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.
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.
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