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.
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.
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.
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.