advanced e-team

Mekong Green Tech (Lac Hong Gasifiers)

Georgia Institute of Technology, 2012 - $18,500

In a number of rural industries in the developing world, waste matter is burnt in order to generate the heat needed for manufacturing. This is the case in the Asian brick making industry, where the combustion of biomass is so inefficient it causes incredible amounts of air pollution (one third of the emissions of the global airline industry), acute respiratory illness, and poor crop growth. In Vietnam, the government has made attempts to shut down the traditional brick making industry because of the pollution, and some kilns have been shut down entirely.

This E-Team is developing a new low-cost gasifier to slash pollution in Vietnam’s traditional brick making industry. Gasification is a technology that converts organic material into clean burning, flammable gas. The team’s demonstration unit, built between Georgia Tech engineers and a Vietnamese partner organization, will cost roughly ten times less to run as current kilns and would pay for itself in under five years. The team is planning six more paid pilot installations. In Vietnam alone, over 10,000 small businesses stand to benefit.

MaxQ LLC

Oklahoma State University, 2012 - $20,000

Shipments of vaccines are often temperature-sensitive and require special care while in transit from manufacturer to end user. This presents a problem in emerging markets; about 50% of the vaccines shipped by the World Health Organization are damaged in transit. Even in the US, the vaccines for a children’s program faces a $20 million loss in vaccine wastage due to poor temperature regulation.

The MaxQ E-Team is developing MaxTemp, a series of multi-use, lightweight, insulated shipping containers made of a novel composite material called NeoTherm. NeoTherm consists of a vacuum core sandwiched between two face sheet materials. The core contains a combination of space-grade, silica-based porous insulation material and structurally rigid honeycomb material, which are vacuum-sealed inside an aluminum-coated thin sheet. MaxTemp containers have three major advantages over existing insulated storage containers: they have much larger maximum usable volume (up to 80%), a higher insulation rating and high impact resistance. Their initial target market is in the US with the American Red Cross for blood transport and storage; they are also exploring the food transport and cattle reproduction markets.

Near Zero

University of California, Berkeley, 2012 - $20,000

“Grid regulation services” are performed by power companies to ensure that power supply remains equal to power demand within a small margin. They do this with power plants equipped with governors and automatic generation controls to maintain minute-to-minute generation-to-load balance. While this setup is precise, it has several drawbacks: it is inefficient; ramping up power supply quickly puts extreme stress on plant components, shortening their life spans; and current grid regulation services are predominantly provided by environmentally damaging fossil fuel plants. While there are aggressive mandates in place to increase the percentage of renewable energy on the grid, the inherent unpredictability of renewables results in an increased margin for error that threatens grid stability.

This E-Team is developing a new grid-level storage technology, the Near Zero flywheel battery, to absorb energy (renewable or otherwise) when it is in excess and deliver it quickly when there is a shortage. Unlike chemical batteries, which have a limited power output and diminishing cycle life, flywheel batteries can supply quick surges of power in milliseconds with a reliable 20-30 year life span. The team’s plan is not to replace but to supplement current grid regulation operations, enabling more efficient operation of fossil fuels plants in a collaborative integration.

Momo Scientific

Johns Hopkins University, 2012 - $18,500

While cervical cancer has been largely eradicated in the developed world by the incorporation of regular screening and new opportunities for vaccinations, it remains a large burden in the developing world. Inadequate healthcare infrastructure, high costs, and the lack of an appropriate technology for treatment combine to make cervical cancer the third most common cancer in the world, with over 250,000 deaths per year. Eighty-eight percent of all cases occur in the developing world.

This team, incorporated as Momo Scientific, is looking to reduce the incidence of cervical cancer in the developing world with a device called the CryoPop. The CryoPop is a patent-pending, low-cost medical device that uses dry ice for the treatment of cervical pre-cancerous lesions in low-resource settings. The device, which relies only on the carbon dioxide tanks already available in developing countries (as a result of the presence of soda companies), is ten times cheaper, thirty times more efficient, and more effective and reliable than current technology.

GiraDora: Affordable Human-Powered Washer/Spin-Dryer

Art Center College of Design, 2012 - $19,500

GiraDora, a human-powered washer and spin dryer, increases the efficiency and improves the experience of hand-washing clothes for women living without access to running water. The user sits on the drum-like appliance and pumps the pedal with her foot, which agitates, cleans, rinses, then spin-dries clothes. GiraDora saves significant time: from one hour of hand washing a load of laundry down to 3-5 minutes. Estimated to cost $40, GiraDora increases productivity, improves health, instills dignity, and affords opportunities to begin breaking the poverty cycle.

Medtric/Osmotec Spray

Purdue University, 2012 - $15,770

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, environmental concerns 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.

EnergyMax

Illinois Institute of Technology, 2012 - $18,000

Minimizing energy waste in commercial and residential buildings in the US could have a significant impact on the environment, as the US currently consumes 25% of the world’s energy. It is estimated that 30 to 50% of energy consumption related to heating and cooling in many otherwise well-insulated buildings is due to air leakage through the building enclosures—the “drafty building problem.” But these air leakage sites are often hard to locate because the airflows are small compared to the sizes of the rooms and very hard to detect.

This E-Team is developing a new method of detecting air leakage spots in buildings using a compact acoustic phased array. Essentially, the team uses an array of compact microphones to measure minute pressure fluctuations associated with airflow. The team uses two algorithms to map acoustic sources, resulting in specific explanations: “Leak 2 occurs at the slot opening on top of the door provided for the swivel mechanism.” Based on initial results, the team has found mentors from industry, including the US Department of Energy and the Council for Tall buildings.

Cranial Drilling Tool

Harvard University, 2012 - $18,500

It is often necessary for neurosurgeons to access the inside of the skull through small holes for procedures such as measuring pressure and draining fluid. Unfortunately, the current procedures are difficult to accomplish easily and safely. One of the main risks in cranial drilling is “plunging”—accidentally driving the drill bit into delicate brain tissue. Current drills do have safety features, but all have their drawbacks; the most versatile is a hand-powered drill with a manual stop that is inefficient in cutting through bone and hard for surgeons to use effectively. There are also powered drills, but the most popular device has to be accompanied by non-portable equipment and is limited to large drill bit sizes.

This E-Team has developed a handheld, portable, and reliably safe drilling device that can create holes in the skull with any size drill bit. The device is designed to be non-reliant on the drill's rotary motion, instead using a balance between spring forces and the reaction forces of the drill being pushed against the skull. The device also retracts as soon as penetration of the skull is accomplished. The device's portability and ease of use makes it well suited for applications in operating rooms, emergency rooms, military settings, and disaster relief areas.

Local Energy Technologies (LET)

Rochester Institute of Technology, 2012 - $19,695

In low-resource settings, power providers need better solutions to collect revenue from existing customers, while customers need simpler, less expensive ways to pay for their electricity. The Local Energy Technologies (LET) E-Team is looking to meet the challenge by developing a mobile meter-reading and payment platform. The team’s meter works like a regular electricity meter, but communicates with the energy provider through regularly timed data packets sent over mobile phone/SMS infrastructure. This allows energy providers to know where and exactly how much of their electricity is being consumed at any given moment, on or off the grid. Energy providers can then remotely bill customers via SMS, and customers can remotely pay via SMS. Further, the team’s software can facilitate electrification though the Internet; family members working abroad or in the cities who want to send money to their families can strategically send money in the form of post-paid or pre-paid energy credits.

Stroke-Solutions

Johns Hopkins University, 2012 - $18,000

The incidence of stroke is on the rise worldwide; in the US alone, more than 700,000 people per year suffer a stroke. Stroke patients usually spend their first three months of recovery in rehabilitation centers, working with a team of physicians and therapists. Many then spend years doing rehabilitation exercises at home, but the current rehabilitation device market focuses heavily on those first three months; there are very few devices aimed at home rehabilitation therapy.

Stroke-Solutions.com is addressing this unmet need by providing effective and interactive rehabilitation gaming systems using the Kinect system. Kinect is a motion sensing input device by Microsoft for the Xbox 360 video game console and Windows PCs. Based around a webcam-style add-on, it enables users to control and interact with the screen without the need to touch a game controller. Users will be able to log into Stroke-Solutions.com, choose a game, and play. All the game data will be logged and analyzed remotely by physicians.

Koyr

North Carolina State University, 2012 - $17,000

Due to stagnant growth in the nuclear industry over the last few decades, there has been little innovation in the area of radiation detection and analysis. In terms of technological innovation, the industry still uses radiation detectors based on a 1970's design; the user spins a dial in order to give measurements. Companies must then record measurements by hand, enter them into a data analysis program by hand, file all paperwork by hand, and finally input the results into a database by hand.

This E-Team is designing a modern radiation detector that can not only detect radiation but also analyze measurements and has a data format that can be read by any general data analysis software, such as Excel. The detector will use the latest in mobile technology, including the Android and iOS operating systems. This paperwork automation solution will be offered to companies experiencing backlogs due to high labor costs and human error.

Balde a Balde: Portable Faucet to Maximize Cleanliness While Optimizing Water Use

Art Center College of Design, 2012 - $19,500

According to a 2010 WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation report, 2 in 10 urban dwellers and 7 in 10 rural dwellers lack access to running water, with many more receiving an inconsistent water supply. Handwashing can prevent twice as many water-borne deaths as clean drinking water alone, but without running water, children skip washing their hands, or people “wash” hands in grey water, or simulate a flow of water by holding a tub in their mouth and pouring water over their hands—exposing themselves and source water to contamination.

Balde a Balde (Spanish for “Bucket to Bucket”) is a portable faucet that delivers a flow of running water from any container. The user attaches Balde a Balde to any container with a universal clip, then starts a continuous flow of water with a few squeezes of the siphon pump. Users can easily control the 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, estimated to cost $6, uses gravity to bring the dignity of running water to the three billion people living without taps.

Updates:

A movie about the Safe Agua project (of which Balde a Balde is a part) was shortlisted for the Cannes Young Directors Award (June, 2012)

Hands In The Mist - Full Length Version - Shortlist YDA 2012 from Erik Anderson on Vimeo.

The team won a Tech Awards honor (October 2012), which recognizes innovators and entrepreneurs who make a difference around the world in education, medicine, struggling economies, and social services.
 

SiNode LLC

Northwestern University, 2012 - $19,150

Modern consumer electronics devices such as smartphones, tablets and notebooks use rechargeable lithium ion batteries as their energy source. However, the duration of use, recharging speed, processor power and functionality of these devices are limited by constraints on battery weight and volume as well as the energy capacity of current battery technologies. In many cases, current batteries can’t meet the energy and power density required by many applications.

This E-Team is developing SiNode, an advanced anode technology that increases the energy density (5-7 times) and reduces the charging time of lithium-ion batteries up to a factor of 10. SiNode’s technology uses a composite of silicon nano-particles within a patent-pending graphene scaffolding system. These anodes are fabricated using a solution-based manufacturing process that is scalable and easily integrated into existing manufacturing processes.

Benecure

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2012 - $17,500

Every twenty seconds, an American suffers from a cardiac event; every sixty seconds, an American dies because of one. Heart attacks are the number one cause of death in developed countries, greater than all cancer deaths combined. Remote patient monitoring could help address the issue, but the market is stagnant, focused only on retirees. The two most popular solutions either work only in the home or are very simplistic and provide a false sense of security.

The Benecure E-Team is developing I.C.E. (In Case of Emergency), a non-invasive monitoring device (hardware and software) that alerts emergency services in the event of a major cardiac episode. The device constantly monitors the user’s heart parameters, and if the individualized parameter values are breached, the algorithm triggers the device to automatically contact 911 and family and friends. The device is unobtrusive and rests under the patient’s arm.

Preventing Wound Infections with CleanCision

Stanford University School of Medicine, 2012 - $20,000

 

Nzumbe

University of Portland, 2012 - $19,200

An important process in the origin and development of both cancer and psychiatric diseases is a loss of gene expression through a mechanism termed “epigenetic silencing.” For example, virtually every cancer occurs in large part because of aberrant epigenetic gene silencing, in which genes critical for preventing tumor formation are turned off. Similarly, when genes critical for mental health are turned off, psychiatric disease ensues. New epigenetic drug therapies are based on finding drugs that reactivate silenced genes in order to treat disease. Growth in epigenetic-based disease research has been tremendous, and four epigenetic drugs are currently approved. These drugs, however, are focused on fighting disease in its later stages.

The Nzumbe E-Team is developing a novel technology to identify drugs that prevent and reverse the early steps in epigenetic silencing. The team’s major advancement is a technique in which drug compounds can be tested in quickly and effectively in virtually any living, diseased tissue. Current drug testing methods take months and have high rates of failure.

SpringSert/Orthopure

Johns Hopkins University, 2011 - $20,000

Total Knee Replacement (TKR) surgeries are common in the US, and expected to rise as the population ages. The knee implants typically last 15-20 years, with wear, osteolysis (resorption of bone tissue) and mechanical loosening accounting for 30-40% of follow-up surgeries to fix problems. Much of the wear results from the impact of walking and high cyclic loading, but no currently available artificial knee implants include a force-reduction component.

This team is developing the SpringSert™, an add-on to existing artificial knee implants. This novel device will serve as an artificial shock-absorbing meniscus, reducing impact force throughout cyclic loading and extending the lives of the implants.

Project Gado

Johns Hopkins University, 2011 - $16,073

Most mainstream news media, large museums and archives have already digitized their visual collections, making the photos widely accessible and generating revenue from license fees. But small institutions and archives typically lack the resources to pay for digitization, meaning that impressive collections are available only to the select few with physical access to the archive. An example is the Afro American Newspaper in Baltimore, Maryland, which has a collection of 1.5 million photographs spanning 115 years of the city's African American history. The archive cannot afford to digitize, presenting a major problem for scholars and educators studying minority history and for members of minority communities seeking to understand their own history.

The standard business model for digitizing an archive’s physical photographs involves the archive paying a digitization company to scan each photograph in the collection, generally by hand, as materials are fragile. This team has developed an archival scanning robot, the Gado 1, which can lift fragile images using suction, place them on a standard flatbed scanner, scan them into a database at full archival-quality 600dpi resolution, and place them gently into an output bin, all without human intervention. The project’s goal is to create a robotic archival scanner that small archives can purchase and assemble for less than $500 and use to autonomously digitize their photographic collections.

CleanNG LLC

Oklahoma State University, 2011 - $20,000

Fuel storage capacity, range and costs have been the main deterrents to the adoption of natural gas as an alternative fuel choice in America. Part of the problem is the typical natural gas fuel storage system found in vehicles; prior to advancements in composites and designs, tanks were made of steel, were very heavy and dangerous if exploded due to scrap metal debris. Advancements over the years have allowed for higher pressure (and thus greater storage capacity and range), but have usually resulted in additional cost or added weight.

This team is developing a new natural gas fuel storage system that could solve these issues. The solution, a higher-pressure storage vessel constructed using innovative, mineral-based composite materials, can hit the target service pressure of 5800 psi compared to standard 3600. By increasing pressure, more fuel can be stored in a smaller space, thus reducing the size and increasing capacity. The team’s innovation is the material (mineral fiber reinforced plastic which mimics carbon fiber) and the use of several composite manufacturing techniques (including braiding and filament winding to enhance strength).

Update:

International Business Ventures Enterprise

Michigan Technological University, 2011 - $16,050

In developing countries worldwide, infant mortality rates remain extremely high: out of the 3.7 million neonatal deaths and 3.3 million stillbirths in the world each year, 98% occur in developing countries. Among these numbers are newborns that are unresponsive upon delivery, but which still have a faint heartbeat. Unfortunately these infants are often declared stillborn and left to die, as the absence of reliable medical devices to check for heartbeat and the lack of training in using them prevent attempts at resuscitation.

The International Business Ventures Enterprise team is developing the Infant Heart Annunciator (IHA) to address this problem. The IHA can quickly detect the heartbeat of an unresponsive infant by using electronic impulses; the device is placed on an infant’s chest, and two electrodes detect the infant's electrocardiogram (ECG) within three seconds. If the infant’s heart is beating, the device will flash a light and beep for each heartbeat, indicating that resuscitation is required. Healthcare workers, midwives and other medical professionals are trained to resuscitate, so if the infant is identified as being alive, the chances of them surviving increase dramatically.

Effimax Solar

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2011 - $18,500

One of the greatest challenges facing the solar industry is the high cost per kilowatt hour for solar power. Even with government subsidies and incentives, the price of solar power is still much more expensive than traditional energy sources. For it to become widely adopted, cost reductions need to be accomplished that increase the energy output of solar cells and reduce manufacturing costs.

Effimax Solar is developing technology that addresses both of these challenges. Currently, crystalline silicon (c-Si) solar cells comprise over 85% of the solar cell market share. Among all of the c-Si solar cell manufacturing processes, texturing is one of the most significant in determining cell efficiency. Conventional texturing processes have several drawbacks, but Effimax Solar’s new process, called Omni Black, ameliorates the disadvantages, enhances efficiency, and lowers the cost of c-Si cells. Omni Black is a nanotexturing process that creates high density and high aspect ratio nanostructures on silicon solar cell surface to lower the surface reflectance and improve the light trapping. This results in more light being collected and converted into electric power. Further cost savings are realized by reducing the silicon loss in the texturing process and migrating to thinner wafers with almost no loss in efficiency.

