Open Minds 2012

Two Open Minds teams featured on Medgadget

Two NCIIA E-Teams--and attendees of our recent Open Minds exhibition in San Francisco--that are working on new wheelchair designs were recently featured in Medgadget, an online journal of emerging medical technologies. Read up on GRIT Leveraged Freedom Chair and IntelliWheels.

Open Minds 2012 Video Competition Judges

The Open Minds video Competition

Congratulations to our video competition winners! Earth2Block's video was recognized for Greatest Social Impact Innovation AND Strong Arm Ergonomic Lifting Safety System's video was recognized for Best Pitch Delivery. Both teams won $1,000 each to help further their ventures.


The Judges

Thank you to our distinguished panel of judges for for the 2012 video competition:

Dr. Robert Lemelson, The Lemelson Foundation
Robert Lemelson, Ph.D., is co-Vice President and Secretary of The Lemelson Foundation. Rob is an anthropologist who received his M.A. from the University of Chicago, and Ph.D. from the Department of Anthropology, UCLA. He was a Fulbright scholar in Indonesia in 1996-1997, has conducted research for the World Health Organization, and is additionally trained as a clinical psychologist. His area of specialty is Southeast-Asian Studies, psychological anthropology and transcultural psychiatry. He is currently a research anthropologist at the Semel Institute of Neuroscience at UCLA He is also the president and founder of The Foundation for Psychocultural Research, a non-profit research foundation supporting research and training in the neurosciences and social sciences. In addition, Dr. Lemelson is the director of Elemental Productions, a documentary film production company.

 

Karen Clune, USAID, Global Health Fellows Program II
Karen Clune is the Innovation Advisor in the Center for Accelerating Innovation and Impact in the Bureau for Global Health at USAID. In that role, Karen provides technical assistance to support partnerships and innovation-related initiatives. Karen assists in identifying and developing initiatives, partnerships, and/or activities that support innovations in global health, including those with a maternal and child health focus. In addition, she provides technical assistance to the Saving Lives at Birth Grand Challenge by helping to plan subsequent global challenges in coordination with the partners and Savings Lives at Birth team members.

Prior to her fellowship, she was at USAID with IT Shows, Inc. and a Sexual and Reproductive Health Advisor with the Peace Corps in Jamaica. Karen holds a MPH degree in Global Health from George Washington University.

 

Calgary Brown, The Hub, Bay Area
Calgary Brown is the Event Director of Hub Bay Area, a place for purpose-driven people to connect and build solutions for a better world. So far, she has worked with over 100 local, national and global organizations and businesses that have convened and showcased their impact to audiences at the Hub.  Prior to her work with the Hub, she served as President of the NYC Professional Chapter of Net Impact; an international non-profit organization that mobilizes individuals to use the power of business to create a more socially and environmentally sustainable world. Active with the chapter for over three years, she produced high impact events and programs, working with many of New York's thought leaders and social change organizations. While involved with Net Impact, Calgary worked in the financial services industry at Moody's focusing on marketing, product strategy, and strategic communications for the company's research and financial data products.  Prior to that, she worked overseas in higher education in Dublin, Ireland and at an Internet start up company in Leipzig, Germany. Calgary is a Starting Bloc Fellow, and earned her bachelor's degree from the University of San Francisco in Business Administration majoring in International Business.

 

John Calvert, United States Patent and Trademark Office
John Calvert is Administrator of the Inventor Assistance Program, which includes inventor outreach and university outreach initiatives. He has expanded the Inventor Assistance Program to include educational initiatives for students, inventors and small businesses and has created inventor assistance through pro bono and pro se initiatives both inside the USPTO and through working with universities and Bar organizations.

Prior to being named Administrator, John was responsible for supervising as many as 25 examiners in the areas of textile technology and absorbent products. He also served as Acting Director for the Office of Independent Inventor Programs.

Mr. Calvert has received numerous achievement awards, including the Department of Commerce Bronze Medal for superior Federal service and the United States Patent and Trademark Office Exceptional Career Award.

 

Ben Schrag, National Science Foundation
Ben Schrag joined the National Science Foundation in 2009 as a Program Director in the small business programs, with responsibility in the areas of advanced materials and nanotechnology. Prior to this, he served for four years as Director of Research and Development at Micro Magnetics, where he led a development effort to commercialize a new family of high-performance magnetic microsensor products for demanding consumer and military applications. Before this, he served as manager of the metrology group at Micro Magnetics, directing an engineering team developing a new magnetic diagnostic system for failure analysis and fault isolation in semiconductor devices. During this time, Ben also served as a visiting scientist at Brown University and as the PI on a number of federal awards, including NSF Phase I and Phase II Small Business Innovation Research projects and an Advanced Technology Program award from NIST. He received his PhD in Physics from Brown University, with a specialization in materials.

