lehigh university

Development of Social Entrepreneurship Capstone Project Course at Lehigh University

Lehigh University, 2010 - $23,000

This grant supports the development of a new undergraduate curriculum at Lehigh University that brings together students from the social sciences, business, and engineering to focus on the creation of entrepreneurial enterprises that address the social and economic issues of the working poor and homeless. In the curriculum, interdisciplinary groups of students will follow Lehigh’s Integrated Product Development (IPD) process to create innovative and sustainable solutions to local community problems.

Specifically, NCIIA funding will support the following objectives: development of a new social entrepreneurship undergraduate curriculum that will conclude with a capstone project; development of a year-long pilot capstone project, “Bethlehem’s South Side Urban Agriculture Enterprise,” that will focus on developing and implementing a business model, social system, and technology infrastructure required to address the needs of that community while establishing a self-sufficient, scalable enterprise; and development of extracurricular social entrepreneurship activities with an initial focus on urban agriculture, including student competitions, guest speakers, and a social entrepreneurship club.


Lehigh University, 2001 - $14,220

FLI Technologies developed Seek, a product that satisfies the ever-present need to locate misplaced items. Seek blended plastics, rubber molding, and circuitry in a manner that satisfies the criterion for performance, reliability, and style. Seek was created by Lehigh University college students for college students. The college market is a niche not targeted by any competitors. Beginning with the introduction of Seek, FLI's goal was to broaden the personal item-location market and be the leading supplier for college students.

The team was comprised of eight undergraduate students from Engineering, Design, and Finance.


Lehigh University, 2000 - $10,000

Digi-me is a service that helps college-age job seekers and career changers market themselves better by putting their resumes and portfolios in a digital format. Digi-me offers clients the ability to create a digital resume and portfolio on a mini-disc or CD-ROM. These digital resumes and portfolios can include video and audio clips, CAD files, and various graphics in addition to text. An employer can get a more personal view of the applicant and the applicant's ability to communicate, as the job seeker demonstrates his/her communication skills and personality. Digi-me originated in a Lehigh University student E-Team project through the Integrated Product Development course. The project included market research and research on financial and technical feasibility.

IPD Radar Gun Project

Lehigh University, 1999 - $15,780

Modern athletic teams spend extensive resources to study and minimize uncertainty in player performance. This E-Team is developing a device to test performance and correlate that information with environmental conditions. The device includes data collection hardware ("radar gun," weather station, and computer hardware) and feed collected data through a statistical program relevant to the sport played. This information allows coaches to determine how well players perform in different environmental conditions, providing data on player performance correlated with temperature, humidity, and wind conditions.

No similar coordinated system currently exists, with the main competition to the product being radar guns and weather stations. The components are arranged in a protective, transportable, self-contained, reasonably priced package. The target markets for this product are baseball, softball, tennis, and soccer leagues.

The E-Team members come from each of three colleges at Lehigh University. Students on the team major in economics, marketing, accounting, architecture, computer science, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, finance, and business information systems.

International Social Entrepreneurship through Multidisciplinary Student E-Team Projects

Lehigh University, 2005 - $36,500

Microfinancing is the delivery of financial services to the economically poor on a large scale and in a sustainable manner. While this approach has been highly successful tool for fighting poverty on a global scale, the small loans ($50-$500) require loan processing and labor–intensive activities that result in high transaction costs. With this project, Lehigh will develop E-Teams focusing on the implementation of pilot microfinance technology in developing countries, beginning in Honduras. The projects will include:
  • A rigorous application and selection process
  • An international immersion trip with students and faculty mentors
  • Experiential learning based on tackling real problems with external clients
  • Multidisciplinary student teams developing technologies and technology services

New Design Painting

Lehigh University, 2002 - $13,600

A favorite art activity for many children is painting with tempera paints and brushes. Although kids enjoy the creative and fun exercise, they often make a mess when painting. To address this problem, the New Design Painting E-Team analyzed existing paintbrushes. From their research, they created the No-Dip-Paintstick. The No-Dip-Paintstick is a revolutionary, self-contained art utensil that eliminates the need for separate pots of paint, water for rinsing, and multiple brushes. The transparent handle of the brush contains a soft cartridge of non-toxic, washable paint. The handle's transparency allows the user to see the color of paint held within. To release the paint, the user squeezes the brush and activates the cartridge. Paint flows from the cartridge and into a funnel which controls the paint flow onto the brush bristles. The eight brushes in the No-Dip-Paintstick set have synthetic, straight nylon bristles.