Illini Prosthetic Technologies (IPT), NFP

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2011 - $18,800

While approximately 80% of the world’s amputees live in developing nations, only 2% of the people in that segment have access to appropriate prosthetic care and rehabilitation. This is because developing the custom-fit socket for the prosthetic is extremely labor-intensive and expensive. The socket must be fabricated by a trained prosthetist after taking measurements of the individual amputee, and typically costs around $5,000 to produce.

Illini Prosthetic Technologies (IPT) is a nonprofit organization founded in 2008 by engineering students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to develop and deliver an affordable prosthetic arm. The paradigm behind IPT’s below-elbow prosthesis is the elimination of the custom-fit in the socket. This allows for a rapid-fitting, off-the-shelf device that is both affordable and appropriate for the developing world. See the current prototype at http://vimeo.com/33997864.

Augment Medical

North Carolina State University,  2011 - $17,000

The term “complex communications needs” (CCN) is commonly used in hospitals to refer to the problems severely disabled patients can have in communicating their needs to staff. Barriers to communication can occur, for example, when a patient has new physical disabilities caused by traumatic injury. Hundreds of thousands of patients experience this every year, and it can create dangerous situations: a recent Joint Commission survey identified communication failures as a top underlying cause of events resulting in death or serious injury to patients while under hospital care each of the past eight years.

Augment Medical is developing PatientLink, a novel wireless communication platform accessible to disabled patients that enables them to call the nurse, turn lights on and off and control the TV. It consists of a patient input controller, a wall adapter, Bluetooth wireless technology, and software for user interface. This allows a patient to call a nurse with voice activation or by squinting, and to communicate by capturing signals from facial movements.

EZ*PZ

Stanford University, 2011 - $18,985

The General Population Census of Cambodia in 2008 found that 76.8% of the rural population still practices open defecation. As a result, diarrheal diseases are the number one cause of sickness and death amongst Cambodian children, with 20% of children under five years old suffering from diarrhea. At the same time, most Cambodian fields are under-fertilized, with UN estimates suggesting that only 30% of rice fields receive even minimal fertilizer application. Too often, poor farmers fertilize their fields with raw human waste, leading to widespread illness.

This team has designed the EZ*PZ, an inexpensive (~$4) device that converts urine into a safe fertilizer. Essentially half a toilet that goes on the front part of a latrine squat pan, the EZ*PZ ensures that urine, feces, and blackwater are separated at the point of collection. The urine ends up in a clear plastic jug, where it’s treated immediately with direct sunlight. This pathogen-free fertilizer can then be combined with water and applied directly to vegetables and other crops. Preliminary tests indicate that users of the device will see rapid increases in crop yields and improvement in public health.

Pop Science selects Antenatal E-Team 'pen' as Invention of the Year


 

Since being selected to attend this year's Open Minds showcase in March, the Antenatal Screening Kit E-Team from Johns Hopkins University has earned a growing media following.

The team's invention, a suite of pens that can be used to screen expectant mothers for treatable diseases and health problems, has been featured in Popular Science's 'Invention of the Year' issue (June 2011, page 62).

The team was also featured in the JHU Gazette -- read the story here.

 

 

 

  

 

 

New E-Team - Antenatal Screening Kit - wins ABC/Duke Reinventing Maternal Health Challenge!

One of NCIIA's most recent E-Teams, the Antenatal Screening Kit team from Johns Hopkins University, has won the inaugural ABC/Duke University 'Reinventing Maternal Health Challenge.' The Challenge was devised in partnership with The Lemelson Foundation.

The JHU team has developed a screening kit - delivered through a pen - to provide low-cost healthcare to women in even the remotest villages. The kit includes a variety of custom markers pre-filled with reagents for screening tests for conditions including pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, malnutrition, and anemia.

Selected from more than 65 video entries submitted by university students internationally, the JHU team will be awarded $10,000 and will be provided mentoring and support from The Lemelson Foundation.

 

PuzzleCast

University of Virginia, 2010 - $9,945

The current gold standard treatment for forearm fractures includes a period of full immobilization of the site of injury (typically six to eight weeks) followed by routine physical therapy to regain muscle strength and range of motion. However, each year approximately 6.8 million Americans experience immobilization-induced muscle atrophy, which increases recovery time and vulnerability to further injuries.
 
This team’s solution is a modular cast design dubbed the PuzzleCast. It consists of several interlocking thermoplastic components that have the ability to unlock degrees of freedom while still maintaining immobilization of the injured area. By increasing range of motion during the healing process, blood flow is increased, muscle atrophy is reduced, and overall healing time and physical therapy are shortened.

Green Technology for Sustainable Poultry Vaccine Manufacturing

University of California, Davis, 2010 - $20,000

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 effective and inexpensive therapies.
 
This team is developing SwiftVax, a plant 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.
 
This grant will help in developing a proof-of-concept that will bring SwiftVax-produced vaccines closer to market. 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.

Updates:

Marlee Tech, Inc.

Oregon State University, 2010 - $14,500

Shikimic acid is an essential component in the manufacture of the anti-pandemic influenza drug Tamiflu and a valuable precursor in many other chemical syntheses. However, the low availability and high cost of shikimic acid limits the global ability to either stockpile or ramp up Tamiflu production in a pandemic emergency.

The Marlee Tech team is seeking to cost-effectively supply shikimic acid from a renewable wheat source using an environmentally benign bio-enhancement process. The proprietary method involves a chemical treatment process to induce the plant into producing very high levels of shikimic acid that can then be readily extracted in economic quantities.

The team won the 2009 OSU business plan competition and incorporated as Marlee Tech, Inc. The company is now looking to demonstrate technological feasibility and scalability and secure IP to move toward commercialization.

Runner Pro: A Posture-monitoring Device

California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, 2010 - $8,800

The high-impact nature of running can lead to shin splints, hamstring pulls, twisted ankles, IT Band syndrome, plantar fasciitis, tendinitis, stress fractures, and the infamous "runner's knee." Studies indicate that maintaining a good posture while running can virtually eliminate most of these injuries. Elite athletes go to biomechanics specialists for gait analysis in order to improve posture, but this is far too expensive and impractical for most people.
 
This team is developing the Runner Pro, a portable, easy to use, and affordable device that continuously measures the impact forces experienced by runners during their course of activity. The device will measure the impact forces at numerous locations under the foot (below the toes, balls of the feet, mid-foot and heel) in real-time, collecting hundreds of samples of data every second and providing useful feedback to the user on improving posture and gait.
 
The team envisions Runner Pro being of benefit to runners, walkers, athletes, people suffering from arthritis, and laborers.

A Cell Encapsulation System for Treating Diabetes

Georgia Institute of Technology, 2010 - $16,500

Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce enough or cannot properly use insulin, the protein required for the body to absorb glucose from the blood. Transplantation of live islet cells (the pancreatic cells responsible for producing insulin) has been studied as a method for curing diabetes, but donor islet cells that are transplanted into patients are attacked by the immune system, causing transplant rejection. There is a relatively low islet transplant success rate, even when using immunosuppressant drugs.

This team is developing a new solution: encapsulating the islet cells in a biocompatible hydrogel membrane. The cell encapsulation system will allow glucose and insulin to diffuse through freely, but Immunoglobulin G and white blood cells will not be able to pass through, effectively “hiding” the islet cells from the immune system. With this implantable device, diabetics will no longer have to deal with the hassle and pain of testing their blood glucose up to four times a day, calculating the correct amount of insulin, and injecting themselves.

RxCap

Harvard University, 2010 - $18,550

Patient non-compliance in routinely taking the medications prescribed for them costs the US $170 billion dollars yearly. The 75 million Americans considered “health illiterate” are at particular risk for prescription drug misuse: they are 3.4 times as likely to misinterpret drug warning labels, leading to greater risk of medication-related adverse events and a doubling of all-cause mortality risk. Up to 85% of prescriptions are not refilled after the initial dispensing, which translates to an annual loss of $77 billion for retail pharmacies and pharmaceutical companies.
Visual cues have not improved adherence, but auditory notifications have shown promise. However, current auditory devices are too expensive to be scalable, too hard for patients to operate, and can’t be adapted to pill bottles of varying sizes.

This team is developing the RxCap, a $1 device that installs seamlessly within existing pill bottles, provides verbal explanations of proper medication use/dosage when the bottle is opened, and reminds patients to refill their medication when the time comes.

Orpheus Medical

Stanford University School of Medicine, 2009 - $17,982

Hemorrhoids are blood-engorged enlargements around the anus that cause discomfort, pain, and bleeding. While more than thirteen million Americans suffer from hemorrhoids, most do not undergo treatment, because current treatments are either ineffective or extremely painful.

This E-Team is developing a device that is effective yet almost painless, and can be used outside the operating room, without anesthesia. The device, which is the size of an index finger, is inserted into the anus, whereupon a Doppler sensor in its tip locates the hemorrhoidal artery, which feeds the blood-filled hemorrhoid. The device then fires a staple-like clip that compresses the hemorhoidal artery, preventing blood flow to the hemorrhoid and causing the hemorrhoid to rapidly recede completely.

Operation Simple

Virginia Commonwealth University, 2009 - $16,700

Medical facilities in developing countries often lack adequate financial resources to purchase modern medical equipment. This is particularly the case with surgical tables, which can cost up to $80,000, far beyond the reach of local clinics. Instead, the clinics must rely on either wooden planks or outdated equipment.

This E-Team has designed a $500 surgical table for use in developing countries. Along with cost considerations, the design emphasizes portability through a collapsible design to minimize transportation requirements.

Developing and Testing a Novel Therapeutic Game for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Columbia University, 2009 - $20,000

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is the fastest growing developmental disability in the US, with as many as 1.5 million Americans affected. The most common symptoms experienced by individuals affected with an ASD involve difficulties with social situations, verbal and non-verbal communication problems and understanding or displaying empathy. Children affected with an ASD often have unique and extreme preferences and aversions, making highly individualized care a necessity, yet comprehensive treatment is often prohibitively expensive.

To address the problem, this E-Team is developing a series of therapeutic computer games for autistic children between the age of 5 and 18. While other therapeutic video games are on the market, none are directed specifically toward autism and none allow for monitoring of in-game behavior and metrics, leading to customization of certain aspects of the game to suit the needs of the patient. The E-Team’s games will supplement existing treatment plans by providing individualized care outside of the treatment facility. The ultimate goal is improvement in social and communication skills.

UrbanE

University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign, 2009 - $18,500

Cities account for 75% of global energy consumption and 80% of carbon dioxide emissions while occupying only 2% of the world’s surface area. The average annual air temperature of cities with one million or more people can be 1.8-5.4°F warmer than its surroundings; this “heat island” effect increases summertime peak energy demand, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, air conditioning costs, and water quality.

Green roofing is a way for urban dwellers to reduce carbon dioxide levels, extend the lifespan of their rooftops, decrease water runoff into sewer systems, decrease the heat island effect and, lastly, to grow plants for food and beauty. But green roofing is expensive: between installation, plants, soil, filter, drainage and fabric, a green roof in the US can cost $50 per square foot before government subsidies. Most green roofing practices are also time- and labor-intensive, requiring months to install layers and even longer to cultivate the vegetation.

This E-Team is developing a different, modular approach to green roofing. By using modules, the team is looking to reduce the overall time and cost of installation. The modules also employ sub-irrigation wicking technologies allowing broader ranges of plants, even vegetables and herbs, to be grown on rooftops, balconies, or backyards.

DiverRx -- Preventing Recurrent Diverticulitis

DiverRx -- Preventing Recurrent Diverticulitis - $17,355

Diverticulitis is a disease characterized by the acute inflammation of a diverticulum (mucosal outpouching) of the colon. It’s accompanied by intense lower abdominal pain and requires emergency treatment, often involving hospitalization, with about 25% of these patients going on to have recurring attacks. The only treatment available to prevent recurrent attacks is colon resection, but many patients at risk for recurrence of diverticulitis are not surgical candidates due to advanced age or co-morbidities.

This E-Team is developing a device to address the clinical need of preventing recurrence of diverticulitis in a less invasive manner than elective colon resection. The device, an endoscopic RF ablation balloon catheter, will apply RF energy locally to the diverticular tissue, inducing a fibrotic response similar to that utilized by BARRX Medical in treating Barrett’s esophagus. The goal is to target diverticula for treatment while preserving healthy colon tissue.

The target market is relatively open (they’ve talked with several experts), with no prior minimally invasive methods or competitors that have successfully prevented recurrence of diverticulitis.

BioX-Design9

Stanford University School of Medicine, 2009 - $17,495

Over the last ten years, the number of patients seen in emergency departments (EDs) has grown rapidly, topping 120 million patients in 2008. Thus, efficient and accurate evaluation and diagnosis are essential to preventing overcrowding and ensuring high levels of patient care. Among the controllable causes of ED inefficiency, laboratory delays due in part to hemolysis are cited as one of the most prevalent and significant.

Hemolysis is the rupture of red blood cells and the release of their intracellular contents into a blood sample. It is by far the leading cause of unsuitable lab specimens, responsible for up to 70% of failed samples, and can delay the ED process by up to one hour: from drawing the blood to laboratory hemolysis analysis itself is approximately half an hour, and communicating the presence of hemolysis and redrawing the sample takes another half hour.

This E-Team is developing a user-friendly and cost-effective device that eliminates this delay. The device detects hemolysis of a blood draw immediately at the bedside, eliminating the delay associated with hemolyzed blood samples, thus increasing patient turnover in the emergency room, decreasing crowding, and increasing hospital revenue.

Medici Medical Technology

Duke University, 2009 - $11,850

Urinary incontinence (UI) affects twice as many women as men, primarily between the ages of 30-60, due to complications of childbirth, pregnancy and the configuration of the female urinary system. Despite the large number of women who suffer from UI, the current treatments are far from optimal, and no solution provides the control and convenience that patients need. Pharmacological therapies, pelvic muscle rehabilitation and surgery are most frequently used to treat UI. However, the non-invasive treatments (e.g., diapers) are stigmatized and uncomfortable. Surgical procedures are often ineffective, with failure rates as high at 50% for some treatments.

This E-Team, calling itself Medici Medical Technology, is developing two devices to treat stress UI in women. (The project started at an NCIIA funded program at Stanford). Stress UI is characterized by leakage that occurs during a quick (approximately one second) increase in pressure on the bladder during coughing, sneezing, hiking, sports or climbing stairs. The team’s time-delayed valve system addresses this issue by ensuring that such a short pulse of high pressure will not be sufficient to open the valves. However, when the patient does want to void, she can essentially do so normally by controlling the pressure in the abdomen for approximately three seconds, allowing each of the valves to open in series, one after another. Once all valves are open and urine is flowing, the patient will no longer need to bear down, as the pressure of the flow will keep the valves open. This device allows patients to regain their freedom and lifestyle by giving them back control of their own bodily functions while also providing convenience, requiring device changes only at each semi-annual checkup.

Cortical Concepts

Johns Hopkins University, 2009 - $20,000

The human spine is composed of vertically stacked vertebrae that form a protective canal for the spinal cord. Instability of the spine caused by vertebral fractures, deformities and other spinal disorders often requires surgical intervention, in which two metal screws are placed into parts of the vertebrae called pedicles and joined at adjacent vertebral levels with metal rods. However, patients with osteoporosis (and thus poor bone quality) are susceptible to screw pullout during the procedure. At the same time, osteoporotic patients stand to gain the most from the procedure.

Rather than reinvent the effective and well-established procedure of pedicle screw fixation, this E-Team is aiming to rebuild the strength of screw fixation in the pedicles by shifting the forces experienced by weak inner bone to strong outer bone. They call this method Corticoplasty™, and the device used in this approach will act as an intermediary between the bone-screw interface and provide a strong interference fit for existing screws in osteoporotic patients.

InSpiro

Johns Hopkins University, 2009 - $18,000

Every day as clinicians perform their morning rounds, patients are asked whether they have been using their incentive spirometer, an inexpensive bedside device that promotes deep breathing with a visual feedback mechanism. Current clinical protocol suggests performing deep breathing exercises using the incentive spirometers ten times per hour as a preventative measure to reduce postoperative pulmonary complications that include atelectasis, pneumonia, and bronchitis. As a testimony to their efficacy, incentive spirometers are provided to every single patient who undergoes general anesthesia. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to tell if a patient has actually been using the spirometer, forcing clinicians to rely on patient memory, which is neither objective nor accurate in the post-operative period.

This E-Team is designing an electronic, disposable incentive spirometer that will quantify when a patient uses it. The device is designed to allow hospital staff to monitor patient usage and lung capacity performance—features not possible with current embodiments. Ultimately, the team hopes to expand into the full spirometry market to help diagnose non-hospitalized patients for conditions such as pneumonia.

Fuel from the Fields

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2009 - $17,793

Cooking fuels are problematic in Haiti: while almost half of the population uses wood or agricultural residues as their primary cooking fuel, breathing the smoke from the fires leads to persistent respiratory lung infections, mostly in women and children. Most of the remainder of the population uses cleaner-burning wood charcoal, which can be prohibitively expensive (often 25% of a family’s income). Both options contribute to deforestation in a country that is already 98% deforested.

