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).
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
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.
EcoTech's products are now sold in 450 stores and 35 distributors across the US. The company has developed two more propeller pumps and an LED light for reef aquariums. EcoTech generated $15M in revenue in 2011, has 42 full time staff and a 4,000 square foot work space.
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.
Getting appropriate technology to rural areas in Peru is very difficult due to the geographical dispersion of the approximately 70,000 rural communities living in extreme poverty. To help solve the problem, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) is collaborating with Grupo de Apoyo al Sector Rural at the Pontificia Universidad del Peru, and the Inca-Bus mobile technology education program in Peru, to create and build systems for sustainable sources of energy, clean water, and air for the rural population using interdisciplinary student design teams from the Engineers for a Sustainable World and Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers chapters at RPI. Projects will be identified and evaluated based on impact on basic human needs and potential for commercialization, providing long-term sources of income for these communities. The plan also includes curriculum development, student life and professional development, as well as research and technology transfer
Northwestern University has an undergraduate capstone design course that includes travel for students to work with researchers at the University of Cape Town in Africa. While students have been able to provide clear needs assessments and propose solutions to identified problems, it has become clear that there needs to be a way to maintain continuity on these projects so that they ultimately become product solutions. This grant supports the creation of an MS program as a way to further support the capstone projects. Specifically, the outcome of this project will be a new program that forms a track within the existing MS and BS-MS programs, but requires additional formal training in Healthcare Technology Management at the University of Cape Town and experience in acting as team leaders for the capstone project teams
With this grant, the service learning program at PSU will work to improve rural Kenyans’ economic well-being by addressing challenges of low agricultural productivity due to the use of simple instruments and tools. Service learning program-enrolled PSU students will work with students from the University of Nairboi and Moi University in improving a variety of devices, concentrating on making manually powered machines that significantly improve productivity. These devices will come with attachments that allow the machine to be powered by a small attachable petrol engine. It is expected that farmers' incomes will increase with the use of the improved manual devices, making it possible for them to purchase an engine, thus increasing productivity even further. Examples of potential devices include water pumps, electric generators, posho mills, decorticators, tillers, and power tools
For this grant, Ithaca College is partnering with Ecuadorian NGO Fundacion Maquipucuna (FM), an established organization with non-profit and for-profit wings that sells a range of fair trade, organic products in the US and elsewhere under its brand name, Choco-Andese. The partnership is meant to develop micro-enterprises in Ecuador based around poverty alleviation and environmental sustainability and will build on the ideas of students participating in a course administered this past year.
Ithaca hopes to send more students to Ecuador with this project and bring in partners for work on other projects, such as partnering with Cornell to use synthetic roof thatch made out of waste plastic to make homes more comfortable by absorbing heat
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.
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