 

Breanna DiGiammarino, Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation
At the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, Breanna applies an impact-lens across the portfolio to the work of finding, selecting and supporting Draper Richards Kaplan entrepreneurs.  She also spearheads the systems infrastructure development for the Foundation as it enters a new phase of growth.

  She previously served as an Associate Consultant at The Bridgespan Group, the leading strategy consulting firm in the nonprofit sector, where she worked with many large scale nonprofit clients, including advising The Gates Foundation on their investment strategy to improve education outcomes in the U.S. and the Cristo Rey Network of schools on how to align their nationwide network with a focus on long-term student outcomes. She trained with Bain and Company, and received her Master of Public Administration in nonprofit management from the NYU Wagner School of Public Service and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and Government from the University of Virginia.


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Open Minds 2012 Video Competition Judges

The Open Minds video Competition

Student teams participating in Open Minds 2012 have created short videos that tell the story of their innovations. Public votes determined the top six videos and the winning team will now be decided by a panel of video competition judges. Judges will consider video creativity and the presentation/delivery of each team's pitch to make their final decisions. The winning video will be announced on Thursday, March 22 during the Open Minds public exhibition at Hub San Francisco.

The Judges

NCIIA has recruited a distinguished panel of judges for this year's video competition:

Dr. Robert Lemelson, The Lemelson Foundation

Dr. Robert Lemelson serves as a director of The Lemelson Foundation, a family foundation whose mission is to promote innovation and invention in American society and the developing world. He is currently a research anthropologist in Center for Culture and Health, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at the Semel Institute of Neurosciences at UCLA, and an adjunct  professor in the Department of Anthropology. His areas of specialty are Southeast-Asian studies, psychological anthropology, and transcultural psychiatry.

As a documentary filmmaker and psychological anthropologist, Dr. Lemelson's work focuses on personal experience, culture, and mental illness in Indonesia and the United States. He has been conducting anthropological research in Indonesia since 1993. Dr. Lemelson has completed his most recent film entitled 40 Years of Silence: an Indonesian Tragedy, a feature length documentary about the traumatic long-term effects of Indonesia's 1965 mass killings on four families. He also directed and produced the Afflictions: Culture and Mental Illness in Indonesia series, a Limited Series Award Nominee for the 2010 IDA Documentary Awards. Read more about Dr. Lemelson

 

Karen Clune, USAID, Global Health Fellows Program II

Karen Clune is the Innovation Advisor in the Center for Accelerating Innovation and Impact in the Bureau for Global Health at USAID. In that role, Karen provides technical assistance to support partnerships and innovation-related initiatives. Karen assists in identifying and developing initiatives, partnerships, and/or activities that support innovations in global health, including those with a maternal and child health focus. In addition, she provides technical assistance to the Saving Lives at Birth Grand Challenge by helping to plan subsequent global challenges in coordination with the partners and Savings Lives at Birth team members.

Prior to her fellowship, she was at USAID with IT Shows, Inc. and a Sexual and Reproductive Health Advisor with the Peace Corps in Jamaica. Karen holds a MPH degree in Global Health from George Washington University. Read more about Ms. Clune
 

 

Calgary Brown, The Hub, Bay Area

Prior to joining The Hub Bay Area as Event Director, Calgary Brown was living in the Big Apple where she recently served as President of the NYC Professional Chapter of Net Impact; an international non-profit organization that mobilizes individuals to use the power of business to create a more socially and environmentally sustainable world. Calgary was active with the chapter for over 3 years, producing high impact events and programs, working with many of New York's leading social innovators and organizations.  As a result of her leadership, she was recognized as a 2009 Net Impact Distinguished Member and also selected as a 2010 StartingBloc Fellow.  While involved with Net Impact, Calgary worked in the financial services industry at Moody's focusing on marketing, product strategy, and strategic communications for the company's research and financial data products.  Prior to that, she worked overseas in higher education in Dublin, Ireland and at an Internet start up company in Leipzig, Germany.   Calgary earned her bachelor's degree from the University of San Francisco in Business Administration. Read more about Ms. Brown

 

John Calvert, United States Patent and Trademark Office

Mr. John Calvert is Administrator of the Inventor Assistance Program, which includes inventor outreach and university outreach initiatives. He has expanded the Inventor Assistance Program to include educational initiatives for students, inventors and small businesses and has created inventor assistance through pro bono and pro se initiatives both inside the USPTO and through working with universities and Bar organizations.