This E-Team, calling itself Fuel from the Fields, has developed a method over the last seven years of producing cleaner-burning, inexpensive charcoal made from agricultural waste. Supported by a number of grants from different organizations, the team has validated the viability of the technology and established three training centers and sixty workshops in Haiti producing charcoal for their own use and to sell. The team is now looking to establish centers for training, research, and business throughout Haiti (and eventually worldwide) that will teach farmers the process of making the charcoal, how to create micro-enterprises around the technology, how to innovate/improve on it, and document the technology’s influence.

Charcoal offers Haiti’s small farmers a way to create successful micro-businesses that produce alternative charcoal, generating new income and providing local employment opportunities while reducing deforestation and improving air pollution associated with cooking.

Lochlorine Chlorine Producer and Doser: Saving Lives Through Safe Water

University of California - Berkeley, 2009 - $20,000

Chlorination is a cheap and safe method to disinfect water that actively continues to disinfect for several days, unlike other methods that cannot guard against biological recontamination. Programs in the developing world using chlorination at the household level have seen water-borne illness decrease by 22-84%, but have faced logistical issues in reaching every home with a regular supply of chlorine and dosing errors that have led to under-chlorinated or over-chlorinated water. In Kenya, simple community chlorine dosers increased chlorine usage from 8-61%; however these dosers were limited in their ability to adapt to different volumes of water.

LoChlorine has developed two products, the LoChlorine Producer and LoChlorine Doser, both of which aim to safeguard family health by improving access to and the performance of chlorination. The LoChlorine Producer is a method that uses human power to produce chlorine locally that yields a reliable concentration of chlorine for pennies. The LoChlorine Doser is unique in its ability to automatically and appropriately dose arbitrary volumes of water. The design has no moving parts, uses no electricity, and could be mass-manufactured for less than ten dollars.

The team plans to implement the project initially in West Bengal, India, in partnership with the Aqua Welfare Society.

Don't Forget! Submission Deadline for Course & Program and Advanced E-Team Proposals: Friday, December 4, 2009

As the December deadline for Advanced E-Team and Course & Program grants rapidly approaches, we've interviewed Grants Manager Jennifer Keller Jackson on the common mistakes made when submitting grant proposals. Each of these podcasts is just a couple minutes. Worth a listen if you plan to submit a proposal!

Common Advanced E-Team Mistakes:

Common Course & Program Mistakes:

General Overview of NCIIA Grants Programs:

Have a grants-related question or topic you'd like to hear us talk about? Email us your ideas!

Bridging the gap

Two E-Teams talk about how they got venture capital funding—and the impact it made

One of the primary reasons the NCIIA is starting Venture Well is to address what you could call the “Big Gap”: the space between a group of college students working on an idea and a full-fledged venture worthy of investment. There’s a long way to go between the two, and it takes lots of hard work to get from one to the other. This summer we talked with two teams that succeeded in going from student E-Team to start-up to venture-funded company and discussed their journey through the world of early stage funding and venture capital.

How do you set yourself up to even be considered for venture capital funding? What are some of the pros and cons of taking equity financing? Their answers provide some good advice for prospective E-Teams.

The interviewees are both in the medical device field. Ashish Mitra was part of the Novel Aortic Endograft E-Team from Stanford, developers of a stent graft with an adhesive delivery platform. They went on to form Endoluminal Sciences and received $2 million in venture funding.

Evan Edwards, recipient of an E-Team grant in 2000, has been working toward commercializing his invention—a credit-card-sized epinephrine injector for people with severe allergies, dubbed the “EpiCard”—for the past eight years. His company, Intelliject, has received $13 million in venture funding and EpiCard is in late stages of development. Here are some highlights from the discussion.

How did you position yourselves for venture capital funding?

Edwards: The first step in moving toward VC funding is interacting with people. Talk with local businesses, join a venture group, join an on-campus entrepreneurship club. By going to their meetings and attending their seminars you’ll gain an understanding of how to write a business plan, or how to value your company, or how to do the financials; whatever you need. You’ll make your strengths even stronger and shore up your weaknesses. That will start you down the right path. Then you have to just get out there and see what they say. We made the rounds and presented the Intelliject business plan, and the feedback we received from the angels and VCs was very specific and very helpful. We re-worked the venture, then targeted VC firms that we thought would be excellent partners and obtained warm introductions.

Mitra: The first thing we concentrated on was the idea. Venture capitalists want big ideas with big potential returns, so we made sure we had a practicable, useful idea that addressed a huge unmet need. We made sure the need was validated by experts—physicians, engineers and VCs—and presented positive preliminary test data proving our concept.

What are some of the pros and cons of taking equity financing?

Edwards: On the plus side, you get smart money to help build the company, and you’re backed up by deep pockets if you need subsequent investment. The negative: big decisions need to be approved by the VC.

Mitra: For a university off-shoot like ours, the pros of equity financing far outweighed the cons. In fact, equity financing was really the only option given the R&D nature of the project and that none of the inventors/founders were in a position to support debt financing. VC funding not only enabled us to work under the mentorship of a highly experienced investor team but also helped us get to the point where we are moving to market faster. The obvious disadvantage with equity financing is the rate at which the shares of the founders are diluted over a period of time.

What would you recommend emerging E-Teams do to position themselves for major funding?

Edwards: The first thing is to get a great idea, put together a great team, and work hard on the idea and on interacting with people. Once you’re ready for the VCs, be targeted in your approach and evaluate VC firms carefully. Interview them as much as they interview you! Take a careful look at their domain expertise, their network, and their strategic thinking. Only do business with the firms that are right for you.

Mitra: My primary recommendation would be to involve a godfather—a star in the relevant area—right from the start. This will load the magazine of your pitching gun with words that tend to hit the bullseye of any investor pitch. The brighter the star, the more visible he or she should be on the team. One other piece of advice: investors pay much more attention to the team that will execute the project as compared to the team that invented it. The objective should not only be to convince them that the idea will work but also that the team can make it work.

*****

Both Mitra and Edwards agree that the the real work begins only after you receive major funding. Mitra needed to execute a multitude of tasks, from finding office space to hiring new employees, and Edwards used the money to finalize the product and move toward manufacturing. But both readily attest that the time and effort it takes to get VC funding is well worth it. The satisfactions, both mental and financial, can be substantial. And they’re both happy to get the chance to make a real difference in the world.

Featured articles

A collection of featured articles from NCIIA publications and newsletters.

Waiting a while for the payoff: Insitutec

Imagine trying to bootstrap a company that makes industrial positioning and measuring systems with nanoscale resolution. Sound tough? It’s exactly what Shane and Bethany Woody, co-founders of Charlotte-based InsituTec, Inc., have been doing since incorporating in 2001... read more

 

The right team at the right time: Keen Mobility

Often, the best teams don’t form as a result of careful planning: good teams synthesize when the right people work on the right project at the right time. Such is the story of Vail Horton and the Keen Mobility E-Team... read more

Credit, Debit, or Cell Phone?

Imagine that you’re shopping at the supermarket. As you reach the end of the checkout line, the cashier offers you the familiar menu of choices with a new twist: “Credit, debit, or cell phone?”

Ajay Bam, founder of Boston-based mobile commerce processor Vayusa, Inc., and twice a recipient of NCIIA funding, wants to make this transaction a reality... read more

 

Different problems, same solution

It’s hard to go wrong when giving people access to new information: people crave it, markets need it, and the benefits often extend far beyond the initial application. Case in point: two Sustainable Vision grantees recently took a look at widely divergent problems and arrived at the same basic solution: these people need more information... read more

E-Team grantees focusing on new ways to meet residential energy needs

Even a brief look at the statistics regarding home energy consumption in the US can be staggering: American households consume 355 billion kwh per year for heating and cooling alone; US homes produce 21 percent of the country’s total global warming pollution; by 2020, the US residential sector will account for 11.4 quadrillion BTUs of end-use energy annually…In the long run, satisfying our energy needs while decreasing CO² emissions will require a coordinated effort on a number of fronts, including developing renewable energies and increasing energy efficiency.

Over the years, a number of NCIIA E-Teams have looked to do just that... read more

  Two E-Teams talk about how they got venture capital funding—and the impact it made

One of the primary reasons the NCIIA is starting Venture Well is to address what you could call the “Big Gap”: the space between a group of college students working on an idea and a full-fledged venture worthy of investment. There’s a long way to go between the two, and it takes lots of hard work to get from one to the other. This summer we talked with two teams that succeeded in going from student E-Team to start-up to venture-funded company and discussed their journey through the world of early stage funding and venture capital... read more

Student-run, their way: EcoTech Marine

Amid all the talk these days about elevator pitches and equity, burn rate and liquidation, preferred stock and venture fairs, we present to you one simple and reassuring fact: you don’t have to get fancy angel or VC funding to succeed. In fact, in certain situations you might be better off without it. Such is the story of EcoTech Marine, a team of students with enough entrepreneurial spirit and drive to take a product all the way to market themselves, with a minimum of private investment... read more

 

Marketing to the poor: International Development Enterprises (IDE)

Paul Polak didn’t have to do any of this. At age forty-seven, Polak was a successful Colorado psychiatrist with a wife, three daughters and $3 million in real estate. But in his extensive world travels Polak witnessed more and more the debilitating effects of extreme poverty on the world’s rural poor—who often make less than one dollar a day—and became curious about ways to help... read more
 

A failure success story: John Fabel

The story of John Fabel teaches us that when it comes to entrepreneurial endeavors, failure isn’t always a bad thing: new opportunities arise, lessons are learned, people move forward. In this profile we take you through John’s story, from invention to incorporation to bankruptcy to eventual success, and find out what he learned along the way... read more

 

Open to learn: Evan Edwards and EpiCard

Evan Edwards knows a thing or two about business plans. The recipient of an NCIIA Advanced E-Team grant in 2000, Edwards has been working toward commercializing his invention—a credit-card-sized epinephrine injector for people with severe allergies, dubbed the “EpiCard”—for the past few years. We spoke with Edwards about what goes into a business plan, the lessons he’s learned about writing them, and his advice for nascent inventors looking to build a company around a new technology... read more

Insulating your home with...mushrooms?

Open up the walls of just about any new home and you’ll find the same thing: two sheets of plywood sandwiching an insulating foam core. Known as Structural Insulating Panels, or SIPS, the approach is gaining popularity in the building industry because it’s cheap and effective. Unfortunately the foam insulation in SIPS is also environmentally damaging, requiring petroleum to produce, and it isn’t biodegradable, eventually ending up in landfills... read more

 

Whole Tree taking a wholly different approach

A standard approach to dealing with problems in the developing world is to develop a specific solution to a specific problem: if people lack access to potable water, you develop a water filter for them to buy and use. Need lighting? Manufacture and sell solar lamps. While there’s nothing wrong with this approach, Whole Tree, Inc., a former Baylor University E-Team and the first recipient of Venture Well investment funding (see sidebar on page 4), is using a different tactic: alleviating poverty by providing access to huge markets in the US and abroad... read more

Innovation Videos

NCIIA supports student innovations, technologies and ventures to improve the lives of people in the US and overseas. Here's some of that work in action.

Thinking of starting a venture? Check out these tips from veteran entrepreneurs.

Visit our Youtube channel to see more clips.

 

  

Clean Energy/Tech

Green materials                             

  

Solar innovations

  

Heating and light

 

NCIIA's Global Health Technologies

Clean water/sanitation

    

Maternal/infant health

  

Access/transport

 

NCIIA's best student innovations

Open Minds 2011

 

Clean energy hits home, and more - NCIIA Fall Newsletter

Our fall newsletter is out. Clean energy in homes, new opportunities for faculty and students, 2010 Annual Conference and grantees from the May 2009 E-Team and Course and Program grants round. Read the newsletter here.

Cool tech file: Monitoring the 'health' of structures

When structures fail, the results can be catastrophic. Condition Engineering, a 2007 NCIIA E-Team grantee, designs systems that monitor the integrity of earthen infrastructure such as dams and levees, and the performance of air and space vehicles.

The technology: The SensorRope snakes down inside earthern structures and monitors the conditions of the structure, transmitting an early failure warning signal should the structural conditions be deemed dangerous. Condition Engineering is also developing a fiber optic sensing system for monitoring the temperature and structural integrity of high-temperature materials, such as a space vehicle's thermal protection shield.

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

Stanford University, 2001 - $16,700

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

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

The E-Team consisted of a business graduate student and two research associates, one with the Stanford University Medical Media and Information Technology Department and the other with the Department of Surgery. They worked with the owner of a hardware and software development company, a professor from the School of Medicine, and the president of Mentice Medical Stimulation AB, a simulator company.

Matrix NMR

Purdue University, 2001 - $16,000

Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) is an analytical tool for analyzing the molecular structure of a sample, including chemicals such as drugs, peptides, aromatic molecules, pesticides, food additives, and others. NMR experiments analyze complex samples such as blood and urine and help determine chemical information. NMR sets the standard for the analysis of new chemicals because it obtains different information from each atom in a sample with a nucleus-specific system. Though useful, slow speeds and high costs make NMR not commercially viable for some industries.

To remedy these problems, this E-Team from Purdue, comprised of three analytical chemistry Ph.D. candidates and a graduate researcher in the Technology Transfer Initiative, aimed to offer customers an improved NMR probe that significantly reduces the cost and time needed to perform NMR analysis. Instead of testing each sample serially, this team's technology tested them simultaneously. In addition, the technology required a smaller sample size.

Piggyback

Brown University, 2001 - $18,000

Medical professionals rely on a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) for a number of daily tasks. PDAs replace medical dictionaries and encyclopedias by providing accurate, convenient reference information, and some PDAs perform as medical instruments, such as EKG monitoring devices. However, even as medical professionals benefit from PDA use, they still must fill out patient forms manually, often transcribing information from the reference software to their PDA. Medical professionals who do not wish to fill out charts by hand must leave their patients in order to retrieve printouts from desktop printers.

This E-Team recognized a need for more advanced technology to help medical professionals transfer information more efficiently from their PDA to patient evaluation forms. The team's solution consisted of a small printer that clips to the back of the PDA. The printer conforms to the shape of most PDAs and prints on both label and printer stock. Using label stock, medical professionals can print out information and affix it quickly and efficiently to patients' forms. Piggyback's printer also has the potential to incorporate additional components, such as Bluetooth, a wireless technology.

The team grew out of Brown University's Entrepreneurship course. The five undergraduates involved in the team had skills and knowledge in engineering, economics, entrepreneurship, computer science, and intellectual property. Two professors with extensive knowledge of engineering and intellectual property protection advised the team.

E-Team to Develop an Oxygen Flow Indicator for Hospital Transport

University of Pittsburgh, 2001 - $13,085

The Center for Critical Care Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh discovered that some patients experience decompensation during transport while on oxygen support. Decompensation is a life-threatening problem that occurs when a patient's oxygen supply tubing develops a kink or when oxygen depletes within the storage cylinders. No device exists to indicate the flow of oxygen through a patient's tube. In fact, the only current method of determining if a patient is experiencing decompensation is to see if their face turns blue.

In response to this need for an oxygen flow monitor, this E-Team developed the Spindicator, a device made up of a cylindrical tube, an inline impeller, and gas inlet/outlet. Oxygen flowing through the tube forces the impeller to spin. To make impeller monitoring easy, the team painted the impeller two distinct colors that a person can detect from a minimum of six feet away. If the device fails, the inline impeller design facilitates oxygen flow to the patient. The Spindicator attaches to the nasal attachment or face mask just below the patient's face.

At a preliminary survey at the UPMC Presbyterian Hospital, 72% of those surveyed expressed extreme support of the product. Across the US, about 1,500 hospitals need to provide oxygen to approximately sixty-six million patients. If the Spindicator sold for $5 to $10, hospitals would pay only $250,000 to $440,000 each year for the product.

The team originated from a NCIIA-funded class, Product Realization. Three undergraduate students, with skills in mechanical and industrial engineering, worked on the team. They worked with four engineering school advisors and two medical/industry advisors. One of these advisors is a doctor from UPMC Presbyterian and headed the clinical trial for Spindicator.

An E-Team to Develop an Image Quality Analyzer for Endoscopes and Laparoscopes

University of Pittsburgh, 2001 - $13,000

According to the American Hospital Association, there are 6,400 hospitals in the US, and most of them own endoscopic equipment. Endoscopes and laparoscopes are narrow, tube-shaped optical devices that allow surgeons to see inside a patient's body without making incisions. The devices minimize trauma in surgery and therefore shorten patient recovery time. However, scope performance depends on the image quality they deliver, and many factors contribute to image quality deterioration, including collision with alien objects, poor maintenance, and the heat and chemicals used in cleaning and sterilization procedures. Currently, hospitals have no tool to ensure scope performance by evaluating and monitoring image quality.

To fill this need, this E-Team developed an image quality analyzer that facilitates efficient and automatic evaluation of the image quality of scopes. With the analyzer, hospitals can ensure the quality of endoscopic surgery and track the performance of scopes over time. Performance data shows optimal maintenance procedures and when replacement is necessary.

