March Madness for the Mind Deadline EXTENDED: January 19!

Calling all E-Teams!

Don't forget to submit an application to participate in the 2010 March Madness for the Mind exhibition on Friday, March 26 & 27 at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, CA.

The application deadline is now EXTENDED to January 19, 2010.

NCIIA will cover all expenses for selected teams to attend.

If you team is serious about your innovation, March Madness for the Mind is for you. Learn more here and by listening to this podcast: 


Stage 2 E-Team Program Guidelines

Stage 2 E-Team Program Guidelines - Applicants are strongly encouraged to read the entire guidelines prior to submitting.

Introduction | Selection Criteria | Stage 2 Funding | Required Stage 2 Workshop | Coaching | How to Apply | The Stage 2 Proposal | Stage 2 Review and Notification Process | If Your Proposal is Approved

NOTE: Only teams already accepted into Stage 1 of the E-Team Program are eligible to apply for Stage 2. Please refer to the E-Team Program guidelines for more information on initial application to the program. Stage 2 applications must be submitted to NCIIA via email. Specific instructions will be shared with Stage 1 teams at the Stage 1 workshop.


Stage 2: up to $20,000 + Stage 2 workshop + tactical coaching + network

Stage 2 of the E-Team Program is typically 18 months and is intended to support teams in further developing their technology invention/innovation and plan for commercialization. Accepted Stage 1 E-Teams may apply for Stage 2 of the program after attending the required Stage 1 workshop. Please refer to the event schedule section of the E-Team Program guidelines for the 2014/2015 schedule of events and deadlines.

back to top

Selection Criteria

Stage 2 applications will be evaluated against the same 4 elements used for the evaluation of Stage 1 program applications:

  1. Technology innovation and feasibility
  2. Business model and commercial potential
  3. Team composition, commitment, and expertise (including any advisors and/or mentors)
  4. Positive social and/or environmental impact

Greater emphasis will be placed on the business model and commercial potential when assessing Stage 2 applications.

back to top

Stage 2: Up to $20,000

A portion of the Stage 2 grant funds must be used to cover team costs associated with attending the required Stage 2 workshop. Funds may also be requested for supplies, equipment, and/or expenses related to project development and advancement, including preliminary legal fees and student stipends. E-Team Program grant funds cannot be used to cover institutional overhead.

More information about eligible and ineligible expenses can be found in the “how to apply” section of these guidelines.

back to top

Required Stage 2 Workshop

Stage 2 helps teams further refine their business strategy and focuses specifically on operationalizing each aspect of their plan.

Full participation in a Stage 2 workshop is required in order to receive Stage 2 grant funds. A minimum of 2 team members must attend the entire workshop; teams may not attend a partial workshop. See the event schedule section of E-Team Program guidelines for 2014/2015 schedule of workshop dates and deadlines.

back to top


Stage 2 teams participate in six monthly coaching sessions which will begin after attending the Stage 2 workshop. Coaching sessions will begin approximately one month after the Stage 2 workshop and will be held via teleconference. Teams will be grouped according to stage and sector at the discretion of NCIIA.

As with the workshops, participation in these coaching sessions is a required component of the E-Team Program. Participants will present on their progress based on the milestone planning started in Stage 1 and completed in Stage 2.

Preliminary Stage 2 coaching schedule (specific session times are TBD and will accomodate participants in all time zones):

If you attend the 
August 14-16, 2014 Stage 2 workshop...

your coaching Fridays will be: 

  1. Sept. 26, 2014
  2. Oct. 24, 2014
  3. Nov. 21, 2014
  4. Dec. 19, 2014
  5. Jan. 30, 2015
  6. Feb. 27, 2015

If you attend the
January 23-25, 2015 Stage 2 workshop...

your coaching Fridays will be:

  1. Feb. 27, 2015
  2. Mar. 27, 2015
  3. April 17, 2015
  4. May 29, 2015
  5. June 26, 2015
  6. Aug. 28, 2015

If you attend the  May 8-10, 2015 Stage 2 workshop...

 your coaching Fridays will be:

  1. June 26, 2015
  2. August 28, 2015
  3. Sept 25, 2015
  4. October 30, 2015
  5. November 20, 2015
  6. December 18, 2015

back to top

How to Apply

Stage 2 applications must be submitted to NCIIA via email. Specific instructions will be shared with Stage 1 teams at the Stage 1 workshop.

*NOTE* If your Principal Investigator and/or Administrative Contact has changed since your Stage 1 approval, please contact us.

back to top

The Stage 2 Proposal

The Stage 2 proposal consists of the following components:

  • Required proposal components combined together in a single PDF (includes the revised Stage 1 proposal narrative, proposed budget, completed milestones chart, letter(s) of support, and key team member resumes)
  • Additional (optional) appendices combined together into a single PDF (up to 5 total - can be the same appendices submitted with the Stage 1 application, or can be modified)
  • Weblinks and/or videos (optional) up to 4 links can be included (websites, video links, articles, etc.)

Details on each component are provided below in these guidelines.


Required Proposal Components
The following documents are required as part of the Stage 2 proposal and must be included in the following order, combined together into a single PDF.

  1. Revised narrative (no more than 5 pages)
  2. Proposed budget (Please use the Stage 2 budget template)
  3. Milestones chart
  4. Letters of support (a minimum of 1 is required, a maximum of 3 may be included)
  5. Team member resumes (up to 4 resumes, 3-page limit per resume)

1. REQUIRED: Revised Narrative

Using the reviewer feedback shared with teams prior to the Stage 1 workshop, as well as the milestones and learning outcomes from the Stage 1 workshop, teams will revise their previously submitted 5-page narrative using the same basic structure and parameters.

back to required component list

2. REQUIRED: Proposed Budget
Your proposed budget is a key element of your Stage 2 application. Up to $20,000 may be requested and should support the team’s successful completion of the milestones laid out in your Stage 2 proposal. The grantee institution owns any equipment purchased with an E-Team grant funds. Please note that NCIIA will typically not fund the purchase of equipment that is considered part of a college or university infrastructure. Proposed funds for equipment should be less than 1/3 the total proposed budget.

