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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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:
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.