The E-Team consisted of two graduate students in engineering. They worked with an industrial engineering faculty member and the director of minimal invasive surgery at the Magee-Women's Hospital in Pittsburgh.

Ski Lift Footrest Retrofit

Rowan University, 2001 - $8,375

In the increasingly popular sport of snowboarding, innovations in board and accessory design are constantly appearing on the market. Designs in chair lifts, however, have not mirrored this trend. As a result, current chair lifts cater mostly to skiers, making them very difficult and unsafe for a snowboarder to use. In response to this, the SnoRhino E-Team 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.

Rota-Ride Snowboard Binding

University of Colorado - Boulder, 2001 - $11,970

Snowboard bindings can strain riders' knees and cause long-term joint injury, ligament failure, and muscle stress. Releasing one's feet from a snowboard requires a twisting and kicking motion from the bindings of the board that puts significant pressure on the knees and feet. While on a lift, the weight of the boards hangs from riders' feet, causing further strain. Typical bindings also constrain snowboarders' movements on the slopes. More advanced snowboarders use various binding angles to attack different types of terrain or when playing in terrain parks, but the process requires snowboarders to remove the board and use tools to adjust the binding.

In order to make the process of adjusting bindings easier, this E-Team created the Rota-Ride Snowboard Binding, a rotating front-foot binding that allows a snowboarder to make adjustments while bound into their board, without the use of tools. The Rota-Ride rotates freely on the board, locks in a large number of positions to prevent rotation, and fastens securely. It is similar in weight, size, and flexibility to bindings currently on the market.

This E-Team consisted of four undergraduate engineering students, a business student, and a music student with experience in market analysis. They worked with an engineering professor who was the co-director of the Integrated Teaching and Learning Program.

Tire Deformation Monitoring System by Team Dewey

University of Colorado Boulder, 2001 - $13,900

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently proposed federal legislation mandating that within three years from passing all new cars and trucks should have real-time tire pressure monitoring systems installed to increase highway safety. Many companies have anticipated the passing of the proposed legislation by developing relevant technologies that monitor tire pressure. However, tire pressure fluctuates when exposed to variables such as temperature, and may not be the most efficient way to ensure proper tire inflation.

In response to this problem, this E-Team of five undergraduates--four in engineering and one in business--from the University of Colorado, Boulder, developed an alternative device that monitors tire shape to ensure proper inflation. Monitoring tire shape has the added advantage of providing other safety information, such as whether a tire is over-inflated or deformed, information that the pressure gauge system cannot provide. Beyond ensuring greater driver and passenger safety, correct tire inflation can also increase gas mileage by up to ten percent because of reduction in drag. Proper inflation increases the life span of a tire, so consumers are motivated both economically and environmentally to purchase and use this device. Because the system is independent of the tire, it can be transferred to a new set of tires and reused multiple times.

Self Vacuum Storage Bag E-Team

University of Central Florida, 2001 - $17,000

Vacuum packaging presents many benefits over conventional storage methods. Vacuum packaging holds food and other perishables for three to five times longer than re-sealable airtight bags, such as those manufactured by ZiplocTM. In addition, vacuum packaging can eliminate freezer burn, reduce product shrinkage, and stop moisture loss and evaporation. It also has applications in long-term storage, chemical and industrial packaging, emergency medical response, and military and space items packaging.

This E-Team from the University of Central Florida developed a vacuum packaging system called ZipVac that incorporates a vacuum sealer directly into a storage bag. When a bag is sealed, the device pumps air and other gases out of the airtight bag through a pumping system at the top. Removing the gases after the bag is sealed ensures more complete gas elimination and enhances the freshness and preservation of stored perishables. The process minimizes storage volume while eliminating freezer burn, product shrinkage, and stopping moisture loss and evaporation. The E-Team was awarded a U.S. patent for their system.

CHI (Cheap Haptic Interface)

Stanford University, 2001 - $11,500

According to research and marketing firm CyberEdge, the virtual reality market was valued at $24 billion in 2000 and is expected to grown by more than 50% each year this decade. To be a part of that growth, this E-Team from Stanford University developed a Cheap Haptic Interface (CHI) system that provided a cheap technology for a multitude of uses.

A haptic interface is a design technique that allows people to use their sense of touch to interact with remote or virtual environments on computers. The user of this type of system can "touch" objects simulated on a personal computer by interacting in real life with motors, like small robots, or other physical devices. By grasping one of the limbs of the robot, the user can exchange information with the PC and move the position of objects in the interface. The technology has several potential applications, such as making computers more accessible for people with disabilities, training people for tasks requiring hand-eye coordination (such as surgery), and playing games.

Updateable Message Personal CD Player - Gen. 3

Northwestern University, 2001 - $12,600

This E-Team from Northwestern University tried to create a new mass medium:messaging on recorded music discs. These messages took the form of ads or educational information. The approach had several advantages over competitive forms of media, such as radio and TV.

The system utilized two versions of CDs. One sold at full price and contained no advertisements. The other contained the same music at substantial discount but played only in an updateable message CD player. When the consumer purchased this latter version, updateable messages would play. Advertisers' messages subsidized the CDs and players, significantly lowering the retail cost for consumers.

The system sent messages in digital form via the subcarrier of the Northwestern University radio station, WNUR. Walkman-style CD players containing the E-Team's hardware module (a radio receiver, memory, and control circuitry) received the broadcast message. The messages were stored in the receiver, and the user controlled when the messages played.

This E-Team consisted of four undergraduate engineering and computer science students. They worked with an engineering professor on technical aspects of the project. The founder and president of SixtySeven Kilohertz, Inc., a company focused on developing commercial applications for the new bandwidth, assisted the team with marketing matters.

Cargo Organizer Project

Loyola Marymount University, 2001 - $14,620

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

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

Improved Foot Sensor

Johns Hopkins University, 2001 - $8,200

Roughly 1.4 million lower extremity fractures, including 950,000 to the ankle, occur annually in the US. The majority of these musculoskeletal injuries require some type of physical therapy. Because the total cost involved in diagnosis, surgery, or rehabilitation of such injuries amounts to billions of dollars, this E-Team from John Hopkins University developed a low-cost foot sensor that aids patients in recovery.

Research shows that patients recover faster with limited weight-bearing programs, but gauging how much pressure to apply to the injury before doing harm is difficult. The team's foot sensor measured the pressure and alerted patients if they put too much pressure on their injury. Patients could adjust the pressure threshold according to the nature of the injury, the severity, and progress in rehabilitation.

The E-Team consisted of ten undergraduate students enrolled in a year-long biomedical engineering course sequence with skills in computer programming and computer, biomedical, and electrical engineering. The students worked under the umbrella of Homewood Biomedical Design Associates, a university-based corporation. An engineering professor worked with the team, along with an engineering lecturer, the clinical director of Physiotherapy Associates, and the president and founder of Venture Quest, Inc., a management firm.

Breast Augmentation Instrument - BME 590 Technical Entrepreneurship

University of Miami, 2001 - $9,800

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

Aqua Vitae

University of Georgia, 2001 - $16,500

Aqua Vitae Enterprises looked to manufacture, market, and distribute a patented (U.S. Patent #5,593,678) new drug, called Aqua Vitae, that significantly reduces the mortality rate of ornamental and edible fish during the process of handling and shipping from over 50% to under 5%. In the ornamental fish industry, this total loss exceeds $50 million per year. The loss is even larger for the edible fish industry.

In testing, the use of Aqua Vitae has reduced these losses by more than 80% by providing a temporary boost to the immune systems of the fish involved. This E-Team researched the optimal performance and packaging characteristics this industry would seek in such a drug, and developed a plan for bringing it to market.

ADHD Interactive Technologies

University of Georgia, 2001 - $13,250

ADHD InterActive Technologies (InterActive), an E-Team from the University of Georgia, developed an innovative set of PC-based games and exercises designed to enhance the cognitive skills of children suffering from Attention Deficit, Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Currently, three to five percent of all children between the ages of four and thirteen have been diagnosed with ADHD. Present treatment options include both drugs and behavioral therapies. Neither treatment "cures" the disorder, nor do they enhance the development of any mental skills on the part of the children.

Most practitioners in this field suggest that ADHD children are deficient in the following six areas:

  • selective attention
  • sustained concentration
  • auditory discrimination
  • visual discrimination
  • impulse control
  • encoding skills
InterActive worked with Dr. Malcolm Smith to develop a series of PC-based games and exercises ADHD children can play to enhance their cognitive abilities in each of the above areas. Based on market research, InterActive concluded there is a large and a highly committed market for these products.

F3 Innovations, Inc.

University of Tennessee, 2001 - $16,700

The Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) patented an innovative lighting system for encapsulated luminous material, based on the concept of fluorescent lighting. The lighting system is capable of functioning even if a section is broken, which fluorescent bulbs cannot do. In addition, the system is more energy efficient than other designs, by up to fifty percent. The concept required further development, including analysis of materials and methods for commercialization, and the F3 Innovations E-Team signed a licensing agreement with ORNL to continue work on the technology. The team targeted a number of specific areas within the lighting market for this technology, specifically automobile signals, interior/exterior architectural lighting, and commercial signage. The E-Team consisted of several engineering graduate students working with engineering and business faculty and the Senior Development Staff Member at ORN.

IPRO 353 Sensor Systems in the Transportation Industry

Illinois Institute of Technology, 2001 - $18,150

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

Enhanced Machine Head Design

Rowan University, 2001 - $10,830

When handling a stringed instrument such as a guitar or violin, unwanted jarring of the instrument's tuning knobs can occur. Slightly bumping an instrument's headstock (top of the instrument) while moving about or leaning an instrument against a wall or a floor during break periods can lead to the detuning of the instrument's strings.

With Clutch Knobs in place, this detuning cannot occur. If accidentally bumped, the knobs spin freely without altering the string tension. To tune the guitar, the musician turns the knobs as usual.

IMPACT Indicator

Stanford University, 2001 - $14,000

Shoes should be replaced when they can no longer provide adequate cushioning; using a shoe beyond its useful life greatly increases the user's risk of impact-related injuries. The Impact Indicator, developed by this Stanford University E-Team, is incorporated into a shoe and monitors use of the shoe and displays its remaining life. The concept is similar to that of the Oral-B Indicator found on toothbrushes, but for running shoes.

The indicator system consists of mechanical hardware, and electronics and software, which reside on a microprocessor. A signal is produced when the user's foot compresses the cushioning mechanism in the sole of the shoe with each step. Runners and other active persons who rely on their shoe equipment to be in top shape can use this product to ensure they are using a safe shoe. The team filed for an international patent and researched a sticker-sized version of the product for distribution directly to the consumer.

Pin Pictures

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, 2001 - $1,650

Pin Pictures is another advancement in the joining of art and media for advertising and entertainment purposes. Pin Pictures designs allow for the production of a three-dimensional pin image of a two-dimensional image. This product captures the imagination of viewers and entertains users.

The product is designed to be a novelty item, similar to the Pinpressions found in many stores today. The product is a simple pin matrix. The pins are controlled by a microprocessor and can form a three-dimensional image on the front of the product by changing their position relative to the base of the product.

The E-Team was comprised of three undergraduate engineering students from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.

Virtual Visit

University of Southern California, 2001 - $18,000

The Virtual Visit project started in the fall of 2000 at the University of Southern California Department of Biomedical Engineering with the support of the Alfred Mann Institute and the USC School of Gerontology. Its goal was to increase communication between the elderly and their families by providing a simple and robust videoconferencing system. The device uses typical consumer electronic items found in most homes to enable videoconferencing without requiring any computer literacy. It uses a high speed Internet and phone connection and a regular television display.

The core student E-Team reevaluated the design, conducted feasibility analyses, determined funding strategies, found strategic partners, evaluated intellectual property protection, conducted a market analysis, and constructed a functional prototype.

Find.Location.Instantly

Lehigh University, 2001 - $14,220

FLI Technologies developed Seek, a product that satisfies the ever-present need to locate misplaced items. Seek blended plastics, rubber molding, and circuitry in a manner that satisfies the criterion for performance, reliability, and style. Seek was created by Lehigh University college students for college students. The college market is a niche not targeted by any competitors. Beginning with the introduction of Seek, FLI's goal was to broaden the personal item-location market and be the leading supplier for college students.

The team was comprised of eight undergraduate students from Engineering, Design, and Finance.

Nanometrix, Inc.

University of Tennessee, 2001 - $13,150

Nanometrix, Inc. was formed to capitalize on a substantial opportunity from a groundbreaking patent-pending technology developed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Nanometrix has secured an option on the exclusive license to the Molecular Comb, a revolutionary microfluidics technology that can separate virtually any chemical for laboratory or field analysis. The Molecular Comb is a miniaturized chip-based platform technology with numerous potential applications that include environmental monitoring, immunodiagnostics, and DNA and protein screening. The Molecular Comb is a novel method for the separation of molecules and has many potential advantages over existing art including increased accuracy and discrimination; decreased costs; increased throughput; and reduced size, power requirements, and heat generation.

JackHeat: A Lightweight, Fashionable, Self-Heating Jacket

University of Pittsburgh, 2001 - $14,200

JackHeat is a self-heating, lightweight jacket. The E-Team successfully developed a  prototype, made possible through the discovery of a new carbon-based material, Gorix, which allows heat to pass through evenly while using a minimal amount of battery power.

The E-Team consisted of two students from computer engineering and a third from marketing. Their faculty advisors were three engineering professors and one from marketing. One of their three industry advisors is the inventor of Gorix. They hope to enter the market as the first self-heating, general consumer-oriented jacket, offering a variety of additional skins for increased profitability.

UV E-Team

University of Maryland, 2001 - $19,500

The Center for Superconductivity at the University of Maryland researched and developed MgZnO-based photodetectors on silicon substrate for sensing Ultra Violet (UV) light that is significantly less expensive than current substitutes. The UV E-Team improved this UV sensor technology further and grew it on glass and plastics. The additional cost reduction made it more affordable to integrate sensors into watches or small electronic devices used in the detection, measuring and tracking of UV radiation exposure, the number one cause of skin cancer. The UV E-Team developed a PC-based prototype watch that was used to test UV sensors and demonstrated to potential customers interested in completing the integrated circuitry design to integrate the sensor into their own products.

Comfort Computing, Inc.

Babson College, 2001 - $7,400

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

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

Handprint

Brown University, 2001 - $18,000

Handprint was a startup company conceived by an entrepreneurial team at Brown University in conjunction with Zebra Technologies. Handprint developed portable printers unlike any currently available. The first in its line of printers, the Primo, is one of the smallest portable printers on the market, intended for use with wireless web browsing products such as cellular phones and PDAs. With the recent developments in color technologies used in flat panels, PDA screens, and cellular telephones, the demand for wireless color printing capabilities will rapidly expand in the near future.

Double Dutch Service

Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2000 - $17,000

The automatic Double Dutch Device is a product that revolutionizes conventional rope-jumping. The product can be used for recreation, cardiovascular fitness, or to enhance coordination and agility. The device consists of two stations facing each other in mirror image relation that turn a pair of ropes 180 degrees out-of-phase.

This E-Team received continuing NCIIA support for the development and early stages of the commercialization of the device. Renewed funding helped refine the prototype, expand IP protection based on an initial patent granted, and make connections to begin marketing the product. The team leader recruited a new group of students and worked with them on further development and commercialization.

Zymex Pharmaceuticals

University of Georgia, 2000 - $17,000

This E-Team developed proof of concept for a drug discovery technology to identify promising protease inhibitors for application in a wide variety of diseases. The project was based on work done by a graduate student and a business plan developed for a competition at UGA in which it took first prize. The team, consisting of the grad student and a group of MBA and law students, assembled a group of technical and business advisors with the intention of launching a startup to commercialize the drug discovery process. The process, called Zymaccel, has several advantages over traditional approaches that could result in improved cost efficiency and better performing drugs with fewer side effects. Tests of the first compound identified with this system were promising. The E-Team proved the process by identifying three additional compounds, and continued to pursue commercial development of the process and product.

Bubble Imaging Technology

California Institute of Technology, 2000 - $14,000

This E-Team received NCIIA funding to continue work and refine prototypes on a previously funded project. The team explored various approaches to creating bubble images, and settled on a cost-effective technique that they prototyped. Patents were filed, and the developed a business plan. They developed strategic marketing relationships for a Bubble Clock as their first product.

eCommunityGuide.com

University of Massachusetts, 2000 - $7,300

This E-Team developed a web-based electronic community guide. The team prototyped sites in their local area and created a system that can be readily transferred to suburban and rural communities in partnership with a small local newspaper. The community guide uses an advertising and sponsorship revenue model that brings in revenues from an early stage. The project won second prize in a local business plan competition and operated a prototype system in several local communities for some time. In one location, the site had a very high usage rate (2,200 hits/week from a community or 4,400).

Off-Grid Low Power Home Heating System

Swarthmore College, 2000 - $17,900

This E-Team developed an energy-efficient home heating system capable of being powered by solar cells or backup power in a blackout situation. The product consists of a family of innovations in valve and control devices that reduce electric power consumption by a factor of at least 50%.

The team consisted of undergraduates from two institutions with faculty advisors in engineering and external advisors in market strategy, heating systems sales and related industries.

Update:

The team is incorporated as Heat Assured Systems of New York.