The proposed budget should be completed using NCIIA’s Stage 2 E-Team budget template. Instructions and specific expense definitions can be found in the budget template, and are also summarized below. Be sure to explain your proposed expenses in the “justifications” section in the budget template or in a separate sheet.

Eligible expenses examples:

  • Materials and supplies.
  • Student stipends (no more than $3,000 per person or $7,500 per project).
  • Travel.
  • Equipment expenses totaling less than 1/3 the total proposed budget.
  • Consulting and technical services
  • Expenses related to performing patent searches, disclosures and applications, or creating marketing or business plans.

Ineligible expenses examples:

  • Equipment expenses above 1/3 the total proposed budget
  • Indirect costs/overhead.
  • Faculty salaries.
  • Legal and other expenses of business formation and operation.
  • Publicity expenses.
  • Student stipends totaling over $3,000 per person or $7,500 per project.

back to required component list

3. REQUIRED: Milestones Chart
Create and submit a chart that describes the milestones that your team expects to complete during the Stage 2 grant period (approximately 18 months). This document is an important part of the Stage 2 proposal. Accepted Stage 2 teams will further refine these milestones during the Stage 2 workshop and in the 6 monthly coaching sessions following the workshop.

How does this differ from the Workplan included in the narrative?  While the Workplan is a big-picture, long-range plan to get you from today to your first sale, the Milestones chart should focus on shorter-term goals--it's what you'll be doing during the 18 months of the grant period.

back to required component list

4. REQUIRED: Letter(s) of Support
Letters of support demonstrate to reviewers that there is institutional support for your project and/or verify partnerships discussed in your narrative. At least one letter is required as part of your proposal. You may include up to three total. More weight will be given to letters of support from potential customers, partners industry experts, and mentors that verify the key elements of your proposal over general letters of support from friends, family, or supportive faculty (although these may also be appropriate and of value). The same letter(s) used in your Stage 1 proposal may be used for the Stage 2 proposal, but it may be appropriate to obtain new support letters based on reviewer feedback on your Stage 1 proposal and/or learning outcomes from the Stage 1 workshop.

back to required component list

5. REQUIRED: Resumes
Resumes should be no more than three pages each and are only required for key team members, with a maximum of four resumes included. We do not need resumes for the Administrative Contact or other non-key team members/collaborators. The same resumes used in your Stage 1 proposal may be used for the Stage 2 proposal.

back to required component list


Optional: Additional Appendices
Up to five additional appendices may be included in your proposal and must be combined into one PDF. These may be the same documents included in the Stage 1 proposal, or they may be different. Appendices may include but are not limited to:

  1. Images demonstrating design and/or technical feasibility (drawings, photographs, etc.)
  2. A summary of prior art
  3. Literature review summary
  4. Any data collected as part of testing your technology
  5. Any other relevant supporting materials

Note: Sheer volume of material is not an asset. Reviewers are directed to use supporting materials only to supplement the 5-page narrative. Therefore, key information should be included in the narrative.

Optional: Weblinks and/or Videos
In addition to the appendices combined as 1 PDF mentioned above, teams may upload up to 4 weblinks, such as links to online articles, videos and/or other relevant online data.

You may submit a 1-2 minute video pitch to describe your technology to reviewers. If included, the video should state the problem and describe your innovation and the impact of the team's solution. Clear, non-technical language is acceptable and may be preferable. To view some samples, watch the top videos submitted by participants in NCIIA's annual Open Minds event. If you choose to include a video as part of your proposal, a link to the video should be uploaded as an appendix item and referenced in the narrative.

back to top

The Stage 2 Review and Notification Process

  • Stage 2 proposals will be reviewed by an external panel of reviewers made up of individuals from academia, industry, nonprofits and/or venture capital with experience in the technology areas and in the commercialization of early stage innovations.
  • Your team's Stage 2 proposal will likely be evaluated by different people than those who evaluated your Stage 1 proposal.
  • NCIIA will notify applicants of the status of their proposals via email within 60 days of the submission deadline.
  • We anticipate that about 50% of the submitted Stage 2 proposals will be approved. Stage 2 grant funding will not be disbursed to teams until they commit to participate in the required Stage 2 workshop as specified in the event schedule section of E-Team Program guidelines.
  • Occasionally, reviewers invite a team to resubmit their proposal in a future cycle for re-consideration, after certain concerns or questions are addressed. Applicants invited by reviewers to resubmit should contact NCIIA to discuss the reviewer feedback in detail and make sure they understand the questions and concerns raised. Resubmitted proposals must specify how previous concerns have been addressed.

back to top

If Your Proposal is Approved

Principal Investigators for NCIIA grants are responsible for reporting on Stage 2 team activities and will be prompted via email at the end of the 18 month period to complete a final report online. If you are accepted into Stage 2, reporting deadlines will be detailed in your award letter which is sent to the Administrative Contact, with a copy to the Principal Investigator.

  • NCIIA will send the Principal Investigator a formal notification letter and approved budget.
  • Grant funds will be awarded to the team’s college or university for the use of the team.
  • Stage 2 E-Teams will need to commit to sending at least 2 key team members to a Stage 2 workshop (team expenses should be included in the Stage 2 proposed budget).  See the event schedule in the E-Team Program guidelines for workshop dates.
  • NCIIA will send a contract for signature to the Administrative Contact identified by the team. Once this award letter is signed and returned to NCIIA, funds can be disbursed.