EcoTech Marine: Easy-Ionizer

Lehigh University, 2003 - $8,380

Reef aquariums aim to create thriving ecosystems by growing and reproducing corals and invertebrates. To aid in that process the EcoTech Marine E-Team developed the Easy-Ionizer, a device that simplifies reef-keeping by using automation to create a stable marine environment.

In order to properly care for fish and other aquatic organisms contained within a reef aquarium, proper and stable water chemistry is required. Typical daily chores of maintaining a reef aquarium include topping off the tank with fresh water and supplementing calcium and alkalinity. The Easy-Ionizer automatically combines the multiple chores of freshwater top off and calcium and alkalinity supplementation, consolidating two otherwise expensive products into one package.

The E-Team included ten undergraduate students. Two faculty advisors with expertise in business economics and geo-environmental engineering supported the students along with several industry experts

Update: The EcoTech team has gone on to form a successful aquarium products company. Visit their website here.


Lehigh University, 2003 - $13,500

The FreeFeet E-Team designed a strap-in binding for a snowboard boot equipped with an adapter that allows snowboarders to combine the softer feel of strap-in boots with the more convenient step-in system. Freefeet combines the two methods by means of an attachment that allows the snowboarder to quickly "step-in" to the board while using nearly any boot she wants.

The E-Team consisted of three sophomores and one junior, each majoring in integrated business and engineering, and one senior majoring in finance and biology.

Soda Sentry

Lehigh University, 2004 - $9,241

This E-Team developed the Soda Sentry, a system that indicates when syrup has run out at soda fountains. Using infrared technology, a red light indicates to the customer when a fountainhead is out of syrup; additionally, lights go off in the employee area of the restaurant to let servers know the box needs to be changed. The product intends to optimize customer service and restaurant efficiency.

The E-Team consisted of a junior in integrated business and engineering as well as graduate students in electrical, industrial, and mechanical engineering, and computer science. Advisors to the team were a professor of management, a marketing expert, a manufacturing and operations expert, and an engineering design expert.

Orion Security LSP LLC

Lehigh University, 2006 - $16,500

This E-Team, already incorporated as Orion Security LSP LLC, is in the process of completing prototype development of their low-cost GPS location device. The company, formed in Lehigh's Integrated Product Development program, currently runs a location-based service called Findum, which provides a person's location through a cellular telephone. The user, say a parent, logs onto Findum's online application, enters their username and password, and instantly acquires the exact location of the cell phone--say a child carrying it in her pocket.

While location-based services like this represent a growing industry with several competitors on the market, the high price of location devices (from $250-$800) have prevented explosive growth. However, the team has developed a manufacturing process that allows them to sell the devices for $50-$100. The team is now perfecting that manufacturing process and designing prototypes for their three target markets: collars for pets, shoe inserts for children, and vehicle devices for business-to-business fleet management.

SMART Kit (Lifeserve Innovations)

Lehigh University, 2008 - $19,600

LifeServe Innovations is an entrepreneurial venture formed at Lehigh University aimed at developing and commercializing an emergency tracheostomy device. Currently the standard surgical airway procedure for the emergency field is a cricothyroidotomy, but this procedure is problematic as the airway it creates is temporary and needs to be replaced at the hospital. LifeServe intends to improve the practice by bringing an in-hospital procedure, the percutaneous tracheostomy, to the field of emergency medicine.

The team is developing the SMART Kit, which will contain all the tools necessary to perform a percutaneous tracheostomy in the field. The vital component of the kit is LifeServe's patentable SnakeBite Dilator (pictured). This device transforms a percutaneous trachestomy from a timely and involved surgery to a fast and user-friendly procedure.

LifeServe has already prototyped an initial version of the dilator, performed market research, and gained insight and feedback from medical professionals.

Sustainable Community-based Arsenic Removal Systems in Remote Villages of Cambodia in South East Asia

Lehigh University, 2008 - $47,250

Drinking water drawn from underground sources has caused extensive arsenic poisoning among villagers in remote areas in Cambodia. Consequently, there is an urgent need for sustainable treatment processes that can provide arsenic-safe water to the affected population. This Sustainable Vision project aims to develop and implement a sustainable, community-based, wellhead technology modeled after an arsenic removal system operating successfully on the Indian subcontinent. More than 175 such units currently provide arsenic-safe water to nearly 200,000 villagers in West Bengal, India (near the Bangladesh border), a geologically and socially similar region. The project will place the arsenic removal technology at schools and other selected locations. 

