software

    The Evergreen State College

    Student Originated Software (SOS) is a multi-disciplinary, year-long, full-time program offered each year at The Evergreen State College. In SOS, students gain the skills and in-depth practical experience of working in teams on the planning, management, design, implementation, and installation of a major software project by creating software for actual clients. Each E-Team organizes itself, finds its project and "real world" client, prepares a feasibility study, and completes the software development. SOS stresses innovation and creativity, and a multi-disciplinary approach to software development. NCIIA funding strengthens the market research portion of the curriculum, supports E-Team projects, and allows Evergreen to update equipment for the course.

    MECH 452: Design Synthesis

    The Evergreen State College

    This course is a renewal and expansion of NCIIA grants MGRS 487 Entrepreneurship/ EE491 Senior Design and the previously funded MECH 452: Design Synthesis. The course has produced several high quality E-Teams and businesses. An interdisciplinary program, it is offered to mechanical and electrical engineers, emphasizing product development, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Students are divided into "companies" and develop new products or prove new technologies that will subsequently be marketed or licensed. Guest lecturers from industry discuss various topics including intellectual property, venture capital, inventing, and entrepreneurship. This course is also taken for credit by MBA students who help the E-Team develop business plans. Each E-Team must develop a working prototype. Funding is for direct use by each team for product development and marketing

    Design and Management of Biomechanical Products

    Michigan State University

    Design and Management of Biomechanical Products is a popular course among students at Michigan State University. In the course, teams of engineering and marketing students study the technical feasibility and market need for their product ideas. The products the teams create must function mechanically with the body and provide tangible benefits for end users.

    Some examples of student projects include: All-in One, an improved baby bottle with a vent to eliminate airlock and air bubbles; and Air-Form, a children's structural toy made from inflatable plastic. Before the class received NCIIA funding, students paid for prototyping and research costs with their own money, thereby limiting the scope of their projects. Funding allowed students to fabricate more sophisticated prototypes of their projects. In addition, funding purchased additional machines for the prototyping shop, to accommodate the increased number of E-Teams.

    TEC 210 - Product Development Lab I

    Wheeling Jesuit University

    The Department of Technological Studies (DTS) of Wheeling Jesuit College offers a Bachelor of Science in Innovation and Technology. The major is designed to provide students with a broad range of knowledge, skills and experience in processes used to develop successful products for commercial markets. Innovation and Invention is a required class for the Innovation and Technology degree.

    In the course, student groups form to design innovative products with commercial potential. Product Development Lab I is an extension of Innovation and Invention, offering students the opportunity to further develop those products. NCIIA funding allowed students to create prototypes of their products, and conduct market research. Student projects included a cold weather breathing mask, an improved automated garage door and opener, and a system for real-time readout of long distance telephone charges for home use.

    Mechatronic Product Development

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

    Mechatronics is the integration of mechanical systems and electronics focusing on sensors and actuators technology. This mechatronics design course takes an interdisciplinary approach by integrating both mechanical and electrical elements of design. The program is a two-course sequence involving about sixty students per semester, in which E-Teams form and design products. Both engineering and marketing students are on each E-Team. Students are encouraged to develop, patent, and market their inventions.

    The first course, Mechatronics Design, features an acute emphasis on learning how to interface and control a series of sensors and actuators with a microprocessor. Students form teams, envision a product, and then move onto the second course, Mechatronics Product Development. This course includes students from business-related fields. Teams develop and create plans to market the envisioned product. The culmination of the two-course mechatronics sequence is an event at which students publicly exhibit their products. This event is an opportunity for students to find the encouragement and support to continue developing their innovations.

    Developing Solutions to Real World Problems

    Northeastern University

    In GE 1103 Engineering Design, first-year students work in teams of three or four on design practice modules that incorporate a broad range of engineering disciplines to develop solutions to real problems. Problems addressed in the course include humanitarian demining in third world countries, increased ozone in the troposphere, and the multiple problems experienced by refugees in troubled areas like Goma, Zaire.

    The class serves several functions: first, it introduces students to the different disciplines within engineering; second, it helps students gain an understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of engineering problem-solving; third, the class provides students with the opportunity to address a range of valuable problems; and fourth, it allows the faculty to integrate their personal experiences and expertise with a set of core topics in engineering and design. The course integrates with a campus-wide E-Team recruiting effort throughout the school's Entrepreneurship Program.

    MAE-497-Invention and Innovation Curriculum

    Illinois Institute of Technology

    IIT launched its Invention and Innovation Project in the fall of 1995. The class curriculum goes beyond the traditional lecture style by focusing on an academic experience based on personal coaching. The idea is to give the students an opportunity to look at engineering projects as an art – the art of invention. To emphasize this point, the class is structured as a studio class, such as those common in architecture and fine arts programs, but with a technical content. There are fifteen students in each studio, which behave as a small, high-tech firm engaged in developing new products.

    In one semester, the products must move from concept to design, prototype, patent, and business plan. NCIIA funding provides money to the student teams for project development and commercialization, as well as additional equipment for class use. Thus far the class has produced a team that won Advanced E-Team funding, the Automotive Ozone Pollution Fighter. Also, two products are nearing commercialization: a portable ladder for hunters, and a car seat for infants that massages them as the car moves. The class is taught every semester at IIT. A continuation of support for Dr. Ruiz's class was approved in the October 1996 round.

    Turning Students into Inventors (TCC315)

    University of Virginia-Main Campus

    Through participating in E-Teams in the Invention and Design course at the University of Virginia, students study the invention process and learn how to create environmentally conscious designs and products. With this NCIIA grant, the course modules were altered to incorporate hands-on innovation. The objective was to provide students with enough financial and development support to make significant progress toward patenting and marketing new technologies that both make a profit and make the world a better place to live. This course has generated several Advanced E-Teams, including the Soil Aeration E-Team and the Inventor's Toolkit E-Team. Professor Gorman also works with the Solar Airship E-Team.

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