With the Hinman CEOs program and Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech), the University of Maryland has a substantial technology entrepreneurship community with a number of resources for early stage ventures and startups. However, there are currently no undergraduate courses at UM that address the marketing of technology products and innovations. At the same time, while Mtech currently serves over 700 students annually through technology entrepreneurship and innovation courses, the overall rate of venture creation is less than desired.
This grant supports development of a new course, “Marketing High-Technology Products and Innovations,” proposed as a part of the required Hinman CEOs curriculum and to be offered to all students throughout campus. This course will merge the academic side of learning marketing concepts with their applications in real life.
Hosted a 'technology bootcamp' in October, with 600 attendees.
Identified three teams and directed them towards submitting E-Team grant proposals.
Researching the development of a student venture fund.
Alex Sposito is currently studying Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Maryland. He is also in the Hinman CEOs program, which is a living and learning program that focuses on entrepreneurship and innovation. From his studies, Alex has become increasingly passionate about emerging technology and alternative energy. He hopes to pursue this passion by starting his own social venture aimed at creating a more sustainable future.
While at Maryland, Alex has worked part time for the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute. Here, Alex gained valuable insight into Maryland's research and development initiatives as well as what resources are available to new ventures. Over this past summer Alex has been working with Cloud Solar, a new venture developing a solar thermal pool heater. Alex's vision:
My mission will involve aligning the various entrepreneurial communities on-campus to promote greater student and faculty collaboration in creating sustainable, technologically innovative, socially responsible ventures.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Hinman Campus Entrepreneurship Opportunities (CEOs) program, the nation's first living-learning entrepreneurship initiative, brings students together from diverse majors to learn how to start their own businesses. A specialized, high-technology "e-Dorm," seminars and workshops from venture capitalists and successful businesspersons, industry-student mentoring, and unique entrepreneurship education courses give students a stimulating and supportive environment in which to dream and realize their ideas. The program culminates in a business plan for each new student venture and assistance in obtaining financing.
For more information about the program, visit the Hinman CEOs website