***Please note: NCIIA does not allow overhead to be taken out of E-Team Program grant awards.

Congratulations, you read the Stage 2 E-Team Program guidelines!If you have questions that are not answered in the above, please contact us:  grants@nciia.org or call (413) 587-2172 and press 1 for the grants team.

CleanNG LLC E-Team picked as a Global Entrepreneurship Week top 50

2011 E-Team CleanNG LLC was picked as one of Global Entrepreneurship Week's top 50—a list of the 50 most innovative new companies competing in Startup Open, GEW's competition recognizing startups with high-growth potential. The team is now in the running for the grand prize, a trip to Rio de Janeiro to serve as an official delegate to the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in March 2013. 

Visit CleanNG's web site.

Uzima Neonatal Vital Signs Monitor

Columbia University, 2011 - $18,500

Infants in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) suffer from a variety of heart and respiratory conditions that can be fatal if not properly diagnosed and treated. One of the most important components of this care is vital signs monitoring, but, due to a severe lack of staff (two nurses for fifty infants is not uncommon), funding, and equipment in the developing world, as well as a high number of infants, current vital signs monitors are too expensive for widespread use.

The Uzima team is designing an inexpensive, non-invasive vital signs monitor to continuously measure neonatal heart rate, respiratory rate, and temperature in low-resource NICUs. The monitor will measure heart rate and respiratory rate using piezoelectric transducers, temperature using surface thermistors, and present the stats on a LCD display in the control unit. The various sensors will be incorporated in a self-contained, soft mat encased in waterproof Gore-Tex for easy sterilization and reuse, and placed underneath the child’s clothing. The device will emit auditory and visual alarms when a problem occurs, and include rechargeable batteries to handle frequent power outages. A second alarm would indicate low batteries.


Stanford University, 2011 - $19,000

The vast majority of hospitalizations related to heart failure in the US are due to symptoms of volume overload, which occurs when cardiac pumping function declines and excess fluid builds up in the body. Patients become bloated due to the fluid accumulation, and in the lungs, where interstitial space is limited, fluid overflows into the airways and causes shortness of breath common to heart patients.

Volume overload is currently managed by two treatments: medications and dialysis. Medications remove fluid from the body by increasing kidney function and increasing urine output, but this reversal can take hours to days and is often incomplete. Dialysis mechanically filters fluid from blood in patients with poor kidney function, but is complex and expensive.

LymphAxis is developing a novel catheter system to drain excess fluid directly from the thoracic duct. Instead of manipulating kidney function to increase urine output, the team’s device accesses the interstitial fluid compartment (in the patient’s neck) directly. The device’s double-armed catheter is advanced through the central venous system to the thoracic duct. The catheter tip seals against the duct to draw fluid directly from the lymphatic system and into a vacuum container outside the body.

Pragmatic Energy (Arbsource)

Arizona State University, 2011 - $20,000

This team is developing the BioHydrogenator (BHR), a device that could reduce wastewater treatment costs for food and beverage makers and produce hydrogen gas in the process. Currently, food and beverage makers in the US use a conventional aerobic (oxygen-rich) process that is effective at eliminating pollutants from wastewater but is extremely energy-intensive and costly.

The BHR uses a fundamentally different type of bacterial ecology and reactor design that offers the ability to treat wastewater without aeration. The main idea is to use the energy released through the breakdown of organic pollutants in the wastewater by microorganisms to create hydrogen gas as a useful byproduct. This transfer of protons and electrons is facilitated by electrodes (an anode and cathode) suspended in a reaction chamber.


Stanford University, 2011

Xerostomia, or dry mouth, is a condition in which a patient’s salivary glands fail to work properly, resulting in pain, mucosal sores, dental bills, loss of taste, trouble speaking and depression. This condition affects seven million people in the US and can stem from a variety of reasons, including radiation therapy for head and neck cancer, as well as autoimmune disorders, chronic illnesses and poly-pharmaceuticals. For xerostomia sufferers, current solutions are primarily limited to salivary substitutes that require active application several times a day but do provide limited and temporary relief. At night, patients tend to wake every few hours and therefore suffer from sleep deprivation.

XeroTray is a passive device that provides relief from xerostomia by the timely release of moisture stored in a mouth guard, freeing patients from frequent application of salivary substitutes and protecting the teeth and gums.


University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2011 - $20,000

According to the EPA, as many as 5-17 million people in the US may currently be exposed to dangerously high levels of a toxic rocket fuel component, perchlorate, through public drinking water supplies. Perchlorate disturbs proper function of the thyroid and has an adverse affect on prenatal and neonatal development. On account of the risk posed to the public, in February 2011 the EPA issued a decision to regulate perchlorate in drinking water; a regulation will be in place within approximately 36 months.

Currently, however, there are no economical or efficient options for removing perchlorate from water in point-of-use (POU) treatment units such as pitcher or faucet filters. To fill the need, the Serionix team has developed a low-cost filtration medium capable of rapid and efficient POU removal of perchlorate from water. While other perchlorate-removing technologies exist, the team believes its ultra-fast uptake of the chemical will separate it from the competition.

Design Innovations for Infants and Mothers Everywhere (DIIME)

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2011 - $20,000

A major challenge to improving maternal healthcare worldwide is the lack of blood available for transfusions during open abdominal surgeries, especially in cases of ruptured ectopic pregnancy. However, 80% of patients in sub-Saharan Africa do not receive a transfusion without providing a replacement donor, generally a close family member. If the patient doesn’t have access to the necessary blood because a family member is unavailable or unwilling to donate, her prognosis may worsen, eventually leading to death.

