This E-Team-focused course, Innovation for the Community, offers lectures on entrepreneurship, IP, and team development from visiting mentors. E-Teams learn first-hand about product development by designing, building, and testing interactive learning exhibits for K-12 classrooms. Students explore the market potential for such products and evaluate competitor products at the Association of Science-Technology Centers conference. An important part of this course is that students "learn by doing."
The course is offered to sophomore engineering and business students who have not taken the course First-Year Engineering Projects. Experience has taught the PIs that students work harder and produce better products when they serve a real client. Students gain an understanding of how innovation causes people and society to change for the better. The course is part of the Integrated Teaching and Learning (ITL) Program that began as a grassroots, college-wide initiative to reform the engineering curricula to incorporate hands-on, team-oriented, project-based learning
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
Invention: Creative and Legal Perspectives is the first course on invention offered at Ramapo College. The course integrates students from a variety of disciplines, including science, business, and the arts. With a NCIIA grant, Professors Anderson and Sherman revised the curriculum to extend over two semesters. In the first semester, the professors divide students into teams of four and challenge each group to identify a problem in daily life and solve it with an inventive solution. Students begin this process by listing daily problems and annoyances they would like to eliminate. After this initial exercise, students then form new teams and work together on invention ideas culled from students and faculty. Each team applies its newly gained knowledge in the course to its own invention, constructively reducing the invention to practice. The goal of the course is to motivate students to invent and to supply them with the minimum legal and business know-how they need to produce, market, and protect an invention.
Current search engine technology on the internet will often provide the user with several thousand entries, leaving it to the user to find the most valuable information. In addition, the user interfaces currently available can be difficult to use. In response to these problems, this E-Team has begun development of the Internet Secretary Tool (InterSecT), a software package which serves as a highly personalized, smart web browser. The InterSecT browser works to continually learn and relearn the likes and dislikes of the user. When prompted to find a specified piece of information, InterSecT accesses an array of internet search engines, chooses the results it judges the user most values (based on what it has learned about the user's habits) and reports back. With each completed search, the selective abilities of the personal browser become more refined and gain accuracy.
InterSecT utilizes several cutting edge technologies, such as neural net programming, to create an innovative, powerful, and user-friendly end product. This product makes the internet easier to use and extends its benefits to those with little or no computing experience, and/or limited hardware resources.
The InterSecT E-Team was founded by Josh Lifton, an honors student at Swarthmore College who is pursuing a double major in physics and mathematics and a minor in computer science, during his semester at Hampshire College as a Lemelson Fellow. When Josh returned to Swarthmore, he applied for an Advanced E-Team grant to continue his advanced project working with another computer science student, faculty from Swarthmore and Hampshire Colleges, and four technical and business advisors. Josh is now in the process of recruiting business students to help him conduct more extensive market research and develop a business plan.
With NCIIA funding, Professors Timothy Stearns and Ed Sobey collaborated to create Invention and Entrepreneurship, a prototype for a permanent course challenging students to create a business to invent and sell toys. In the course, students from the Sid Craig School of Business, the schools of Education and Human Development, Natural Sciences, Engineering, Agriculture and Technology, and Arts and Humanities form E-Teams and learn how to work creatively in those teams, designing, building and testing mock-up toys, while developing a comprehensive business plan. The inventions and plans are presented to business leaders, venture capitalists, inventors, patent attorneys, and course participants.
The toys developed in the course include: Paragear, a launcher with a parachute attachment that fits to the back of an action figure; The Orb, a sphere that balances on a pedestal with pegs placed in the orb; The Ringer, a ring toss game that builds hand-eye coordination; and Stack-O, a marble game.
The Virtual Security Research (VSR) E-Team recognized a lack in affordable and creative security systems for the Internet. To fill the gap, the team evaluated existing software solutions and made improvements in usability, user interface, and security.
The team received second prize for their business plan in Northeastern University's $60k business plan competition. They then founded Virtual Security Research in 1998, and have since been focused on providing quality network and application security consulting services. They have clients in the financial services and commercial software sectors
Student Originated Software (SOS) is a multi-disciplinary, year-long, full-time program offered each year at The Evergreen State College. In SOS, students gain the skills and in-depth practical experience of working in teams on the planning, management, design, implementation, and installation of a major software project by creating software for actual clients. Each E-Team organizes itself, finds its project and "real world" client, prepares a feasibility study, and completes the software development. SOS stresses innovation and creativity, and a multi-disciplinary approach to software development. NCIIA funding strengthens the market research portion of the curriculum, supports E-Team projects, and allows Evergreen to update equipment for the course.
This course is a renewal and expansion of NCIIA grants MGRS 487 Entrepreneurship/ EE491 Senior Design and the previously funded MECH 452: Design Synthesis. The course has produced several high quality E-Teams and businesses. An interdisciplinary program, it is offered to mechanical and electrical engineers, emphasizing product development, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Students are divided into "companies" and develop new products or prove new technologies that will subsequently be marketed or licensed. Guest lecturers from industry discuss various topics including intellectual property, venture capital, inventing, and entrepreneurship. This course is also taken for credit by MBA students who help the E-Team develop business plans. Each E-Team must develop a working prototype. Funding is for direct use by each team for product development and marketing
Design and Management of Biomechanical Products is a popular course among students at Michigan State University. In the course, teams of engineering and marketing students study the technical feasibility and market need for their product ideas. The products the teams create must function mechanically with the body and provide tangible benefits for end users.
Some examples of student projects include: All-in One, an improved baby bottle with a vent to eliminate airlock and air bubbles; and Air-Form, a children's structural toy made from inflatable plastic. Before the class received NCIIA funding, students paid for prototyping and research costs with their own money, thereby limiting the scope of their projects. Funding allowed students to fabricate more sophisticated prototypes of their projects. In addition, funding purchased additional machines for the prototyping shop, to accommodate the increased number of E-Teams.
The Department of Technological Studies (DTS) of Wheeling Jesuit College offers a Bachelor of Science in Innovation and Technology. The major is designed to provide students with a broad range of knowledge, skills and experience in processes used to develop successful products for commercial markets. Innovation and Invention is a required class for the Innovation and Technology degree.
In the course, student groups form to design innovative products with commercial potential. Product Development Lab I is an extension of Innovation and Invention, offering students the opportunity to further develop those products. NCIIA funding allowed students to create prototypes of their products, and conduct market research. Student projects included a cold weather breathing mask, an improved automated garage door and opener, and a system for real-time readout of long distance telephone charges for home use.