Griffin Analytical Technologies (GAT) MMS

Purdue University, 2000 - $15,500

Mass spectrometers are high-tech devices used to separate and analyze chemical substances at the molecular level, useful for a number of industries but especially defense and homeland security. The Griffin E-Team from Purdue developed an improved mass spectrometer that was smaller, cheaper, and better than existing 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. As of 2007 the company has forty-five employees and is growing rapidly.

Creation and Commercialization of the Interactive Educational Software for the Sciences

Whitman College, 2000 - $12,000

This grant supported the development of currently unavailable interactive educational materials for teaching about chromatography, environmental analysis, and other chemical analysis techniques and equipment. The project employed students to create multimedia materials on specific topics that would be packaged and sold through the Web and other means. Battele Pacific lab (BPNL) was a partner and advisor to the project. Three teams worked on different products, each consisting of several students from varied backgrounds.

Technical Entrepreneurship Portable Insulin Cooler

University of Miami, 2000 - $6,500

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

Teledaze Step-In Telemark Binding

University of Colorado - Boulder, 2000 - $11,500

This grant supported the development of a new step-in telemark ski binding. Using NCIIA funding, the team further developed and refined a design for a binding that improves on existing technology to provide a superior step-in binding with few moving parts, low weight and applicability to both lift area and backcountry situations. The members of the team included dedicated teleskiers and a group of advisors with appropriate experience and connections. The team built and tested prototypes, developed a market survey and business plan, and explored IP opportunities.

Monarch Team

University of Colorado - Boulder, 2000 - $6,500

This grant supported development of a commercial version of an educational plush toy that realistically models the life stages of the Monarch butterfly. The toy, which was developed in collaboration with scientists at a local butterfly farm, is highly accurate and interactive, allowing the user to physically transform it from larva to pupa to emergent adult butterfly. The team of engineering students enlisted faculty advisors in engineering and business, as well as mentors from The Butterfly Pavilion, a local nature museum. The team planned to develop patent protection, redesign the prototype for manufacturability and cost, and develop a marketing plan.

FENIX

University of the Arts, 2000 - $12,325

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

Combined Human and Electric Powered Vehicle (CHEPV)

University of Portland, 2000 - $13,200

This grant supported the development of a three-wheeled (2 articulating front 1 rear) recumbent electric bicycle designed to operate like a bike, feel like a car, and provide comfortable, easy commuting with minimal energy consumption and pollution. The team consisted of three mechanical engineering students working with advisors from business and entrepreneurship, and an external advisor in the industry. The team prototyped and tested a system, defined the market opportunity, and developed a business plan.

Electroluminescent (EL) Bicycle

University of Florida, 2000 - $16,350

This grant supports the development of a safety lighting system for bicycles that uses electroluminescent strips on the frame and wheels of the cycle to create a highly visible, easily recognizable shape. The PI is recruiting two mechanical engineering undergraduates to work intensively on the project, developing refined prototypes, filing patents and preparing the product for commercialization.

The team has recruited the CEO of the company making the EL panels and components as a mentor. He is enthusiastic about the project, and close collaboration is planned. Prior to submitting a grant proposal to NCIIA, substantial background work established the technical feasibility of the project, determining costs and market opportunities. The product works as well as or better than existing technologies.

Screening Probe System for Coronary Artery Disease

Case Western Reserve University, 2000 - $20,000

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

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

Products for Mobile Robotics

Trinity College, 2000 - $15,500

This project added an E-Team option to an existing innovative program (funded by NSF) that allows students to participate in hands-on innovation teams throughout their academic career. The old program had students from technical and business disciplines working on industry-sponsored problems and involved students throughout their last three undergraduate years. The curriculum involved independent work in teams and a series of mini-courses on entrepreneurship, business, and management topics. The program provided open-ended learning experiences that empowered students and improved the relevance of their educational experience. The E-Team-focused option for the teams allowed them to pursue product and venture development based on their own ideas rather than serving the needs of industrial sponsors.

The NCIIA grant supported the development of two novel products for application in mobile robotics:

  • a motor controlled co-processor (Handy-CoP) that improves the performance of a microcomputer used by many robotics
  • The Image Box (IB), a low-cost, intelligent camera that incorporates a CMOS image sensor and digital signal processing chip.
Patent searches carried out by students indicated that both products are novel. The work was carried out by students in the robot engineering and digital signal processing laboratories at Trinity.

Digi-me

Lehigh University, 2000 - $10,000

Digi-me is a service that helps college-age job seekers and career changers market themselves better by putting their resumes and portfolios in a digital format. Digi-me offers clients the ability to create a digital resume and portfolio on a mini-disc or CD-ROM. These digital resumes and portfolios can include video and audio clips, CAD files, and various graphics in addition to text. An employer can get a more personal view of the applicant and the applicant's ability to communicate, as the job seeker demonstrates his/her communication skills and personality. Digi-me originated in a Lehigh University student E-Team project through the Integrated Product Development course. The project included market research and research on financial and technical feasibility.

Mussel Software

Marshall University, 2000 - $10,408

Mussel Software developed a "Mathematics Engine" for authors of mathematics-based web pages, online math courses, and other stand-alone applications. The college textbook and software market is estimated to be 5.7 billion and is rapidly growing. The team designed this Mathematics Engine as an integrated package of Java2 Class Files. Individual JCFs (such as differentiation or linear algebra) were created, tested, documented, and integrated into the Mathematics Engine. The package was generic so that the e-course and text book authors could purchase licenses to use the software, concentrating on their front-end interface rather than Java programming. Mussel Software retained resale rights, enabling sale to multiple users using the Federal Express purchase tracking software as an established business model. The team's biggest competitor is the handheld calculator used by math students. The calculator is poised for obsolescence as laptops and palm pilots increase in power and drop in price. The ability of these devices to access the Internet is the final nail in the coffin.

2Cam Rock Anchor

University of Colorado - Boulder, 2000 - $14,932

Seth Murray, an avid rock climber for many years, was climbing in Yosemite National Park when he noticed trails of small craters leading up the rock's face. The craters were formed by climbers hammering pitons, or climbing nails, into the rock to serve as anchors. Bothered by the environmental impact of the relatively few climbers, Murray was determined to design a new device that would utilize existing holes without damaging them further.

In the Spring of 2000, Murray formed a team of engineers at the University of Colorado, Boulder to design his idea, a two-cam rock anchor. Seth's design was much smaller than other designs on the market and arguably more efficient. That summer, the team filed for a patent, created a business plan, and developed twenty prototypes to help market their idea.

The following year brought much success for the team. At NCIIA's March Madness for the Mind exhibition at the Smithsonian Institute, the team found investment money for their newly created company, Splitter Gear Inc. The money helped the new company, and in August 2001, it sold 140 2Cam Rock Anchors, the official name of the proprietary device. They currently have a deal with an exclusive distributor to help sell their product, and are working on a 4Cam and a 6Cam rock anchor device, among other climbing gear. Although Murray has his hands full with all the worries of a new business, he hopes to soon expand Splitter Gear to become the leader in the climbing industry.

Bluetooth Based Wireless RF Transceiver

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, 2000 - $3000

This E-Team designed a 2.4 GHZ wireless transmitter and receiver capable of transmitting CD quality audio. The receiver performs much the same as current A/V receivers, but wirelessly and without amplification. The transmitter can be affixed to any audio device, but is designed specifically for portable players such as CD or MP3 players, allowing instant connectivity to the variety of devices that populate our environment with a minimal amount of setup time. It also (potentially) allows retrofitting of existing audio or video devices to allow them to be used intermittently for alternative inputs.

Arthroscopic Simulator

University of Miami, 2000 - $13,500

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

Aerodynamic Lift Enhancement Device

City College of New York, 2000 - $16,000

Heavy payload demands for airfoils require the use of new devices, which can improve lift characteristics. The idea of adding kinetic energy to the boundary layer (formed along the surface of a wing), as a means of increasing the maximum lift has been obvious since the basic mechanism of boundary layer separation was first understood. Mechanisms of backward-directed slats on the leading edge of the wing and vortex generators located on the top of the wing are in current usage. This E-Team introduced a novel design for a vortex generator mounted on the leading edge of the wing. This device was tested in CCYN's wind tunnel and showed a sixteen percent reduction in the coefficient of drag. The location on the leading edge appears to offer the largest increase in drag reduction, and in time could become the device of choice for drag reduction in fuel consumption. Using a Boeing 777 standard aircraft long range configuration, the projected fuel savings is $250,000/aircraft annually. This project initiated the development, testing and commercialization of this device for use in aircraft.

Tornado Alarm Design, Beta Test, and Incidental Manufacture

Missouri State University, 2000 - $10,750

Tornadoes cause about sixty deaths per year. While many of these are preventable through the current National Weather Service Watch and Warning system, opportunities to save lives still exist. This E-Team developed and alpha tested an in-home barometric Tornado Alarm (TA) to warn people in hurricane danger areas. The test consisted of placing approximately 300 beta TAs with documenting volunteers in tornado-prone regions before the start of the 2001 tornado season. These volunteers documented the occurrence of thunderstorms and tornadoes near the TA and its operation. The results were analyzed to determine warning times, false alarm rates, and other operational and marketing parameters. Tornado alarm benefits:

  • one does not have to monitor radio or TV to be warned
  • sleeping or otherwise occupied persons are warned
  • persons in rural areas are better protected

An E-Team to Develop a Keyless Key

University of Pittsburgh, 2000 - $14,625

This E-Team developed a unique security system that allows a person who is permitted entry through a door to have access without requiring the use of a key, card, or other device. The device is a small mountable electronic chip or substrate that can be placed on the back of a watch or other personal item. The chip communicates with the base station lock to unlock the door.

Three undergraduate students were on this E-Team, with skills in electrical engineering, manufacturing, object-oriented solutions, advanced product development and testing, and understanding of interfacing and systems integration. Three faculty advisors in electrical and industrial engineering assisted the team.

Precision Wire Saw Machining of Advanced Engineering Materials

North Carolina State University, 2000 - $18,000

This E-Team studied the wire machining technologies for advanced engineering materials. The traditional inner diamond saw blade for slicing the single crystal silicon ingot to thin wafers has reached its technical limits. The free-abrasive wire saw machining process has been developed to address the needs to slice large size, twelve-inch or bigger in diameter, silicon wafers. One of the recent developments in wire saw wafer slicing technology is the thin, fixed-abrasive diamond wire. This new type of wire has not only improved the material removal rate in wire saw machining but also expanded the type of work-material from silicon to ceramics, composites, eastomers, and other non-electrically conductive ceramic materials. Three new wire saw machining configurations, 2-axis wire contour sawing, 4-axis wire contour sawing, and cylindrical wire sawing, were proposed. Similar to the wire EDM process for electrically conductive materials, these new wire saw machining methods can provide a flexible and cost-effective method to machine non-electrically conductive materials to complicated shapes.

A Flexible Protein Modeling System for Undergraduate

Milwaukee School of Engineering, 2000 - $13,900

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

Guardian 2000 Global Monitoring System

East Tennessee State University, 2000 - $12,500

This grant further developed the first of three models of the"Guardian 2000 Monitoring system," a cutting edge invention designed to monitor the location of children, Alzheimer patients and other valued people and material items. The E-Team consisted of highly qualified faculty advisors (from both technical and business disciplines from two universities), technical and business experts/mentors, engineering and business students to insure success in bringing this device to the market.

The system was prototyped in a NCIIA-supported class; the grant supported a multi-institutional, multidisciplinary team of students from ETSU and LMU in developing production prototypes, business and marketing plans, and patents.

Design and Development of a Flexible Bolt

California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, 2000 - $10,300

This E-Team designed and developed a flexible bolt. The bolt can be used for attaching misaligned parts and non-parallel parts, as well as for selective compliance devices. The product prototype was used for studying the effectiveness of the design, as well as for patenting and market search and development.

The E-Team consisted of a graduate ME and undergraduate ME student working with Dr. Saeed Niku. The work plan involved further design work, finite element analysis and creation of proof of concept prototypes in addition to initiating patenting and contracting with WISC for a market assessment study. The E-Team marketed the product through the university's tech transfer foundation.

IMPACT Indicator

Stanford University, 1999 - $12,500

A running shoe exceeds its useful life and should be replaced when it no longer provides adequate cushioning. One of the major problems runners have is impact-related injury due to worn out shoes. The IMPACT Indicator is a monitor incorporated into a shoe that calculates the use of the shoe and displays its remaining life. The IMPACT Indicator prevents impact-related injuries that arise from using a shoe after it has worn out. The current model uses sensors on the toe and heel of the shoe, and a touch of a button indicates how much life is left in the shoe.

Both the consumer and the manufacturer benefit from the Indicator. The device can help reduce the number of injuries to runners and encourage consumers to purchase more shoes. The athletic shoe market is $14.7 billion annually, with the running shoe market comprising 16%.

The E-Team includes a graduate Product Design student at Stanford and an MBA student at the University of Texas at Austin. The team has support from a Product Design faculty member and two industry mentors, including a board certified sports medicine doctor.

Turbohead

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1999 - $17,970

The Turbohead is a re-engineered turbocharger configuration designed so that the entire mechanism resides inside the head of an engine. This design is cost effective in terms of manufacturing and installation, produces a more efficient and powerful turbo system, and eliminates many of the wear problems existing products have. The Turbohead also creates a larger potential market for turbochargers, as they are normally a specialty item. The team has completed initial feasibility testing and a patent search.

They plan to take their idea to the market by prototyping and testing their design and filing a patent. The team draws on RPI's resources to help start up a business: the Entrepreneurs Club, an Inventor's Studio, and the Rensselaer Technology Park.

Students in the team are mechanical engineering majors, with one major doubling in management. The project idea began in the NCIIA-funded course Inventor's Studio.

EYE-LOCK

University of Colorado Boulder, 1999 - $15,350

The Eye-Lock is a better bicycle lock. With the touch of a button, Eye-Lock enables the automatic unlocking of a bicycle and recoiling of the lock cable. The lock is controlled by an encoded infrared transmitter/receiver, and one click eliminates the usual fumbling with a tiny key into an awkwardly located lock opening.

The idea for the Eye-Lock originated in an engineering and entrepreneurship course. Three mechanical engineers from the course team decided to continue the project.

SUPERHAUL Team

University of Colorado Boulder, 1999 - $17,100

A "big wall climb" is rock climber terminology for ascending a rock face either for multiple days or for such a long distance that a haul bag is required to carry extra gear. The SUPERHAUL product enables rock climbers to carry heavy supplies and equipment quickly and efficiently when making big wall climbs. Saving time and energy are integral to completing a big wall climb safely. The product is a small, self-contained unit that provides all of the functions of existing products but with greater ease.

The market potential for the product is mainly for avid rock climbers. The product also has applications for search and rescue crews who must haul people and materials up steep inclines, as well as construction crews who must move objects to high, hard-to-access locations.

Four mechanical engineering students work on the SUPERHAUL. The team intends to include a business student from the CU School of Business to strengthen the team in marketing and business plan development. The team plans to prototype the design, patent it, perform a market assessment and create a business plan.

Syringe Disposal Design Team

University of Virginia, 1999 - $20,000

This E-Team developed a syringe disposal system for use by mass inoculation programs, particularly in the third world. Current disposal systems often do not protect users from accidental needle pricks, and the containers are too easy to open, resulting in dangerous reuse of needles. The container will be lightweight, puncture resistant, and very difficult to open once the needles are disposed.

The World Health Organization (WHO) would be the primary user of this technology. The long-term objective of the team is to form a company that will license or produce products that will improve healthcare safety worldwide.

The E-Team is made up of graduate and undergraduate students studying chemical engineering, engineering science, and biomedical engineering.

Simulection.com

University of Massachusetts, 1998 - $15,569

The team designed a product to allow participants to engage in a web-based role-playing exercise simulating the presidential election process. The product is a sophisticated database with a web interface that serves as an entertaining and educational simulation, to be used by political science courses and high school civics classes. It would help educators teach about the election process by enabling students to model elections online and manipulate a variety of factors and inputs.

The team was comprised of three graduate students and two undergraduate seniors in the Political Science Department. The team had faculty advisors specializing in political science, electrical engineering, marketing, and computing.

IPD Radar Gun Project

Lehigh University, 1999 - $15,780

Modern athletic teams spend extensive resources to study and minimize uncertainty in player performance. This E-Team is developing a device to test performance and correlate that information with environmental conditions. The device includes data collection hardware ("radar gun," weather station, and computer hardware) and feed collected data through a statistical program relevant to the sport played. This information allows coaches to determine how well players perform in different environmental conditions, providing data on player performance correlated with temperature, humidity, and wind conditions.

No similar coordinated system currently exists, with the main competition to the product being radar guns and weather stations. The components are arranged in a protective, transportable, self-contained, reasonably priced package. The target markets for this product are baseball, softball, tennis, and soccer leagues.

The E-Team members come from each of three colleges at Lehigh University. Students on the team major in economics, marketing, accounting, architecture, computer science, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, finance, and business information systems.

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

Clarkson University, 1999 - $15,500

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

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

The Why Files

YubaNet.com

FleetOwner.com

Sierra Environmental Analysis Ltd.