Prior to being named Administrator, John was responsible for supervising as many as 25 examiners in the areas of textile technology and absorbent products. He also served as Acting Director for the Office of Independent Inventor Programs.

Mr. Calvert has received numerous achievement awards, including the Department of Commerce Bronze Medal for superior Federal service and the United States Patent and Trademark Office Exceptional Career Award.  Read more about Mr. Calvert

 

Ben Schrag, National Science Foundation

NEED BIO. Read more about Mr. Quinn

 

Breanna DiGiammarino, Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation

At the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, Breanna applies an impact-lens across the portfolio to the work of finding, selecting and supporting Draper Richards Kaplan entrepreneurs.  She also spearheads the systems infrastructure development for the Foundation as it enters a new phase of growth.   She previously served as an Associate Consultant at The Bridgespan Group, the leading strategy consulting firm in the nonprofit sector, where she worked with many large scale nonprofit clients, including advising The Gates Foundation on their investment strategy to improve education outcomes in the U.S. and the Cristo Rey Network of schools on how to align their nationwide network with a focus on long-term student outcomes. 

She trained with Bain and Company, and received her Master of Public Administration in nonprofit management from the NYU Wagner School of Public Service and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and Government from the University of Virginia. Read more about Ms. DiGiammarino

 

Open Minds 2012 Video Competition Winners

Open Minds 2012
The following six Open Minds videos obtained the highest number of votes from the general public:
GiraDora and Balde a Balde
GiraDora and Balde a Balde
Art Center College of Design
A portable faucet that provides running water from any container, and a human-powered washer and spin dryer to increase the efficiency and improve the experience of hand-washing clothes
IntelliWheels, INC.
IntelliWheels, INC.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
After-market additions to off-the-shelf wheelchairs that decreases the effort it takes to propel them
The Integrated Punch Biopsy
The Integrated Punch Biopsy
Johns Hopkins University
An all-in-one skin biopsy device that efficiently and safely transects and retrieves the skin sample
Strong Arm Ergonomic Lifting Safety System
Strong Arm Ergonomic Lifting Safety System
Rochester Institute of Technology
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
Blue ribbon
Inserogen
Inserogen
University of California, Davis
Developing SwiftVax, a plant-based production platform that produces animal and human vaccines efficiently and affordably
Earth2Block
Earth2Block
California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
Developing earthquake-resistant,inexpensive interlocking compressed earth block (ICEB) construction
Blue ribbon

Open Minds 2012 Video Competition

Open Minds 2012

Congratulations to our winners! The 2012 video competition winners were announced on Thursday, 3/22 during the Open Minds public exhibition at The Hub, San Francisco. Nearly 2,000 people cast votes online and the Open Minds judging panel weighed in on the top picks. The 2012 winners are:

Greatest Social Impact Innovation: Earth2Block
Best Pitch Delivery: Strong Arm Ergonomic Lifting Safety System

Both teams won $1,000 to help further their ventures.

ALL team videos can be viewed below by clicking the thumbnails.

Learn more about the teams

Open Minds

Open Minds 2012 Events

Open Minds is NCIIA's annual showcase of best student teams. These teams participated in two exhibitions in San Francisco:
  • Thursday, March 22 at Hub San Francisco
    This exhibition was free and open to the public.

  • Friday, March 23 at The Exploratorium
    This event was a private reception for Open attendees and special guests.