Summer 2009 update: The project is in progress to install the first community based system in a village near Pnom Penh, Cambodia.

EcoTech NanoSystems: BioShield Technology

Lehigh University, 2006 - $19,492

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 Marine: VorTech

Lehigh University, 2005 - $18,738


Maintaining a reef aquarium requires adequate water circulation to balance water chemistry, carry nutrients to inhabitants, and remove waste, all of which can be accomplished by means of a pump system. The EcoTech Marine E-Team developed a new and improved pump, the VorTech™, which creates a natural wave-like water flow while minimizing the intrusion of heat and bulky equipment into the reef environment.

The team designed the pump to attach magnetically on either side of the tank glass, allowing the electric motor to reside outside the tank, while the propeller can be set to create a variety of surge types. Competitors’ pumps generally produce jet-stream water flows, as opposed to VorTech’s wave-like surges.

Update: The EcoTech team has gone on to form a successful aquarium products company. Visit their website here.

Glow Friends

Lehigh University, 2002 - $13,500

This E-Team developed Glow Friends, an electronic friendship bracelet and one of the few high-tech toys on the market targeted specifically at young girls ages seven to thirteen.

The Glow Friends bracelet, which features a heart-shaped rhinestone center that glows when the bracelet is on as well as six additional light-emitting rhinestones along the band, interacts with other bracelets -- it can be "synchronized" by its owner. When a synchronized friend gets within 300 feet of the bracelet wearer, a rhinestone on her bracelet glows every thirty seconds. As the friend grows closer, the rhinestone glows brighter. The six rhinestones can recognize up to six friends.

The Glow Friends E-Team consists of five undergraduates in marketing, computer engineering, business, electrical engineering and fine arts. They work with faculty in business, economics, and electrical engineering.

Syrup Out Signal

Lehigh University, 2002 - $13,900

Many restaurants serve fountain drinks made of mixed syrup and CO2. Servers and managers monitor syrup levels to ensure quality beverages with manual techniques, such as observing the color of the drinks, lifting the syrup canisters to judge weight, and visually observing containers. In a busy establishment, syrup levels often run low or completely out before a supervisor or server notices, causing poor customer service, poor quality drinks, or interrupted service.

To remedy this problem, six undergraduates students developed the SOS, or Syrup Out Signal. SOS monitors fluid levels in CO2 canisters and syrup boxes and alerts restaurant staff when the ingredients reach low levels. With syrup in the tubing, the circuit generates a steady voltage output. But when air replaces the syrup in the line, the voltage lowers. This sudden change in voltage causes a radio transmitter to signal a receiver, which supplies current to a light-emitting diode and turns on a warning light, alerting the user to low syrup levels.

Senior IPD Project Course

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - $15000.00

Proposal requests renewal of funding for E-Teams in Lehigh IPD program. Program is multi-disciplinary design and business development program run in conjunction with the Ben Franklin Incubator. Funding would enable 2 teams to develop prototypes and marketing & business plans. Teams are well supported and the IPD courses offer very good support for E-Teams including lectures and connection with industry and business mentors and access to the incubator center for successful projects. ITEM $ Requested $ Approved E-Team Prototype Development $4,000 $3,000 Technical services 2,000 1,000 Support services 4,000 1,000 Summer stipends for students 2,600 0 Equip 1,000 1,000 Supplies 200 200 Travel 200 200 Patent & legal 200 200 Market analysis 200 200 Business plan development 200 200 Posters, presentation mtls and reports 400 200 $15,000 $7,200 The proposal is very well rounded and likely to produce good E-Teams. The funding requested is quite high although the teams work on projects which are often quite complex and involve elaborate prototyping. Recommend funding at $7200 based on comparable expenses in the programs with the removal of internship expenses. Encourage applications for advanced support for summer funding Fund at reduced level of $7200.

Obsidian Cyclops

Lehigh University, 1998 - $20,000

This E-Team created Obsidian Cyclops, a novel high end mountain bike front shock. Aimed at the downhill segment of the mountain bike industry. Obsidian originated from a Lehigh University design project in the Integrated Product Development course. The project explored the possibility of and then prototyped a single blade suspension fork to improve on existing fork designs.
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