University of Nevada - Reno, 1999 - $19,800

The SEAL-Pup is a water quality sampling device capable of taking samples automatically or under operator control at depths of up to 150 feet. The device is highly portable and able to take continuous real-time chemical measurements and water samples. The original design was prototyped in the course Engineering Design/Analysis for Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Design of Products.

The team has identified many potential customers interested in using the product, including public agencies who monitor water quality, mining companies who need to remediate lakes they have polluted, public water companies, and environmental agencies. The final design has an operating depth of 1600 feet, acoustic triggering of solenoids, a microcontroller system, lateral thrusters, and video cameras.

Demonstrations of the SEAL-Pup gained interest in future commercial models from the Environmental Protection Agency and the US Navy. The team is made up of electrical engineering students and faculty.

Bubble Imaging Technology (BIT)

California Institute of Technology, 1999 - $18,250

Bubble Imaging Technology (BIT) is a new, patent-pending technology used to create alphanumeric digits and/or graphics in a fluid medium. Based on the technology created by inventor Frederick Romberg, this E-Team designed prototypes and developed marketing opportunities for BIT. Two prototypes, a large commercial display board and a small desktop clock, were built.

The team included five members with skills in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science, marketing, and finance. The team developed a business plan, prepared a market analysis, and completed the patenting process.

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

Clarkson University, 1999 - $19,720

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

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

The faculty advisor has assembled a group of advisors from the medical industry, electrical and computer engineering, mechanical and aeronautical engineering, as well as an expert in business and entrepreneurship. The students working on the project are recruited from a design course that he instructs.

Shape Memory Activated High Pressure Optical Cell

Drexel, University, 1998 - $17,500

This E-Team developed an improved high pressure research device for biotechnology research markers. The project focused on the development of an improved, simpler, more cost-effective and user friendly device capable of competing with current equipment.

Paraplegic Swing

University of Colorado Boulder, 1998 - $10,500

This team is designing a universally accessible, hand-powered swing that does not require a child to use his or her legs to pump. The swing was originally designed for a child who had limited functionality of his legs. He loved the design and was able to learn to use it quickly. The team plans to modify the swing to make it inexpensive, safer, and installable on any standard swing set.

The team will first market the swing to people with limited use of their legs, and then expand the market to playgrounds as a piece of standard equipment. The team plans to develop advanced prototypes, pursue IP, and develop a business and marketing plan.

The E-Team consists of two sophomore mechanical engineering students and one sophomore aerospace engineering student.

LNR Design Team (Frogger)

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1998 - $15,345

This team is developing a three-dimensional vertical maze game using air power. The game is conceptually based on a popular Parker Brothers video arcade game called Frogger. The game is joystick operated, and propels a ping-pong ball upward through a maze of gates and tubes using air. The game play is controlled via embedded control through a microcontroller. The microcontroller interprets the movements of the joystick and positions the servo motors that move the path gates in the game, controls the score counter and game timer, monitors photogates that track the positioning of the ball, and provides visual and audio feedback to the player.

This game is targeted for use at arcades and carnivals, selling at a lower cost than typical arcade games. An initial patent search showed no similar designs, and the team is developing a patent application. The team members are civil engineering, electrical engineering, and industrial management engineering majors.

Knowtime.com

University of Massachusetts, 1998 - $19,600

This E-Team created an internet business providing tutorial information in a customized format, utilizing a streaming data approach.

An E-Team to Design a Very Low Power Network

University of Pittsburgh, 1998 - $11,500

This E-Team developed a prototype for a system that establishes a network of wireless devices within a small area using very low power and RF radio transmission. The transmission distances may range from a few inches to a few meters.

Communication over short distances with very low power creates a wide array of new applications of RF technology. The applications for this technology are diverse, ranging from wireless patient monitoring devices to food safety monitoring for the meat industry. The technology originated in a funded E-Team course EE1185, Microprocessor Systems.

The E-Team plans to develop a prototype and perform a market study on the device. Members of the E-Team are computer and electrical engineering students.

Information Systems for Docket Tracking in Educational Institutions III

Saint John's University, 1998 - $3,599

This grant was a second and final renewal of a project to develop a secondary school admission and placement system as well as a graduate school admissions and application review tracking system. The E-Team constructed both systems using previous funding (see grants Information Systems for Docket Tracking in Educational Institutions and Information Systems for Docket Tracking in Educational Institutions II) but the products required additional work to be market-ready. The database products were beta tested successfully at both secondary private schools and a limited number of graduate school admissions offices.

This grant supported improving the import/export software to enable the systems to work more effectively, develop online tutorials to guide users of each system, and implement a security system. The E-Team includes three math majors and a management major. All are computer science minors.

Wire Electrical Discharge Machining of Cylindrical Components

North Carolina State University at Raleigh, 1998 - $20,000

This grant supported the development, prototyping, patenting and exploration of commercialization options for an innovative rotating fixture for use in EDM. The fixture would allow the machining of previously undoable shapes.

Wear Simulator for Testing Ankle Joint Replacement Components

University of Pittsburgh, 1998 - $16,800

This E-Team designed, constructed and evaluated a prototype wear simulator for the testing of ankle joint replacement components. The wear testing of joint replacement implants is important for evaluating the durability of the components and for studying the wear particles that are generated. Wear testing machines are available for hip and knee implants, but not the ankle implant, which is a new product.

Industrial Assessment Software Development

Carthage College, 1998 - $6,506

This E-Team is modifying an existing business assessment tool that enables businesses to assess their capability to meet ISO9000 standards. The tool is inexpensive, easy to use, and available for use in small to medium-sized businesses. The software allows the user to calculate a 'score' that represents the performance of various business elements against international standards using ISO9000 parameters. NIST developed this assessment tool with the intent of improving the competitiveness of US businesses.

The E-Team plans to develop its own small business while further helping other small businesses through its products. The team will work with the company Acumen to develop a plan to market the product to local businesses. The team is funded to develop a product design and create the necessary software, conduct beta testing, and implement a full-scale system. They will develop a marketing plan for the product, create a list of potential customers, and prepare a detailed business plan.

The students are business majors enrolled in the ScienceWorks: Entrepreneurial Studies in Natural Science Program. Combining their skills, interest, and education in business and technology with the career and entrepreneurship training in ScienceWorks, they decided to launch a new software-based business development venture.

Developing a Continuous Transmission

Hampton College, 1998 - $14,250

This E-Team has pioneered research on a continuous transmission system that could facilitate higher power utilization efficiency in consumer engines, including next generation vehicles. By combining a flywheel and a continuous transmission, the system offers a high performance drive train that outperforms current low emission devices. This system could have major applications in high efficiency and electric vehicles, as well as other powered equipment.

The device would revolutionize drive technology and the potential markets for such a device are numerous and varied, from the target application of automobile performance enhancement to smaller motors found in consumer electronics.

The team is made up of three physics majors, one sophomore and two juniors. The NCIIA funded the team to design and construct a testing prototype for the system.

Development of a Hand Held Sewing Machine

California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, 1998 - $11,900

This E-Team began with a proof of principle prototype of a hand held sewing machine. Instead of the advance mechanism pulling the cloth into the sewing mechanism, the user pulls the material through the machine. The sewing mechanism operates and sews the cloth by using the friction between the cloth and a wheel.

The final product will be small, lightweight, portable, and easy to operate. Landscape contractors, army units, or anyone else who needs to repair tears would find this product useful.

The team is made up of two junior mechanical engineers and a faculty member. They are funded to complete a final conceptual product design and prototype, a market analysis, a patent, and marketing plan. The students will work on this project during the summer and as part of their senior design class, a mandatory course for all mechanical engineering seniors. The project originated in an E-Team course Philosophy of Design.

Virginia Composite Wheel Team

University of Virginia, 1998 - $19,718

This E-Team designed, built and tested a fiber-reinforced plastic composite vehicle (car, truck) wheel. The wheel is substantially lighter than current metal wheels, resulting in improved performance and fuel economy.

Photoworks

Ramapo College of New Jersey, 1998 - $14,900

This E-Team is developing an inexpensive consumer device for viewing, optimizing, and printing photographs from film. The apparatus is an inexpensive stand-alone device to view both positive and negative film on a built-in LCD display. Students estimate that even a percentage penetration of the product into the huge post processing market would generate multimillion-dollar revenues.

The reader displays a real-time positive image of positive or negative photographic film onto the reader's LCD display or to a separate TV screen. Output from the reader may be fed into the video input of a PC or MAC where the film is displayed on the monitor as a positive image. Software will allow the user to adjust the image for intensity, contrast, and color balance. The user may then print the final image.

The group is funded to build and test a proof of concept model and to then develop and test a prototype. The team works on the device as an independent study project. The project originated in an E-Team course Invention: Creative and Legal Perspectives at Ramapo College.

Cedarville Ethanol Challenge Team - Reformer Project

Cedarville University, 1998 - $14,000

This E-Team originated from the Ethanol Vehicle Challenge sponsored by the United States Department of Energy, General Motors Corporation, and Natural Resources Canada. Ethanol is a cleaner burning fuel than gasoline, and a renewable source of energy. A significant problem with the fuel is that engines fueled with a high percentage of ethanol do not start well at low temperatures. The technology that Cedarville began to investigate was a device that reformulates ethanol into ether and water since ether is highly combustible at low temperatures.

The Cedarville team later discovered a better approach than the ether/water solution. Ethanol motor fuel is "contaminated" with 15% gasoline to make it toxic so that the liquor tax does not apply. The gasoline can be recovered or separated by distillation and then used for the cold start. There are many advantages to this system, as it is less volatile than ether and therefore safer. The distillation system requires much less maintenance than a catalytic reformulation device.

The E-Team for this project comes from a larger team of twenty-nine members who competed in the Ethanol Vehicle Challenge. Team members have skills in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and chemistry and they have established several working relationships with industry and suppliers.

Grantee update: Pedal power for safe water video

The Reverse Engineering Bicyles E-Team from San Jose State is looking to solve three interrelated problems in Lebialem, Cameroon with products derived from bicycle parts. Here's a video about their bike-powered water filter.

You can see more video updates from our grantees on the NCIIA Youtube channel.

 

 

 

GlobalResolve: Development of the Twig Light

Arizona State University, 2009 - $16,000

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

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

Updates

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

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

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

Story about Twiglight

Engineering for Change (Nov 2010)

 

 

 

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

University of Virginia, 2009 - $19,900

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

Dairy Pasteurization for Rural Peru

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2009 - $16,000

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

OsmoPure

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2009 - $10,500

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

Updates:

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

Fast Company story (Dec. 2010)

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

Rice University, 2009 - $13,200

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

Magnetic Ventures

University of Michigan, 2009 - $16,700

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

A Medical Device to Treat Gallstone Disease

Stanford University, 2009 - $18,968

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

Automating Long-Range Vibrometry Through Vision and Web Technologies

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

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

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

AYZH: Sheba Water Filter

Colorado State University, 2009 - $16,700

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

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

     

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

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

More

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

DayOne Response: Polytech Waterbag, Water Treatment for Disaster Relief

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

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

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

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

Quick facts:

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

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

March 2010: showcased the waterbag at Open Minds.

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

More:

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

 

 

 

Solar Ease

University of Pittsburgh, 2009 - $20,000

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

Companies launched by NCIIA grantees

Take a look at the companies that have launched in part due to NCIIA funding. Going back eleven years, it's a great rundown of the impact our E-Teams have had and continue to have in diverse markets across the globe. We're excited to see what the next eleven years will produce!

Xtracycle

Stanford University, 1998 - $8,100

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

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

Both companies are targeting sustainable transportation as their ultimate goal.

Updates

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

Ski Lift Footrest - SnoRhino

Rowan University, 2002 - $8,375

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

A Device with Remote Activation and Remote Power

University of Pittsburgh, 1998 - $10,800

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

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

Keen Mobility

University of Portland, 2002 - $12,500

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

This E-Team developed the Keen Krutch, a more comfortable, more versatile crutch that alleviates the problems associated with traditional crutches and provides increased mobility. The Keen Krutch features underarm cushioning that conforms to the curvature of the body; a contour shape to redistribute pressure; adjustable, mobile handgrips to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome; shock absorbers; and a pivoting ankle joint for increased mobility.

The idea for the Keen Krutch was originated by Vail Horton, who was born without legs and has used crutches from an early age. After graduating from the University of Portland, Horton and his former roommate Jerry Carleton co-founded Keen Mobility, an assistive technology company built around the crutch. Today the company is thriving and growing rapidly, having reached over $2 million in cumulative sales with $1.2 million in 2005. In addition to the Keen Krutch, the company manufactures an array of technologically advanced, safe ambulatory aids and other progressive products that allow people with disabilities greater mobility, safety, and independence.

EpiCard (Intelliject)

University of Virginia, 2000 - $13,769

Millions of people are diagnosed with life-threatening allergies each year, and in extreme cases these allergies can cause a deadly anaphylactic response. To combat anaphylaxis in an emergency situation, allergic individuals carry a life-saving injectable dose of epinephrine; however, epinephrine injectors currently on the market are too bulky and a hassle to carry, and as a result less than half the people who should carry an injector on them at all times actually do so. To answer this problem, the EpiCard E-Team, now formally incorporated as Intelliject, Inc., has invented an automatic epinephrine injecting system that is credit-card sized and easy to use. The EpiCard can be carried almost anywhere -- in the user's purse, wallet, or pocket -- and is efficient and safe.

The Virginia-based company has now received nearly $13 million in funding from various sources. Visit intelliject.com for more information. 

Update:

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

Griffin Analytical Technologies (GAT) MMS

Purdue University, 2001 - $15,500

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

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

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

University of North Carolina, 2002 - $17,500

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

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

ChemoTemp

Rowan University, 2002 - $14,750

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

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

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

A Microfabricated Compound Eye for Intravascular Optical Detection

Stony Brook University, 2002 - $17,100

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

Bringing Unique Nanosatellite Solutions Down To Earth

Case Western Reserve University, 2002 - $20,000

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

New Design Painting

Lehigh University, 2002 - $13,600

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

Alertus Technologies

University of Maryland, 2002 - $17,300

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

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

Maroon Biotech

University of Chicago, 2002 - $18,900

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.

Halfpipe Helper

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

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

Tasque E-Team

University of Maryland, 2002 - $9,000

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

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

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



Biocervical Technologies: Cutting Edge Technology for Pre-term Birth Detection

Johns Hopkins University, 2002 - $8,750

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).

Updateable Message Personal CD Player - Gen 4

Northwestern University, 2002 - $11,500

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

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

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

Development of an Eddy Current Door Closer

North Carolina State University, 2003 - $15,000

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

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

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

A Unique Non-invasive Laplacia Electrocardiogram

Louisiana Tech University, 2003 - $15,500

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

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

Torex Application Development

University of Michigan, 2003 - $7,750

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

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

Fire Extinguisher Training System (Bullex)

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2003 - $15,080

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

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

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

AHS Hydrofoils: It's a New Generation

Case Western Reserve University, 2003 - $18,000

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

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

Hearing Protection for Occupational Environments

Dartmouth College, 2003 - $17,600

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

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

Prototyping and Development of DNA Amplification Method (Vandalia Research)

Marshall University, 2003 - $18,586

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

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

Central State University Student Project Proposal

Central State University, 2003 - $6,975

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

MedfoLink

Columbia University, 2003 - $11,700

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

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

Know Wear Kinetic Performance Optimization

University of Maryland, 2003 - $12,500

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

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

TMT MicroSink

Purdue University, 2003 - $16,500

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

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

Software for Automated Mold Design

University of Maryland, 2003 - $19,040

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

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

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

Development and Implementation of a Web-based Demand Forecasting Service

Marquette University, 2003 - $16,900

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

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

EcoTech Marine: Easy-Ionizer

Lehigh University, 2003 - $8,380

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

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

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

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

Axon Potential

Brown University, 2003 - $18,000

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

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

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

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

Shuttle-tracking Service Project

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

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

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

Novel Open Ocean Aquaculture Cages

University of Florida, 2003 - $18,950

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

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

Light Emitting Diode based Sheet Music and Fine Art Lighting

Swarthmore College, 2003 - $19,085

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

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

Piezoelectric Microjet for Drug Delivery

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

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

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

Balance Sport Wheelchair

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

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

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

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

FreeFeet

Lehigh University, 2003 - $13,500

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

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

Maglev Train Reproduction

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

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

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

Location Specific Alarm Relay

Southern Illinois University, 2003 - $8,611

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

The NSH Keg Wrap

Case Western Reserve University, 2003 - $20,000

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

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

ThruSkin Technologies

University of Georgia, 2003 - $18,750

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

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

Maestro Music Box

University of Georgia, 2004 - $16,950

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

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

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

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

ARACHNOVATION Presents: The Spider Easel!