To address this problem, physicians in resouce-limited settings have developed a procedure for salvaging the patient’s own blood lost in internal hemorrhaging. In this widely used procedure, called “soup ladle autotransfusion,” the patient’s blood is physically scooped out of the abdomen with a ladle and poured through a nurse’s hands into a bowl, where it is mixed with anticoagulant, filtered through a few layers of gauze, and transferred to a blood bag. The blood bag is then hung on an IV stand and the blood is transfused back into the patient. While the end goal of giving the patient a transfusion is achieved, the procedure is labor-intensive and there’s a high chance of complications resulting from contamination.

This team has developed a novel blood transfusion device that allows a clinician to extract blood from the woman’s abdomen, quickly filter the blood of any clots or impurities, and safely transfuse it back into the patient’s body via a standard blood bag. The device, estimated to cost approximately $300, was developed in collaboration with healthcare professionals in Ghana.

Low-cost Traditional Adult Male Circumcision Device

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2011 - $20,000

AIDS is a devastating global epidemic responsible for more than 25 million deaths since 1981. Sub-Saharan Africa continues to be the region most heavily affected by HIV, accounting for 67% of HIV cases and 72% of AIDS deaths in 2007. Among a number of interventions that have been attempted to stop the spread of AIDS in Africa, the World Health Organization has found that adult male circumcision is the only biomedical intervention proven effective—removal of the foreskin greatly reduces the number of target cells available for uptake of HIV and other STDs. It is estimated that three million lives could be saved in sub-Saharan Africa alone if safe male circumcision were to become common practice.

To make that a reality, this E-Team is developing the CircoGel, a culturally acceptable, low-cost, simple-to-use, disposable device to perform circumcisions in sub-Saharan Africa. CircoGel is comprised of two parts, a strong solid shell that provides protection against the cut and a latex sleeve that covers the shell. The device was designed based on feedback gathered from several focus groups with ethnic leaders, traditional cutters, and public health officials in Uganda.


University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2011 - $15,400

Anemia is a chronic disability caused by a reduction in healthy red blood cells and affects an estimated 1.62 billion people worldwide, or about a third of the world’s population. Current means of anemia diagnosis are not well suited to rural areas of the developing world: standard electric centrifuges are dependent on sporadic power, and, should they need to be repaired, require specialized parts and mechanical expertise. Other solutions, such as rapid diagnostic strips and blood smears, frequently come solely from donations and are single-use.

This team is looking to fill the need for long-term, sustainable anemia diagnosis with CentriCycle, a hand-powered centrifuge made out of bicycle parts. The team has developed a prototype and business plan and is currently working to complete proof-of-concept testing and on-location field testing in India, its initial target market.


University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2011 - $19,938

Electrical stimulation of the retina to treat blindness is an effective method to provide vision while parallel research progresses on providing a cure. However, this therapy is restricted since current electrode technology doesn’t conform to the back of the eye; gaps between the electrodes and the retina require greater stimulation potentials that can actually cause reduced visual acuity.

This team is developing SynapTech, a neural interface technology that will enable precise integration of the electrode with the retina, allowing minimal stimulating potentials, greater electrode density and enhanced vision. The team’s novel design consists of an array of moveable electrodes with micron-level precision.


Stanford University, 2011 - $20,000

Ascites is a condition in which fluid builds up in the abdominal cavity, most commonly from cirrhosis of the liver and cancer. Patients suffering from ascites can initially be managed with diuretics and by restricting salt in their diet, but over time they need increasing doses of medication and eventually become non-responsive to treatment. Only a few patients with end-stage liver disease receive liver transplants; the vast majority of patients have to live with a significant amount of fluid in their abdomen, requiring a trip to the hospital for drainage every 2-4 weeks which clearly affects a patient’s quality of life. This E-Team is developing a novel technology aimed at managing patients with ascites at home in order to prevent frequent hospital visits.


University of California, Davis, 2011 - $20,000

Despite the indisputable need for the development of renewable energy sources, the current options for renewable fuel (ethanol, butanol, biodiesel, methane, and hydrogen) are heavily based on food crops. One promising option is cellulosic biofuels, which have the potential to replace 30% of current demand for transportation fuels. However, the decomposition of cellulosic biomass presents a formidable challenge that requires costly, energy-intensive and environmentally detrimental pretreatment steps.

This team is researching the viability of duckweed, a tiny, stem-less monocot plant that grows on the surface of ponds, as a cellulosic biofuel. Duckweed has a 2-3 day doubling time, utilizes non-arable land, can grow all year round and does not require extensive biomass pretreatment for biofuel production.

Strong Arm

Rochester Institute of Technology, 2011 - $17,200

Lifting injuries affect hundreds of thousands of workers each year. Injuries arise partly due to lack of training and partly due to situations in which workers lift heavy loads for extended periods of time. The effects of these injuries are costly, with $50 billion per year paid out in worker’s compensation.

This team is developing the Strong Arm, a form-fitting garment that incorporates a unique system of load-bearing straps that allows workers to lift heavy objects more easily and with significantly less risk of injury. Essentially, the system shifts the forces of lifting from the injury-prone hands, arms, neck, shoulders and lower back and distributes them evenly to stronger and more stable areas of the torso.

Update: Strong Arm was one of four $100k Diamond Winners in the 2012 MassChallenge contest. Here's a video of the team from the event.

Medical Future - Daniel Kraft returns to TED

Former NCIIA grantee Daniel Kraft makes his second appearance on TED, talking about the future of medicine.

Based at Stanford University, Daniel is one of this country's leading biomedical innovators. In 2002, he led a student team that developed the Marrow Miner (see his TED talk from 2009).