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Blue ribbon
Strong Arm Ergonomic Lifting Safety System
Rochester Institute of Technology
Strong Arm Ergonomic Lifting Safety System
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
Blue ribbon
Earth2Block
California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
Earth2Block
Developing earthquake-resistant,inexpensive interlocking compressed earth block (ICEB) construction
MetCel
Oklahoma State University
MetCel
Developing a Hybrid Composite Armor stand-alone insert that is capable of significantly reducing Behind Armor Blunt Trauma (BABT)
IntelliWheels, INC.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
IntelliWheels, INC.
After-market additions to off-the-shelf wheelchairs that decreases the effort it takes to propel them
Project Agrow
IIT Bombay
Project Agrow
Developing a low cost, manually operated machine that enables de-cortication and de-husking of raw peanuts to deliver clean peanut kernels
Inserogen
University of California, Davis
Inserogen
Developing SwiftVax, a plant-based production platform that produces animal and human vaccines efficiently and affordably
GiraDora and Balde a Balde
Art Center College of Design
GiraDora and Balde a Balde
A portable faucet that provides running water from any container, and a human-powered washer and spin dryer to increase the efficiency and improve the experience of hand-washing clothes
GRIT Leveraged Freedom Chair
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
GRIT Leveraged Freedom Chair
A lever-powered mobility aid designed for the use in developing countries
Brilliance
Stanford University
Brilliance
A low cost, low maintenance opto-medical device that uses high intensity LEDs for the treatment of jaundice
Miret Surgical
Stanford University
Miret Surgical
A modular, minimally invasive surgical system
The Integrated Punch Biopsy
Johns Hopkins University
The Integrated Punch Biopsy
An all-in-one skin biopsy device that efficiently and safely transects and retrieves the skin sample
NextDrop
University of California, Berkeley
NextDrop
Leveraging the recent proliferation of mobile phones in India to provide households with accurate and timely information about when piped water will become available in their area
Medtric Biotech, LLC
Purdue University
Medtric Biotech, LLC
Developing an innovative, environmentally friendly anti-infection technology

The Harker Innovation Team

A Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam
Each year, NCIIA welcomes a Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam to participate in Open Minds along with the exhibiting E-Teams. The Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam initiative is a national grants program designed to excite the next generation of inventors and problem solvers through hands-on learning, while encouraging an inventive culture in high schools and communities. Teams showcase their prototypes at EurekaFest, an annual celebration of the inventive spirit presented by the Lemelson-MIT Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) campus in Cambridge, Mass. Learn more about the Lemselson MIT program and InvenTeams at: http://web.mit.edu/invent/index.html.
 
This year's InvenTeam is the Harker Innovation Team. The team is developing an Aquatic Thermoelectric Generator to produce energy from heat, the “energy graveyard.” The device floats on water, and reflector panels focus sunlight onto a black surface that converts solar energy to heat. This heat is then passed through thermoelectric panels and passively dissipated into the surrounding water. Harnessing the thermal gradient between the hot surface and the cold water, the thermoelectric panels generate significant amounts of electricity that can be used for commercial or residential purposes. In this way, the team's floating thermoelectric generator passively generates electricity from solar heat, essentially a solar farm on water.
 

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Hollow Interlocking Compressed-Earth Blocks

California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

The need for low cost housing in Southeast Asia is compelling for two reasons: the region’s seismic activity and its large, dense populations of low-income purchasers. In order to meet the need for earthquake-resistant, inexpensive housing, this team is partnering with a Thai NGO to promote interlocking compressed earth block (ICEB) construction in the area. ICEBs are made by compressing soil with the right combination of fines (silt and clay) and sand with a small amount of water and cement so that they are stable enough to be handled right after pressing and do not erode when they come into contact with water. ICEBs are environmentally friendly and can be made locally by lower-skilled laborers with minimal training.
 

 

MetCel

 Oklahoma State University

To improve the survivability of troops in combat situations, the best gear, weapons, and training are required. One piece of equipment that can come between a soldier’s life and death is body armor. But while modern body armor has advanced enough to resist bullets, Behind Armor Blunt Trauma (BABT)--non-penetrating injuries resulting from high kinetic energy transfer--can still do serious damage to a soldier’s body. According to the United States Department of Defense, approximately 35,000 military personnel were injured in the Afghanistan and Iraq after 2001, with 20% of these due to gunshot-related injuries. A majority of the gunshot injuries were caused by BABT.

MetCel is developing a Hybrid Composite Armor (HCA), stand-alone insert that is capable of significantly reducing BABT. It is a combination of current top-of-the-line armor-grade materials and an advanced alloy honeycomb collapsible layer. Preliminary tests indicate the technology could reduce BABT by 25%. In addition, the HCA insert is lightweight and offers a multi-hit feature.

 

 

Strong Arm Ergonomic Lifting Safety System

Rochester Institute of Technology

Lifting injuries affect hundreds of thousands of workers in the US each year. The injuries arise partly due to lack of training and partly from situations in which workers are required to 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.
 

 

Project Agrow

 IIT Bombay, India

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

 

NextDrop

 University of California, Berkeley

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

 

 

Safe Agua Peru Teams

Giradora and Balde a Balde

Art Center College of Design 

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

 

Inserogen

University of California, Davis

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

 

Brilliance

Stanford University

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

 

Integrated Punch Biopsy

Johns Hopkins University

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

 

Medtric Biotech, LLC

 Purdue University

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

 

GRIT Leveraged Freedom Chair

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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

 

IntelliWheels, INC.

 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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

 

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