NORTH CANTON, Ohio – Nov. 3, 2017 – A glimpse into the future of American innovation and emerging technological trends from the nation’s brightest young inventors — from a bandage to treat chronic wounds, to a device that saves the lives of piglets — were recognized and honored today at the 2017 Collegiate Inventors Competition®, an annual Competition for college and university students and their faculty advisors.
“For students interested in STEM disciplines, innovation and entrepreneurship, a strong understanding of the intellectual property system is critical for success,” said Joseph Matal, performing the function and duties of the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Ofﬁce (USPTO). “We are proud to host this Competition, where the research and innovations of our greatest collegiate inventors are presented to the world.”
Finalist teams (six Undergraduate and six Graduate), consisting of 29 students from 12 colleges and universities across the United States, received an all-expenses-paid trip to the ﬁnal round of the Competition held at the USPTO’s Madison Building in Alexandria, Va. The teams presented their inventions to an esteemed panel of ﬁnal-round judges composed of the most inﬂuential inventors and innovation experts in the nation — National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees and USPTO experts.
“No place on Earth features more world-changing creativity than the Collegiate Inventors Competition Expo and Awards Ceremony,” said National Inventors Hall of Fame CEO Michael Oister. “In celebrating this new generation of trailblazers, we witness great inventors of the future collaborating with the world’s greatest innovators — the Inductees of the National Inventors Hall of Fame.”
Established in 1990, the Collegiate Inventors Competition is a program of the National Inventors Hall of Fame. The Competition is sponsored by the United States Patent and Trademark Ofﬁce, Arrow Electronics, Bridgestone Americas and Skild. The 2017 online application management platform was made possible through the generous support of Skild.
2017 GOLD WINNERS: Undergraduate: SwineTech, The University of Iowa (Arrow Innovation Prize Winner). Team members Matthew Rooda and Abraham Espinoza were awarded $10,000 for their invention SmartGuard, which prevents piglet crushing deaths by their mothers by monitoring the pitch, loudness and duration of squeals, and determining whether a piglet is in distress or just squealing as piglets normally do. When a piglet is in distress, the device sends a vibration to a wearable patch on the mother, prompting her to stand and free her piglet. The team’s advisor is Thomas Hornbeck.
The SwineTech team was also the winner of the Arrow Innovation Prize, chosen by a panel of judges from Arrow Electronics. This exclusive prize advanced the team to the ﬁnal round of judging — all expenses paid — at the competition, and it included a private networking opportunity with a group of innovators from Arrow Electronics — a Fortune 118 global technology-solutions provider.
Graduate: Engineered Probiotics, Boston University. Team member Ning Mao was awarded $10,000 for her invention Engineered Probiotics — an engineered safe bacterium that has the beneﬁt of inhibiting the progression of a cholera infection. This engineered bacterium provides early detection of cholera and helps further contain the spread of the disease. In addition, the technology could be adapted to ﬁght other types of bacterial infections. The team’s advisor is James Collins.
2017 SILVER WINNERS: Undergraduate: AssistENT, Johns Hopkins University. Team members Clayton Andrews, Harrison Nguyen, Talia Kirschbaum and Pooja Nair received $5,000 for their device that aids people experiencing difﬁculty breathing through the nose. This ﬂexible yet stable device is worn completely within the nose, and aids breathing by expanding nasal passages safely, comfortably and discreetly. This invention is intended as an alternative to current treatments such as external adhesive strips or invasive surgery. The team’s advisor is Robert Allen.
Graduate: dAST, California Institute of Technology. Team members Nathan G. Schoepp and Travis S. Schlappi were awarded $5,000 for their invention that reduces the unchecked use of antibiotics. The team’s test enables doctors to make more effective prescriptions where treatment happens: the doctor’s ofﬁce. This test only requires 30 minutes to determine if an infection can be successfully treated with an antibiotic, while traditional methods require multiple days. Having this knowledge improves patient outcomes, and it enables the preservation of these drugs by avoiding over prescribing. The team’s advisor is Rustem Ismagilov.
2017 BRONZE WINNERS: Undergraduate: InMEDBio, University of Virginia. Team members Ashwinraj Karthikeyan and Paco Abiad were awarded $2,500 for their Phoenix-Aid, a ﬁve-layer bandage that meshes the ABCs of chronic wound care — Accelerate healing, Block pathogens and Comfort wound — into one cost-effective product that is ideal for patients in developing countries. The bandage is designed to treat diabetics, who can experience chronic wounds that can take months to heal, and they are prone to infections and other life-threatening complications. The team’s advisor is Bala Mulloth.
Graduate: NextGen Structural Rehab System, West Virginia University. Team member Praveen Kumar Reddy Majjigapu received $2,500 for his invention — a four-part system designed to fortify existing structural joints, extend their service lives, and improve the safety of a structure under extreme loads efﬁciently and economically. Tests have shown that renewed joints can withstand 500 percent more force than unfortiﬁed joints. The team’s advisor is Hota GangaRao.
In addition to the Gold, Silver and Bronze winners, the 2017 Collegiate Inventors Competition People’s Choice Award winner was CerebroSense from the Stevens Institute of Technology. Team members Maria V. De Abreu Pineda, Andrew Falcone and David Ferrara were awarded $1,000 for creating a device using ultrasonic sensing technology to provide safe, non-contact, real-time measurements during open-brain surgeries that can help reduce complications to the patient. The team’s advisor is Vikki Hazelwood.
The Collegiate Inventors Competition encourages and drives innovation and entrepreneurship at the collegiate level. A program of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, this Competition recognizes and rewards the research, innovations and discoveries by college students and their advisors for projects leading to inventions that have the potential of receiving patent protection. Introduced in 1990, the Competition has awarded more than $1 million to students for their innovative work and scientific achievement. For more information, visit invent.org/challenge.