NCIIA awards over half a million dollars to build ventures at US universities


NCIIA has awarded $582,950 to support 27 projects from 22 universities across the US. Thirteen E-Team grants were awarded, and fourteen Course and Program grants.

NCIIA awards $2 million annually to support university-led technology entrepreneurship, funding that has resulted in the launch of more than 100 ventures.

Among the new E-Team grants awarded:

  • A team from Georgia Tech developing a cell encapsulation system for treating diabetes more effectively.
  • A University of Virginia team developing PuzzleCast, a modular cast that treats broken arms by allowing an increasing range of motion to the damaged limb over the healing period.
  • A team from North Carolina State University developing 'Light Detection and Radiation' (LiDAR), a laser-based system that can be used by remotely operated vehicles to map underwater terrain in real-time.

Among the new Course and Program grants awarded:

  • A new program at UC San Diego, mystartupXX, (named for the female chromosome) aims to increase the number of women entrepreneurs by targeting female students for invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship education.
  • A new interdisciplinary entrepreneurial “green building” program at Norwich University that will engage E-Teams comprising seniors in business, architecture, engineering, and construction management.


Minimally Invasive Creation of Autologous Venous Valves for the Treatment of Deep Venous Insufficiency

Stanford University, 2010 - $19,973

Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) of the deep veins is a disease in which patients suffer from poor circulation in their lower extremities due to non-functional valves. Over the long-term this condition can lead to varicose veins, skin discoloration, leg pain and debilitating leg ulcers. Currently, severe symptoms due to CVI develop in over six million Americans annually; this number is expected to rise as the population ages and obesity becomes more prevalent.
The typical treatment for CVI—a combination of compression stockings and wound care—has extremely poor compliance rates. Open surgical valve repair is rarely used because of its highly invasive nature.
This team is developing a minimally invasive, catheter-based solution for deep vein CVI. The catheter is inserted into the patient’s venous system and advanced to the incompetent vein, where the physician then actuates the catheter to form a version of a natural vein valve. Once the valve is created, blood flows upward freely past the new valve, and at the end of the pumping cycle, blood fills the newly created sinus pocket, causing the flap to close against the vein wall and creating a temporary watertight seal. In this way, vein competency is permanently restored without the need for an implant or invasive surgery.

PuraCath Medical

Stanford University, 2010 - $16,172

Peritoneal dialysis (PD) is a treatment for patients with severe chronic kidney disease. The process uses the patient's peritoneum in the abdomen as a membrane across which fluids and dissolved substances are exchanged from the blood. Fluid is introduced through a permanent tube in the abdomen and flushed out either every night while the patient sleeps or via regular exchanges throughout the day. PD is used as an alternative to hemodialysis, with the primary advantage being the ability to undertake treatment without visiting a medical facility. The primary complication with PD is the patients’ failure to adhere to the complex protocol. This complicated protocol exists in order to ensure proper transfer of fluids while reducing side effects and complications.

The PuraCath Medical device can simplify the procedure and enhance quality of life of patients. The device is an innovative, self-contained PD catheter that doesn't rely on patient compliance.

Minimally Invasive Device for Harvesting Iliac Crest Bone Graft

Johns Hopkins University, 2010 - $20,000

There are over 1.5 million spinal fusion surgeries performed annually worldwide. Bone grafting is the standard practice in orthopedic medicine to foster restoration and healing of the spine in addition to providing structural and biological support. The current gold standard for graft materials is the autologous bone graft, which uses cancellous bone from the patient’s own hip (clinically termed the iliac crest bone graft or ICBG). ICBG produces the best results, but it must be extracted through an invasive procedure that is cumbersome for the surgeon and painful for the patient. There is currently no specialized device designed to extract sufficient volumes of ICBG for spinal surgery without high risk to the patient.

This team’s goal is to dramatically improve the procedure for extracting ICBG. The device will be minimally invasive, will standardize the harvesting procedure, and will allow for safe extraction of large volumes of ICBG. This will increase spinal fusion success rates while reducing patient morbidity, surgical time, and healthcare expenditures.

Novel Antibacterial Coatings for Combating Healthcare-Associated Infections

Brown University, 2010 - $18,200

Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) is the second most common type of healthcare-associated infection in the US. VAP occurs when bacteria form on endotracheal tubes and invade the lungs, resulting in over $10 billion in unnecessary hospital expenses and almost 36,000 deaths annually.

Currently, only two methods are used to combat VAP: sterilization and antibiotics. Sterilizing medical tubes rids the surface of transmissible pathogenic agents, but over half of all endotracheal tubes are exposed to bacteria even before being inserted, with some adhering irreversibly to the tube surface. The second technique is administering antibiotics to patients, but this has not shown satisfactory results due to bacteria’s inherent resistance to antibiotics.

This team is developing nano-TEC, a proprietary antibacterial coating that is effective in preventing bacteria formation on endotracheal tubes. In bench tests their solution is six times more effective and costs substantially less than the only other antibacterial coating products on the market.


North Carolina State University, 2010 - $9,400

Remotely-operated vehicles (ROVs) utilize vision-based systems—cameras—for providing user feedback. But vision-based systems are inherently limited underwater simply by the distance that light can travel; light backscatters in water, creating hot spots and otherwise noisy images. The alternative solution for many of these problems is sonar, which provides clear 3D images of the seafloor, allowing ROV operators much more detailed and larger maps. However, sonar can be prohibitively expensive, costing up to ten times more than cameras.
The WolfTracks team is developing a mid-range solution between cameras and sonar. WolfTracks uses Light Detection and Radiation (LiDAR), a laser-based system, to map the underwater terrain in real-time. Wolftracks will cost less and have a larger scanning distance and lower power output than traditional low-end sonar solutions, dramatically expanding the range of uses and expanding the market for scanning, mapping, search and rescue, and other applications.