Marshall University, 2004 - $17,075

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

Fire Extinguisher Training Device (Bullex)

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2004 - $14,600

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

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

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

PICKLE Technology

Purdue University, 2004 - $17,700

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

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

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

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

Cornell University, 2004 - $18,000

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

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

Development and Commercialization of MicroStereolithography (MSLA) Technology

Georgia Institute of Technology, 2004 - $17,000

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

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

TekAlert Wireless Firefighter Tether (TABS System)

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2004 - $14,500

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

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

North Carolina State University, 2004 - $18,000

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

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

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

Expandable Wheelchair

Portland State University, 2004 - $10,000

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

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

Interactive Guest Paging System

Florida Institute of Technology, 2004 - $11,500

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

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

Wireless Crop Protection

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

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

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

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

Development and Commercialization of Novel Linear Displacement Sensor (Sentrinsic)

Georgia Institute of Technology, 2004 - $14,800

This E-Team developed a new sensor technology, the Non-contacting Resistance Displacement Transducer (NRDT). Used primarily in the metalworking, military/aerospace, and automotive markets, displacement sensors allow accurate control of everything from robotic arms to manufacturing assembly lines. The dominant sensor on the market today is the Linear Variable Displacement Transducer (LVDT), which, while precise and robust, is expensive due to its complex structure. While researching an unrelated problem, this E-Team came up with the NRDT, a device that offers far better performance than LVDTs at a fraction of the cost. NRDT's advantage lies in its simple design, allowing the device to get less expensive as it gets smaller, while still delivering optimal performance. LVDTs, on the other hand, become more expensive as they get smaller.

Update: After winning first place in the "Most Fundable" category of the 2005 Georgia Tech Business Plan Competition, the NRDT team took its product to market. They have formed a company, Sentrinsic (intrinsic sensing), have two patents pending, have received over $150k in funding, and made their first sale in April 2006.

SWIG

Pennsylvania State University, 2004 - $6,000

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

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

The Wi-Fi Enabled Portable Internet Radio

Case Western Reserve University, 2004 - $18,500

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

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

The Helping Hand

Rowan University, 2004 - $14,395

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

Converting Coconuts into Value-Added Products in Developing Countries

Baylor University, 2004 - $17,500

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

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

Update:

Early Detection of Acute Renal Failure

Johns Hopkins University, 2004 - $12,000

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

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

EEG Keyboard

Johns Hopkins University, 2004 - $14,400

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

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

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

Stanford University, 2004 - $18,369

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

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

Soda Sentry

Lehigh University, 2004 - $9,241

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

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

Sightless Training Spoon

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

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

Commercialization of Low Cost Infrared Imaging for Medical Applications

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

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

Ocean Wave Energy Buoy

Oregon State University, 2005 - $11,000

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

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

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

Cornell University, 2005 - $20,000

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

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

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

Illinois Institute of Technology, 2005 - $16,000

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

Biotechnology System to Monitor the Health of Wastewater Treatment Plants

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

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

Secure E-Payment System

University of Maryland, 2005 - $14,837

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

Fire Extinguisher Training System (Bullex)

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2005 - $13,977

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

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

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

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

Percutaneous Large Arteriotomy Site Closure

Stanford University, 2005 - $16,675

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

Time-Temperature Integrator Advanced E-Team

University of Florida, 2005 - $15,700

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

Solar Water Purification Bottles for Developing Countries

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

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

The Expedition Walker

Portland State University, 2005 - $9,050

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

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

Pennsylvania State University, 2005 - $12,000

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

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

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

Brown University, 2005 - $19,000

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

Seguro: Pesticide Protection and Warning System

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

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

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

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

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

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

i-conserve Energy Management System

Pennsylvania State University, 2005 - $15,750

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

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

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

Stanford University, 2005 - $15,898

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

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

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

Stanford University, 2005 - $7,250

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

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

Electrotactile Braille Display

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

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

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

Automated TB Diagnostic

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

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

Development and Commercialization of Innovative Wall-climbing Robots

CUNY City College, 2006 - $16,000

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

Soy-Based Plasticizer

Ohio State University, 2006 - $14,000

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

Orion Security LSP LLC

Lehigh University, 2006 - $16,500

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

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

Chemical-free Artisanal Mining Solution

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2006 - $17,500

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

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

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

A Cell Phone-Based Personal Computer for Developing Communities

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

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

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

Pratt Design Incubator - SMIT (Solar Ivy)

Pratt Institute, 2006 - $14,700

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

Update:

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

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

More media coverage:

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

Brown University, 2006 - $15,236

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

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

Pull-Out Resistant Pedicle Screw for Osteoporotic Patients

Johns Hopkins University, 2006 - $18,500

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

Starlight Stoves for India

Colorado State University, 2006 - $15,000

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

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

Malawi Treadle Pump

Washington State University, 2006 - $12,500

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

Update:

GlobaMED Devices: Global Anemia Detection & Treatment

Brown University, 2006 - $20,000


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

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

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

Stanford University, 2006 - $18,500

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

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

A Method to Prevent Heart Dilation and Progression to Heart Failure

Stanford University, 2006 - $20,000

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

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

AID-N E-Team

University of Maryland, 2006 - $17,500

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

The team has formed a company, Aid Networks.

VertaChem Commercialization Proposal

Drexel University, 2006 - $16,000

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

Dynamic Ankle-Foot Orthosis

Johns Hopkins University, 2006 - $15,126

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

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

A Novel Hydrogel Microfiber for Small Diameter Vascular Grafts

Johns Hopkins University, 2006 - $19,900

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

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

Rotavirus Vaccination via Oral Thin Film Delivery

Johns Hopkins University, 2006 - $16,000

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

Above photo by Will Kirk.

Update:

Solar Water Purification Bottles With Dye Indicator for Developing Countries

University of Massachusetts, Lowell, $17,500

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

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

Method to Close Laparoscopic Fascial Trocar Sites

Stanford University, 2007 - $15,820

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

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

 

2009/10 updates

The team has formed the company SurgSolutions.

uBox

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2007 - $19,930

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

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

2011 Update

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

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

Development of a Prosthetic Vein Valve

Georgia Institute of Technology, 2007 - $15,650

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

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

Sproxil

Dartmouth College, 2007 - $18,466

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

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

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

Extremely-Low Frequency Seismic Detector - ELF-SD

Virginia Military Institute, 2007 - $12,390

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

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

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

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

Expandable Fusion Cage

Johns Hopkins University, 2007 - $17,000

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

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

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

Stanford University, 2007 - $16,550

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

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

Greensulate (Ecovative)

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2007 - $15,815

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

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

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

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

 

E-Team for Carbon Nanotube Development

Taylor University, 2007 - $20,000

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

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

Plastic Microneedles for Drug Delivery

Georgia Institute of Technology, 2007 - $20,000

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

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

Ultrasound-Guided Noninvasive Measurement of Central Venous Pressure

Johns Hopkins University, 2007 - $12,220

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

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

Porous Concrete Water Filtration: New Technology for Developing Countries

University of Alabama, 2007 - $19,400

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

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

Buzby Networks

Pennsylvania State University, 2007 - $18,000

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

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

Enhanced Bio-morphic Helmet

Michigan Technological University, 2007 - $15,500

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

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

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

Stanford University, 2007 - $20,000

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

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

Real-Time, High-Accuracy 3D Imaging System

Catholic University of America, 2007 - $14,500

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

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

Therapeutic Systems

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

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

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

Updates:

Boston Herald feature series:

 

Digital Maze Games

Northeastern University, 2007 - $15,900

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

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

Removing Arsenic from Contaminated Drinking Water in Rural Bangladesh

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

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

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

Portable Negative Pressure Ventilation Device

Johns Hopkins University, 2008 - $17,562

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

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

Small Engines Enterprise

Colorado State University, 2008 - $15,300

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

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

Updates:

Disposable Robot De-mining

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2008 - $13,420

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

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

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

Stanford University, 2008 - $19,000
 

This E-Team is developing a low-cost ventilator - named Onebreath - for two distinct purposes: emergency readiness in developed countries and general use in developing countries. The state of preparedness of the US healthcare system for an influenza epidemic has been recently assessed, and it was determined that the nation's hospitals will not have enough ventilators to meet the anticipated demand (more than 740,000 would be needed; the US has 105,000). Meanwhile, in developing countries, millions die each year from lack of access to a common ventilator. To fill the need in both cases, the team is developing a low-cost ($300, where typical ventilators range from $8,000-$60,000), rechargeable, portable, disposable ventilator.

Updates

PneumoniaCheck: A New Specimen Collection Device

Georgia Institute of Technology, 2008 - $18,500

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

 

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

Updates

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

 

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

Illinois Institute of Technology, 2008 - $6,000

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

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

Dizziness Diagnostic Device (D3)

Johns Hopkins University, 2008 - $17,000

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

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

Gallbladder Stent Insertion Regulator

University of Virginia, 2008 - $15,200

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

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

NovaPatch

University of Michigan, 2008 - $16,710

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

Malawi Water Cycle (Developing World Technologies)

Washington State University, 2008 - $18,000

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

        

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

More:

Uterine Atony Device Design Team

University of Virginia, 2008 - $16,100

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

The Negative X-ray Rapid System

Johns Hopkins University, 2008 - $16,500

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

Solar Lighting Systems for Remote Rural Communities

Cooper Union, 2008 - $18,500

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

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

Update:

Endurance Rhythm

Stanford University, 2008 - $16,700

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

Greasecar install on Discovery Channel

From diesel to vegetable oil... One of NCIIA's earliest grantees (in 1999), Greasecar has sold thousands of vegetable oil conversion kits from their base in Holyoke, Mass. In this clip from Discovery Tech, a diesel-guzzling truck is converted to run on fryer oil using a Greasecar kit.

 

Intelligent Mobility: Re-Cycling to Build Wheelchairs

California Institute of Technology, 2007 - $19,000

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

Profile: Rotavirus Vaccination via Oral Thin Film Delivery

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


Development of a Prosthetic Vein Valve

Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering

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

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

Intelligent Ground and Structural Monitoring System

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

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

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

SolarShade (SmarterShade)

University of Notre Dame, 2007 - $14,700

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

Updates:

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at Greenlight Planet.com.

  • December 2009: Wall Street Journal video feature

 

Osteoporosis Screening Tool

Wright State University, 2006 - $17,870

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

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

VertaChem

University of Maryland-College Park

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

EcoTech NanoSystems: BioShield Technology

Lehigh University, 2006 - $19,492

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

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

Flashback Lighting System

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

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

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

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

Illinois Institute of Technology, 2006 - $13,500

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

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

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

Development and Commercialization of Innovative Wall-climbing Robots

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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

Off Nicotine Smoking Cessation Program for Primary Care Settings

Case Western Reserve University, 2005 - $17,800

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

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

Stanford University, 2005 - $20,000

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

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

Internet Security Company

University of Georgia, 2005 - $20,000

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

Nandex

Georgia Institute of Technology, 2005 - $19,750

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

Wheelchair-Mounted Pelvic Restraint

University of Pittsburgh, 2005 - $15,250

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

The NUberwalker: Low Cost Body Weight Supported Treadmill Training System

Northwestern University, $15,500

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

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

EcoTech Marine: VorTech

Lehigh University, 2005 - $18,738

 

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

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

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

Sustainable Shelter Design

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

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

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

A Tray 4 All

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

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

Swimming Aid for the Blind and Visually-Impaired

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

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

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

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

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

Digital Receipt Team

Stanford University, 2004 - $11,000

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

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

Chest Protector

University of Miami, 2004 - $11,095

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

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

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

ZDimension

University of Southern California, 2004 - $19,939

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

Deflexion

Tulane University, 2004 - $12,680

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

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

DigiTails LED Taillights

Drexel University, 2004 - $16,530

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

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

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

Location Specific Alarm Relay

Rutgers University-New Brunswick

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

Patient Rotation System for 3D Mammography

Vanderbilt University, 2004 - $18,500

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

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

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

Stanford University

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

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

Automated Page-Turner

University of Rhode Island, 2004 - $10,000

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

Arsenic 3

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

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

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

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

Balance Sport Wheelchair

University of Portland

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

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

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

Shuttle-tracking Service Project

University of Colorado at Boulder

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

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

The Enterprise Cost Solution

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

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

Piezoelectric Microjet for Drug Delivery

University of the Arts

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

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

Full Load Designs: Position Communication System

University of Idaho, 2003 - $12,700

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

Si2C Evolution: Direct Writing of Silicon Carbide Components

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

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

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

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

Software for Automated Mold Design

Pace University-New York

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

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

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

Development and Implementation of a Web-based Demand Forecasting Service

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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

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

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

Transesophaegal Cooling Device (TEC)

Stanford University, 2003 - $18,200

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

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

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

AHS Hydrofoils: It's a New Generation

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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

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

Updateable Message Personal CD Player - Gen 4

Drexel University

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

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

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

Prototyping and Development of DNA Amplification Method

University of Virginia-Main Campus

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

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

Glow Friends

Lehigh University, 2002 - $13,500

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

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

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

Remotely Operated Stitching Device for Secure Treatment of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms

Stevens Institute of Technology, 2002 - $8,000

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

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

ChemoTemp

University of Miami

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

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

Blink Right for Healthy Eyes

University of Pittsburgh, 2002 - $12,150

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

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

MedfoLink Crew

Columbia University, 2002 - $10,450

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

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

The Stanford MarrowMiner Bone Marrow Harvest Device E-Team

Stanford University, 2002 - $14,500

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

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

Update:

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

 

Floatation Flood Wall E-Team

University of Central Florida, 2002 - $15,500

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

Wee Know Child Loss Prevention System

University of Pittsburgh - $15900.00

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

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

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

Equigene Research

California Institute of Technology, 2002 - $12,100

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

Interlink Technologies

Location

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

Dartmouth College - $17350.00

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

FSW improves bicycle frames in five important ways.

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

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

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

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

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

    Syrup Out Signal

    Lehigh University, 2002 - $13,900

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

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

    UV-Tube Project

    University of California, Berkeley - $13100.00

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

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

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

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

    Stanford University, 2002 - $16,700

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

    Fluent Systems

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

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

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

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

    Breath-Alert Breath Detection System

    Vanderbilt University, 2001 - $10,440

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

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

    Home Heating Wireless Communication System

    Swarthmore College, 2001 - $12,633

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

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

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

    Smart Parking Lot

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2001 - $14,900

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

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

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

    Low Complexity Noise Monitoring Systems

    Dartmouth College, 2001 - $12,500

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

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

    Cargo Organizer Project

    Loyola Marymount University - $14620.00

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

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

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

    Breast Augmentation Instrument - BME 590 Technical Entrepreneurship

    Stanford University - $9800.00

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

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

    IPRO 353 Sensor Systems in the Transportation Industry

    Miami University-Oxford - $18150.00

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

    Painless Injection Method and Device

    University of Cincinnati, 2001 - $17,800

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

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

    The Vayusa Team (Modiv Media)

    Babson College, 2001 - $8,400

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

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

    Updates:

     

    Digital Lap Counter and Timer for Swimmers

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

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

    IdentiChem, Inc.

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

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

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

    Comfort Computing, Inc.

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

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

    Stanford University - $7400.00

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

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

    Creation of an E-Team Prototyping Service Center

    University of Pittsburgh - 17500.00

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

    eCommunityGuide.com

    University of Colorado at Boulder - $7300.00

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

    Teledaze Step-In Telemark Binding

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - $11500.00

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

    Technical Entrepreneurship Portable Insulin Cooler

    University of Nebraska-Lincoln - $21800.00

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

    FENIX

    University of Nevada-Reno - $12325.00

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

    Screening Probe System for Coronary Artery Disease

    Case Western Reserve University, 2000 - $20,000

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

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

    Biomimetic Hip Prosthesis

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2000 - $5,500

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

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

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

    Arthroscopic Simulator

    North Carolina State University at Raleigh - $13500.00

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

    A Flexible Protein Modeling System for Undergraduate

    Michigan Technological University - $13900.00

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

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

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

    Guardian 2000 Global Monitoring System

    University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus - $12500.00

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

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

    The Bio-Logic Fuel System

    Hampshire College, 1999 - $14,225

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

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

    News update

     

     

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

    Hampton University - $15500.00

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

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

    The Why Files

    YubaNet.com

    FleetOwner.com

    The Cue Card Emergency Medical Aid

    Stanford University, 1999 - $20,000

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

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

    Simple Anastomosis Device Team

    Stanford University, 1999 - $20,000

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

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

    Obsidian Cyclops

    Lehigh University, 1998 - $20,000

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

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

    Ramapo College of New Jersey - $19720.00

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

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

    The faculty advisor has assembled a group of advisors from the medical industry, electrical and computer engineering, mechanical and aeronautical engineering, as well as an expert in business and entrepreneurship. The students working on the project are recruited from a design course that he instructs.

