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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Poloxamer-188 (P-188) is a generic, off-the-shelf pharmaceutical compound that has been approved by the FDA as an agent to decrease human blood viscosity prior to transfusions. A research team at the University of Chicago discovered that P-188 also has the unique ability to heal cell membranes: it can seal and repair holes in membranes which, if left untreated, typically lead to cell death. Once the membrane is stabilized, the cell can begin its natural self-healing process. During this healing process, the repaired cells excrete P-188, which is safely removed from the body through the kidneys.
The Maroon Biotech E-Team created a new class of drugs based on the molecular structure of P-188. These new co-polymers could be used to treat human cellular injuries resulting from central nervous system (CNS) injury, heart attack, and stroke.
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.
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.
Over 400,000 premature births occur each year in the US, accounting for over $6 billion in annual health care spending. Statistics suggest that the number of premature births is rising, despite advances in prenatal care. Premature birth is associated with higher risk of maternal and infant death, and debilitating infant illnesses such as cerebral palsy, autism, mental retardation, and vision and hearing impairments. Currently, several tools on the market predict pre-term delivery, however the available diagnostic methods do not function early enough to safely and consistently administer labor-suppressing drugs.
This E-Team developed a cervical bioimpedance system that predicts the onset of birth early enough to safely administer preventative drugs. The system detects very subtle changes in cervical tissue composition, which indicate when the cervix is readying for childbirth. The system is composed of an electrode probe with a disposable sterile plastic tip containing the circuitry necessary to measure bioimpedance.
Update: the team has successfully licensed the technology (details not available).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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