Antenatal Screening Kit: Improving Maternal Health Worldwide

Johns Hopkins University, 2010 - $16,000

Each year, nearly 600,000 women die worldwide as a result of complications arising from pregnancy and childbirth. In South Asia, barely 50% of women have access to antenatal care, and as a result millions of women over the years have died avoidable deaths.

This team is developing a kit consisting of rapid and cost-effective point-of-care tests to screen expectant mothers for various readily treatable diseases and health problems that can lead to complications during pregnancy. The kit contains different marker pens pre-filled with reagents and a special booklet. A simple mark on a piece of paper by the test pen creates a dipstick for urine, and results in an easily read color change, telling the healthcare worker if action is needed. The kit provides a 10 to 100 fold cost reduction in the cost of tests and longer shelf life for reagents in challenging environments.

The team is partnered with Jhpiego, a leading global NGO in maternal/child healthcare, which will provide access to test populations and marketing strategy development assistance.



Masssachusetts Institute of Technology, 2010 - $16,650

In order to meet the needs of local communities in developing countries, NGOs, designers, governments, academics, and policy makers need comprehensive, accurate data. But existing data collection processes are time-intensive, costly, and ultimately extract information from communities without engaging the community members themselves in the analysis.

This team is developing mSurvey, a simple, accessible technology that uses text-messaging technology to survey communities through mobile phones in developing countries. The technology captures data in real-time from anyone with a mobile phone and pays each respondent with mobile funds. The survey’s model enables communities to reflect on the disseminated data results from each question asked, a unique feature absent from current survey methodologies in developing countries.

The team has already performed two pilot projects in Kibera, Kenya, one of the largest slums in Africa for another team at MIT (Sustainable Vision grantees Sanergy). mSurvey reached out to over 360 community members in 2.5 hours, who texted their input to 25 questions about housing conditions, sanitation, and other demographic information.

Leveraged Freedom Chair E-Team featured on CNN

The Leveraged Freedom Chair E-Team from MIT has been featured on CNN. See the video here.

NCIIA funded the MIT team in 2010 to develop a lever-propelled wheelchair designed specifically to meet the mobility needs of people with disabilities in developing countries.





Best of 2010: NCIIA in the news


From Popular Science to Voice of America, from new companies and products and the launch of the Global Innovation Initiative to our new student ambassadors, NCIIA and its grantees were news stories in 2010.

Global vision
Launching the Global Innovation Initiative
GOOD Magazine: Change agents wanted

Celebrating innovative companies
•OneBreath ventilator: Popular Science Invention Awards
•The Good Guide: Fast Company's most innovative companies
•Solar Ivy: Popular Science 'Solar Panels that Mimic Ivy'
•Lifeserve Innovations: BusinessWeek's best young entrepreneurs

Harnessing the power of students to change the world
Inventors Digest 'Power 2.0'
InventorSpot 'NCIIA Initiates Student Ambassador Program'

•Voice of America 'Student Inventors Show Innovation'. Watch VoA's segment about the 2010 Open Minds showcase of NCIIA's best student teams>>>over there!>>>

Here are more of our success stories. Hope you enjoy these as much as we do!




Stanford's 'Endurance Rhythm' team launches startup company


Over the past two years, the Endurance Rhythm team, an E-team out of Stanford University, has worked on patenting a micro-generator for electronic implants of the heart.

While in the phases of developing its technology for powering implantable medical devices, the team has launched a new startup company, Endurance Rhythm Inc, for its device.

“Although the grant has ended,” said project primary investigator Paul Wang, “The project is continuing. The grant helped demonstrate proof of principle and ready our project for investment/partnership, which we are continuing to very actively seek. The grant was incredibly helpful and an amazing help for our team.”

Learn more about Endurance Rhythm, Inc. Read about the micro-generator.

NPR highlights Ecovative Design as one of the year's coolest innovations

In his latest look at the year's coolest inventions, NPR's Guy Raz interviews Eben Bayer of Ecovative Design, a 2007 NCIIA E-Team. Listen to the interview or read the transcript... Some key takeways: Greensulate and Ecocradle perform as well as synthetic products, but require a fraction of the energy to produce; Greensulate and Ecocradle are formed from natural materials and processes (so, waste packaging should end up in your compost bin, not a landfill); while you could eat Greensulate, it wouldn't taste good. 

Update: More kudos for Ecovative: 'One to watch' as noted by Popular Science.



E-Team Greenlight Planet brings solar lanterns to India

Solar lamps designed and distributed by former E-team Greenlight Planet are lighting up the lives of people in rural India, as reported in the Wall street Journal.






Cool technology file: Solar ivy's GROWth

Former E-Team GROW's solar ivy technology is flourishing. The wind and solar power generating photovoltaic leaves system, which can be easily integrated on the side of a building to produce energy, was featured in the MoMa Exhibition: Design and the Elastic Mind and was a concept design for a five-star luxury hotel in Zayed Bay, Abu Dhabi.

Read more about GROW's growth at Inhabitat.com.


E-Team Program: Winter 2013

Stage 1 E-Team Program grantees (receiving $5k each):

Stage 2 E-Team Program grantees (receiving $20k each):

Freyr Technologies (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

A platform that allows farmers in both developed and developing countries to optimize their use of nitrogen fertilizer.

ChallTech, LLC (Lehigh University)

A device for competitive rowers that captures workout data on a mobile device, synchronizes it with a web site, and provides an online team management system.

NovaGraft (Vanderbilt University)

An implantable, synthetic, biodegradable scaffold designed to help diabetic ulcer patients heal faster.

PortaTherm (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

An affordable and scalable diagnostic system for typhoid and paratyphoid, designed for use in developing countries.