    A Novel Digital Bathroom Scale

    University Nevada-Reno - $17,000

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

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

    Design of Mechanical Systems

    NCIIA supported development of a new capstone design course at RPI that utilizes product concepts developed by MBA students in the business school. Projects are unrestricted and teams seek NCIIA Advanced E-Team grants for further development. Product ideas are thoroughly researched prior to the development of prototypes and full business plans. Teams are formed from classes of MBA and engineering students

    Knowtime.com

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - $19600.00

    Proposal seeks support to create an internet business providing tutorial information in a customized format utilizing a streaming data approach. Subject matter is extremely variable, the concept is a tool for delivery on a for fee as paid awaiting module. The team is in formation (student member) but has excellent advisors & would seems to be in a good position to implement this business strategy rapidly. Initial content for the 'tutorial' system would be in programming for ecommerce & is available to the team. Commercial prospects are bolstered by the previous business success of one team member and an advisors whose position in ACSIOM (Umass computer Sr Tech transfer) would be especially helpful. ITEM $ Requested $ Approved Web Hosting 2,000 2,000 ILS Software Training 2,000 2,000 Travel Expenses 3,000 3,000 Legal Fees 750 750 Phone / Long Distance / Internet Access 250 250 Third Party Interface Design 1,000 1,000 Narrative Services 500 500 Hardware for Multimedia Development (Digital Camera) 700 700 Hardware for Multimedia Development (MiniDisc Recorder) 500 500 Hardware for Multimedia Development (Multimedia Tower) 1,450 1,450 Software for Multimedia Development (Sound Editing Software) 400 400 Software for Multimedia Development (Graphics Editing Software) 300 300 Summer Internships (2) 3,500 3,500 Professional Consultants 400 400 Electronic Commerce Industy Reports 850 850 Trade Show Fees 2,000 2,000 $19,600 $19,600

    An E-Team to Design a Very Low Power Network

    Location

    PA
    United States
    41° 12' 11.9592" N, 77° 11' 40.29" W

    University of Pittsburgh - $12500.00

    This E-Team developed a prototype for a system that establishes a network of wireless devices within a small area using very low power and RF radio transmission. The transmission distances may range from a few inches to a few meters.

    Communication over short distances with very low power creates a wide array of new applications of RF technology. The applications for this technology are diverse, ranging from wireless patient monitoring devices to food safety monitoring for the meat industry. The technology originated in a funded E-Team course EE1185, Microprocessor Systems.

    The E-Team plans to develop a prototype and perform a market study on the device. Members of the E-Team are computer and electrical engineering students.

    Introduction to Design and Inventive Engineering

    This project supports a new course at George Mason University focused on team-based problem solving in a civil engineering context. In the course, E-Teams form and solve a pre-established problem, e.g., stormwater runoff pollution control in urban areas. Experts on the particular subject are brought in to consult to the E-Teams; these experts attend lectures, make class presentations, and interact with students on a regular basis. Students are encouraged to create innovative designs and aim for commercialization.

    Mark I

    California Institute of Technology, 1998 - $20,000

    This E-Team developed a compact, powerful electromagnetic tool that can be used for removing dents from auto bodies quickly and efficiently without damaging painted surfaces. The technology is competitive with standard methods of dent removal but does less damage to the paint on the car. The concept originated from an experiment a student did to remove a dent from his car with a natural magnet.

    The team identified a market of more than 26,000 auto body repair shops nationwide, as well as secondary markets of car dealerships, rental car dealerships, do-it-yourself consumers, and metal garage door repair professionals.

    The E-Team drew from students in engineering, applied science, physics, economics, mathematics, computation and neural systems, and electrical engineering at Caltech, University of California at Berkeley, and the University of California at Los Angeles. The team also included technical advisors and a financial advisor.

    Strategic Invention

    NCIIA supported the incorporation of E-Teams into a business strategy and planning course at the University of Wisconsin Whitewater. Students develop projects based on innovations they develop themselves or obtain the rights to develop. Groups call on the network of experts the university has assembled for market assessment mentors. No prototypes are built in the course, but business plans are written and presented to a panel of entrepreneurs, and the option to continue work as Advanced E-Teams is available

    Development of a Hand Held Sewing Machine

    Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art - $11900.00

    This E-Team began with a proof of principle prototype of a hand held sewing machine. Instead of the advance mechanism pulling the cloth into the sewing mechanism, the user pulls the material through the machine. The sewing mechanism operates and sews the cloth by using the friction between the cloth and a wheel.

    The final product will be small, lightweight, portable, and easy to operate. Landscape contractors, army units, or anyone else who needs to repair tears would find this product useful.

    The team is made up of two junior mechanical engineers and a faculty member. They are funded to complete a final conceptual product design and prototype, a market analysis, a patent, and marketing plan. The students will work on this project during the summer and as part of their senior design class, a mandatory course for all mechanical engineering seniors. The project originated in an E-Team course Philosophy of Design

    GEEN 1400: Designing for the Community: Practical Multidisciplinary Engineering Design Courses

    This project supports the integration of E-Team development into an existing course in the Integrated Teaching and Learning Lab (ITLL), a progressive, high profile program at the University of Colorado at Boulder. The course currently requires students to complete group work for clients; the focus of this project is the development of more entrepreneurship-related content and a greater focus on commercialization within the course.

    Virginia Composite Wheel Team

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - $19718.00

    The proposal requests funding for the development of a commercial prototype of a composite auto wheel and a proprietary process for producing it. The project seems feasible and well thought out. There is ample commercial potential if it is well executed and the students involved appear to have the appropriate background and skills to carry it out. The proposal has strong support for the advisor who advises a number of E-Teams. The budget request is appropriate and the proposal is well written presenting a clear work plan and time line. A total of $19,718 is requested for: Equipment: $1,799 Internships: $4,500 IP: $2,300 Travel: $500 Supplies, etc.: $10,619

    Heat-Driven Refrigeration System

    Illinois Institute of Technology, 1998 - $18,000

    This E-Team originated in the NCIIA-funded course, Invention Project. The team is designing a refrigeration system that uses heat sources to create cooling.

    The refrigeration system will be marketed to developing communities where electricity is scarce. Industrialization goes hand-in-hand with the spread of refrigeration, as it creates a way of storing and transporting food. Heat-driven refrigeration systems have unique capabilities. They are capable of using waste heat from a power plant, an industrial process, or an agricultural process to provide cooling at little extra cost, and can also use solar power or energy produced by low-grade fuel.

    PhotoWorks

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - $14900.00

    This E-Team is developing an inexpensive consumer device for viewing, optimizing, and printing photographs from film. The apparatus is an inexpensive stand-alone device to view both positive and negative film on a built-in LCD display. Students estimate that even a percentage penetration of the product into the huge post processing market would generate multimillion-dollar revenues.

    The reader displays a real-time positive image of positive or negative photographic film onto the reader's LCD display or to a separate TV screen. Output from the reader may be fed into the video input of a PC or MAC where the film is displayed on the monitor as a positive image. Software will allow the user to adjust the image for intensity, contrast, and color balance. The user may then print the final image.

    The group is funded to build and test a proof of concept model and to then develop and test a prototype. The team works on the device as an independent study project. The project originated in an E-Team courseInvention: Creative and Legal Perspectives at Ramapo College

    Commercialization of the Cooper Cooler

    Cooper Union, 1998 - $16,000

    This E-Team developed the Cooper Cooler, a shoebox-size device capable of chilling a bottled or canned beverage from room temperature to refrigerator temperature in less than a minute. The device provides rapid, natural cooling of the internal contents using only ice water and a spinning device. The process is perfectly safe for carbonated beverages like beer and soda, which are not agitated and do not explode upon opening.

    The idea for the Cooper Cooler was born on a summer day in 1992. Faced with the age-old college dilemma of running out of cold beverages at a party he was hosting, Cooper Union engineering student Greg Loibl was inspired to use his engineering skills to solve the "academic" problem. Loibl worked on the idea as part of his chemical engineering master's thesis, and, sensing commercial promise, co-founded a parent company, Revolutionary Cooling Systems, Inc. The Cooper Cooler experienced strong commercial success and is now sold around the world through major retailers like Amazon.com and BestBuy.com.

    Surgical Dustbuster

    University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus

    Many surgical procedures require the removal of fluid from the surgical site using a vacuum system. The typical source of suction in the surgical field is a large tube connected to a wall vacuum at one end of the operating room. Because the suction system's tubes run across the floor of the operating room and need to be maneuvered like a garden hose, the system is ungainly and awkward. To address these problems, the Surgical Dustbuster E-Team is developing a prototype portable, freestanding unit for removing fluid where wall suction is unavailable, or large capacities for fluid collection are not required. This device incorporates a surgical vacuum with greater maneuverability and lower cost, making it suitable for use in outpatient settings as well as traditional operating rooms.

    HP Design Team

    Clarkson University

    The HP Design Team has developed an educational software game to teach middle school students about the connection between humans and nature. The game simulates Adirondack Park in New York state. In the game, the player is the park manager, and has to solve the problems posed in different park simulations. Through the problem-solving process, students learn how people affect the park economically, environmentally, and socially and how these aspects are interdependent. Students also learn the park's history by means of a slide show.

    Climbing High to Fitness

    Northeastern University

    The Climbing High to Fitness E-Team has created the Wall Climber 2000 (WC2000), an indoor rock climbing simulator for use as a training instrument and low impact exercise machine. The WC2000 consists of a collapsible climbing deck that rotates with a speed and incline chosen by the user. The hand and foot holds, made of rubber to simulate a rocky surface, change as the climbing deck rotates, according to the difficulty level chosen by the user.

    At this stage, the Climbing High to Fitness E-Team is creating an advanced prototype of the WC2000. In addition, the team is working to better understand the exercise equipment market, by conducting market research and drafting a business plan. In the fall the E-Team plans to apply for a patent. The Climbing High to Fitness E-Team originated in a team based design course at RPI and is composed of five engineering students.

    SideWinder

    University of Massachusetts Amherst

    The OmniSport E-Team has designed the SideWinder, an electric wheelchair capable of moving in any direction while the rider faces forward. Using any number of compatible input control devices such as a joystick, mouse, track ball, or voice control the rider controls the wheelchairs motions through a track ball drive system. The increased mobility offered by this design provides the rider with the choice of participating in a wider variety of sports and offers greater accessibility in the office and home.

    The OmniSport E-Team is now in the process of researching the market potential of the SideWinder and determining the feasibility of the technology. The team originated in an introductory engineering design course, and consists of three engineering students, and a faculty advisor. The team is recruiting advisors with adaptive equipment expertise.

    Miniature Ice Resurfacer

    University of Virginia-Main Campus

    The Miniature Ice Resurfacer E-Team has developed an innovative ice resurfacing machine called the Ice Chief. The Ice Chief is a lightweight, portable, and relatively inexpensive machine intended to maintain quality ice surfaces on private skating rinks or ponds. The device is towed behind a standard garden tractor and will be priced to make it accessible to small municipalities or individuals with access to a pond or artificial rink. To date, the E-Team has built a working prototype that successfully cleans an ice surface; collects debris; then resurfaces the ice in one pass. The E-Team plans to continue prototype testing and refine the design, while writing a business plan in partnership with the RPI Incubator Program. The team is also conducting a patent search and prepare a patent application.

    The Miniature Ice Resurfacer E-Team originated in an RPI engineering design class. The team consists of six engineering majors, several with minors in economics or computer science. They plan to launch a business to market this product in 1998.

    InterSecT Project

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

    Current search engine technology on the internet will often provide the user with several thousand entries, leaving it to the user to find the most valuable information. In addition, the user interfaces currently available can be difficult to use. In response to these problems, this E-Team has begun development of the Internet Secretary Tool (InterSecT), a software package which serves as a highly personalized, smart web browser. The InterSecT browser works to continually learn and relearn the likes and dislikes of the user. When prompted to find a specified piece of information, InterSecT accesses an array of internet search engines, chooses the results it judges the user most values (based on what it has learned about the user's habits) and reports back. With each completed search, the selective abilities of the personal browser become more refined and gain accuracy.

    InterSecT utilizes several cutting edge technologies, such as neural net programming, to create an innovative, powerful, and user-friendly end product. This product makes the internet easier to use and extends its benefits to those with little or no computing experience, and/or limited hardware resources.

    The InterSecT E-Team was founded by Josh Lifton, an honors student at Swarthmore College who is pursuing a double major in physics and mathematics and a minor in computer science, during his semester at Hampshire College as a Lemelson Fellow. When Josh returned to Swarthmore, he applied for an Advanced E-Team grant to continue his advanced project working with another computer science student, faculty from Swarthmore and Hampshire Colleges, and four technical and business advisors. Josh is now in the process of recruiting business students to help him conduct more extensive market research and develop a business plan.

    Virtual Security Research

    St. John's University - $8500.00

    The Virtual Security Research (VSR) E-Team recognized a lack in affordable and creative security systems for the Internet. To fill the gap, the team evaluated existing software solutions and made improvements in usability, user interface, and security.

    The team received second prize for their business plan in Northeastern University's $60k business plan competition. They then founded Virtual Security Research in 1998, and have since been focused on providing quality network and application security consulting services. They have clients in the financial services and commercial software sectors

    Automotive Ozone Pollution Fighter

    Embry Riddle Aeronautical University-Daytona Beach, 1997 - $18,000

    The need to run an internal combustion engine more efficiently and with minimal environmental effects is the driving force for this E-Team's ozone generator development project. With the introduction of ozone into an engine's intake gases, combustion becomes leaner. However, because ozone cannot be stored in tanks, it has to be produced on-board the vehicle. The E-Team has developed an innovative ozone generator that contains no moving parts and is compact, fitting into existing vehicles with little or no modification to the vehicle.

    The team is currently evaluating the effects of adding ozone to a 1996 Chrysler mini-van that has been converted to run on propane. This device mitigates the inherent problems of high initiation energy required by high octane alternative fuels and creates a cleaner burning engine.

    The Automotive Ozone Pollution Fighter E-Team began as a student team working on a natural gas vehicle as an independent project with Professor Francisco Ruiz as the team's faculty advisor. As the project progressed, several of the members participated in Professor Ruiz's NCIIA Invention and Innovation class in the spring of 1996. The project was one of the first to emerge from the class, with an E-Team of seven engineering students. The E-Team received the 1996 B.F. Goodrich Inventor's Prize in the undergraduate category.

    Soil Aeration: Use of Windmills to Regenerate Anaerobic Soils by Active Aeration

    Carthage College

    In areas where organic waste products have accumulated in excess, the oxygen in the soil is often depleted. When this occurs the soil becomes anaerobic and waste material degrades very slowly, and can prove to be toxic. This E-Team has created and refined a new windmill design intended to aerate anaerobic soils, thereby restoring artificially anoxic environments. Applications for soil re-aeration with the compact, inexpensive windmill are rejuvenating coastal dredging lands, constructed wetlands, and landfills. The market envisioned for this aeration system includes private property and government restoration projects.

    During the grant period, the team is completing a patent application, and field-testing prototypes with several potential customers at sites around the country. The Soil Aeration E-Team originated in Professor Michael Gorman's Invention and Design course at the University of Virginia.

    Cedarville Ethanol Challenge Team - Reformer Project

    Northwestern University - $14000.00

    This E-Team originated from the Ethanol Vehicle Challenge sponsored by the United States Department of Energy, General Motors Corporation, and Natural Resources Canada. Ethanol is a cleaner burning fuel than gasoline, and a renewable source of energy. A significant problem with the fuel is that engines fueled with a high percentage of ethanol do not start well at low temperatures. The technology that Cedarville began to investigate was a device that reformulates ethanol into ether and water since ether is highly combustible at low temperatures.

    The Cedarville team later discovered a better approach than the ether/water solution. Ethanol motor fuel is "contaminated" with 15% gasoline to make it toxic so that the liquor tax does not apply. The gasoline can be recovered or separated by distillation and then used for the cold start. There are many advantages to this system, as it is less volatile than ether and therefore safer. The distillation system requires much less maintenance than a catalytic reformulation device.

    The E-Team for this project comes from a larger team of twenty-nine members who competed in the Ethanol Vehicle Challenge. Team members have skills in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and chemistry and they have established several working relationships with industry and suppliers

    Concurrent Engineering & Engineering Design

    Drexel University

    The High Pressure Optical Cell (HPOC) is a research tool that enables the modification of food proteins, decreased freezing temperatures and dewatering foods. HPOCs are also used as a tool in the study of lipid/protein interactions, protein denaturation, virus dissociation, and drug-membrane interactions. Any innovations in HPOC technology will impact future research in biomedical, pharmaceutical and food science research.

    The Concurrent Engineering & Engineering Design E-Team has developed a new HPOC design, enabling researchers to introduce a second component to the original sample while both components are under pressure. This innovation allows researchers to observe initial molecular interactions in real time and at high pressure via fiber optics, and in the process gather previously unobtainable data.

    Project on the History of Black Writing

    University of Virginia-Main Campus

    The Project on the History of Black Writing E-Team is developing a omprehensive bibliographic database of African-American novels in an interactive learning environment on CD-ROM and, by license, on the internet. A prototype CD-ROM is under development that includes author biographies, full texts of novels, photographs, pointers to critical sources and advanced search tools. Much of the literature on the CD-ROM is now out-of-print, making this a valuable resource. The team intends to develop a range of indexed bibliographic offerings in an electronic format for distribution to scholars and libraries worldwide. Initial market surveys indicated substantial interest in the product among academic and municipal libraries.

    Students and faculty from Northeastern University, the University of Virginia, and James Madison University collaborate on different aspects of the project, calling on the strengths of each institution, in the first virtual E-Team. The content is provided by NEU, the programming by UVA and JMU.

    This E-Team joined the Project on the History of Black Writing eleven years after it was founded by the Cooperative Research Network in Black Studies. Since 1984 the Cooperative has compiled an extensive bibliography of writing by African-Americans in the last century and a half, including over 2,000 records. The work of the E-Team makes this previously inaccessible bibliographic resource available to a wider audience.

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