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.
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).
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.
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.
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 intelliject.com 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.