Barter (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Software that uses economic tools to create an internal knowledge marketplace, enabling the free flow of information throughout the organization.

RFA Designs
(Northwestern University)

A Radiofrequency ablation probe designed for the unique challenges of breast cancer.

Nebula Sports (Rochester Institute of Technology)

A headband with force absorption properties designed to protect against concussions while playing soccer.

LuxSano (Duke University)

An innovative combination of two technologies to decrease bacterial counts at the wound site during surgery.

Awair: Breathe Better Technology (Stanford University)

A device that reduces the pain of an endotracheal tube by applying local anesthetic (lidocaine) directly to the airway.

MoringaConnect (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

A platform to provide moringa farmers in Ghana with resources, market connections, and affordable processing technologies for their crop.

Hole Patch (Case Western Reserve University)

A non-toxic solution for cold-weather pothole repair that is faster, simpler, and cheaper than current practices.

Akiba Cooking Solutions (Colorado State University)

An affordable, efficient cookstove for Kenya’s institutions, such as schools, hospitals, and restaurants.

Solarclave (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

A solar-powered autoclave that will allow nurses in developing world clinics 
to be able to sterilize their equipment.

SOUP Spoon Assistive Technologies (University of Detroit-Mercy)

A new spoon, designed to aid individuals with uncontrollable tremors or limited fine and gross motor skills, that avoids spillage when moving from plate to mouth.

FlashFood, LLC (Arizona State University at the Tempe Campus)

A rapid food recovery network that can rescue food that is ready-to-eat from restaurants, hotels, and catered events and deliver it directly to those in need.

eButton: A Wearable Electronic Device for Dementia Care (University of Pittsburgh)

A wearable electronic device that keeps track of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients and helps staff understand their health, safety and psychological needs.

The NeurD (Purdue University)

A new tool to monitor and detect the progression of peripheral neuropathy.

Disease Diagnostic Group (DDG) (Case Western Reserve University)

A handheld malaria diagnosis device that provides a diagnosis in one minute with one drop of blood from a fingertip.

IV DRIP: Dehydration Relief in Pediatrics (Rice University)
A simple volume regulator for IV drips that helps prevent overhydration.

Ligadon (University of Utah)
A more effective solution for ligament and tendon recombination surgeries.

OceanComm (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
A wireless modem to enable better communication between unmanned, underwater mining machines and their human operators on the surface.

Vitalnx (Vanderbilt University)
A monitor, located inside a trauma patient’s IV line, that provides early indicators of tissue shock, shortening the time to advanced resuscitation.

RetiCue (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
A portable, eye-worn imaging device that quickly assesses the condition of a patient’s retina.

Renature (Arizona State University at the Polytechnic Campus)
A novel modular design for a continuous flow aerobic bio-digester that can process organic food waste into concentrated and high value natural fertilizers and soil amendments.


Former E-Team Modiv Media wins award

Modiv Media, a former E-Team from Babson College, has been recognized by the 2009 AlwaysOn East 100 List. The AlwaysOn East 100 Award is given to private, emerging technology companies creating new business opportunities in high-growth markets.

Read the story here.

Modiv Media, based in Boston, provides the first multi-touchpoint, in-store media network that enables marketers and retailers to boost loyalty and sales, while saving money and time for consumers. The technology is used by a number of supermarket chains on the East Coast. While at Babson, the E-Team was called Vayusa. The team received an E-Team grant from NCIIA in 2002.

Stanford ventilator team receives Coulter grant

An NCIIA-funded E-Team from Stanford University has been awarded a Coulter grant that will help move its invention - an affordable ventilator - along the product development path.

The Stanford team is developing a low-cost ventilator for two distinct purposes: emergency readiness in developed countries and general use in developing countries. To fill the need in both cases, the team is developing a low-cost ($300, where typical ventilators range from $8,000-$60,000), rechargeable, portable, disposable ventilator. Read more about the grant here.

NexGEN SolarPads

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2008 - $19,000

Solar power has long been seen as a viable alternative to fossil fuel-based power, but has remained too expensive to force a trend in the residential market, where outfitting your home with photovoltaic panels can cost up to $40,000. Current panels are themselves non-sustainable: they require a large amount of energy to manufacture, and the materials are non-recyclable.

This E-Team is looking to solve both problems with SolarPads, an inexpensive, recyclable photovoltaic panel. The design uses compound parabolic concentrators to widen the panel’s range and increase its concentration ratio, which means that fewer photovoltaic cells need to be used, lowering the cost. It also uses an inflatable wedge system that allows the panel to rotate to a position closest to the sun. Overall, the team is aiming for a panel that is 90% cheaper than similar solar panels.

ecoMOD Home Energy and Environmental Monitoring System

University of Virginia, 2008 - $15,000

EcoMOD is an ongoing green building project at the University of Virginia in which architecture and engineering students construct affordable, modular homes that use 30-50% less energy than similar houses. They’ve built five houses so far, funded by a variety of non-profits, corporations and the EPA. The first house, ecoMOD1, has an extensive monitoring system in place to gather data on energy and water usage. While the system works well, it’s far too expensive to be a commercial energy-monitoring product and hasn’t been replicated in the other ecoMOD homes.

The team is now developing a commercial version: a low-cost, freeware, wireless home energy monitoring system that provides real-time feedback on energy use (electricity consumption of major appliances, water consumption, indoor and outdoor temperature and humidity, and carbon dioxide emissions), has the capability to adjust thermostat and ventilation settings based on whether the residents are home, and enables peak load shedding of selected appliances based on price signals from the utility. It consists of microcontrollers ranged around the house, a base station, and a web interface.

EcoMOD project website

N-SORB: Providing Safer Environment

Brown University, 2008 - $20,000

Mercury exposures are anticipated to rise with the rapid growth in compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), which contain 3-5 mg of mercury per lamp. Recent research at Brown identified a form of elemental selenium (nSe) with the ability to capture mercury vapor—a finding widely reported in the news in the summer of 2008 (New York Times, Discovery, etc.). The team is now developing a technology platform for a variety of mercury management products based around nSe, including box liners for CFL packages and shipping/recycling containers, consumer clean-up kits, air cleaning products for large spills, and dental office products. With NCIIA funding the team is assessing the long-term stability of nSe, researching ways to incorporate nSe into porous or permeable matrices, building and testing prototypes, and performing market research.

Development of a Novel, Low-Cost Point of Care HIV Viral Load Diagnostic for Resource-Limited Communities

Arizona State University at the Tempe Campus, 2008 - $20,000

HIV viral load testing, which measures the number of HIV copies in a milliliter of blood, provides important information in monitoring the status of HIV disease by guiding recommendations for therapy and predicting the future course of the disease. However, the current viral load test is expensive ($50k initial capital outlay, $40 per test), requires skilled technicians and significant training, and is available only in well-equipped medical facilities.

This E-Team is developing a new viral load test that is far cheaper ($200 capital outlay, $6 per test), does not required skilled technicians, and can be implemented in rural clinics in the developing world. The team’s simple approach is to use the naked eye to confirm the presence and quantity of HIV in the blood. The product will be a kit consisting of two pieces of equipment (a blue-light box and a water bath) and a package of inexpensive reagents that do not require cold-chain storage. Blood samples drawn from the patient are processed in 2.5 hours and read in a dark room using the blue-light: blood containing HIV above threshold levels fluoresce, indicating a high viral load.

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.


Duquesne University, 2008 - $15,025

The E-Team is creating PlastEco, a low-cost thatch-roofing product made from discarded plastic bottles. Using plastic strips instead of natural materials means a longer lasting, more energy efficient roof, and puts into use plastic bottles that would otherwise end up in a landfill.

The team has a close working relationship with Fundacion Maquipucuna, an Ecuadorian NGO; several groups of students have visited Ecuador to work with FM in developing PlastEco and other products (work supported in part by an NCIIA Sustainable Vision grant). The ultimate goal of the PlastEco project is to create micro-enterprises in Ecuador based around the technology, with the revenues supporting FM’s work in environmental conservation and poverty alleviation.

Development of a Total Cancer Marker through Single Molecule Assessment of DNA Integrity

Johns Hopkins University, 2008 - $20,000

Despite a number of advances in cancer detection technologies, the development of clinically validated, blood-based cancer biomarkers remains an unmet challenge for many common cancers. Better markers would lead to earlier detection, saving lives and cutting down on hospital costs. A new method, the DNA Integrity Assay (DIA) has the potential to accurately discriminate cancerous cells from normal cells for a wide range of cancers, but its clinical acceptance has been limited due to the complexity of the test, sampling errors, and the high cost of the materials, instruments and highly trained personnel needed to run it.

This E-Team is developing a new DIA testing method called smDIA (single molecule assessment of DNA integrity), which has the potential to eliminate errors and reduce the costs associated with the traditional DIA approach. In this method, a patient’s DNA sample (blood, stool, etc.) is transported by a microfluidic device through a sheet of laser beams (Cylindrical Illumination Confocal Spectroscopy), enabling direct analysis of the patient's DNA integrity in a rapid, uniform manner.

KMC Apnea Alert

Northwestern University, 2008 - $20,000

A popular alternative to incubator care for premature infants in developing areas is kangaroo mother care (KMC), a technique in which the infant if kept in a frog-like position on the caregiver’s chest at all times, allowing the caregiver to monitor the infant. While KMC is accepted as an alternative to incubator care by the World Health Organization, premature infants remain at risk for apnea while the caregiver is sleeping and therefore unable to detect an apnea episode. Most apnea detectors do not work with the KMC system.

This E-Team is developing a low-cost, KMC-compatible apnea detection system. The team formed in response to a request from the Karl Bremer Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa for a KMC-compatible apnea monitor and is based on previous coursework over the past two semesters. The device detects apnea by monitoring the typical adbonimal movements of a premature infant while breathing. If there is no breathing for a stretch of time, indicating an apnea episode, the device sets off an alarm. The device is attached to the abdomen using a gentle, double-sided hydrogel adhesive pad that is disposable and replaceable.

Revolutionary Closed System Drug Transfer Device

University of Iowa, 2008 - $18,000

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) estimates that 5.5 million healthcare workers (pharmacists, nurses, technicians, and others) are exposed to toxic chemotherapy pharmaceuticals in the workplace. NIOSH confirms the health risks from these exposures include cancers, liver/kidney damage, infertility, miscarriages, birth defects, and congenital malformations. Independent research shows current products fall short in addressing all the market needs, with many users complaining current devices are: ineffective at eliminating exposure, difficult to use, error-prone, inefficient, and costly.

This E-Team, incorporated as J & J Solutions, is an emerging medical device company that has developed innovative technology to optimize safety, increase efficiency, and reduce the cost of preparing and administering chemotherapy pharmaceuticals. Hospital pharmacies and oncology clinics create a $500 million U.S. market potential, with a current market opportunity near $100 million and growing over 20% annually. The Company has pending patents, working product, proven technology, strong management, and commitments from cancer centers across the country.

RPI's MineWerks: the future of demining?

A team of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute students showcased MineWerks — a groundbreaking, patent-pending detection system that can sense the presence of many dangerous compounds from a distance at the March Madness for the Mind exhibition at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History on March 21. Read more about MineWerks here.

Syndicate content