Rensselaer inventors and innovators were awarded three of the top four student prizes at the CTT Innovation Conference recently held in Boston, Mass.Presented by Competitive Technologies (CTT), a full-service technology transfer and licensing provider, the competition afforded university students the opportunity to showcase their technological breakthroughs to a panel of judges in order to compete for cash prizes.
The $15,000 gold prize was won by Rensselaer alumni Eben Bayer ’07 and Gavin McIntyre ’07. The pair has developed an environmentally friendly organic insulation made from waste agricultural materials, water, and mushrooms. The organic insulation could replace the traditional foam insulations in homes, which require petroleum for production and are not biodegradable.
The $10,000 silver prize was awarded to Design, Innovation, and Society students Sarah DiNovo and Louis Martinelli for their invention, “Smart Badge.” A next-generation law enforcement badge, the technology incorporates a variety of electronic safety features, including a camera, global positioning chip, and an officer’s radio into a wearable badge. Both DiNovo and Martinelli will graduate from Rensselaer this year.
A $5,000 bronze prize was awarded to junior mechanical engineering student Ben Robertson for his GeoFridge project, a novel technique to remove the heat that is generated as a byproduct of refrigeration. Resulting refrigeration units would be better performing, have lower operating and maintenance costs, and a better lifespan.
The top prize given at the competition, the $25,000 DaVinci Prize, was awarded to Brian Furmanski, a graduate student at the University of South Carolina, for his innovative new cancer therapy.
Beyond monetary prizes, student innovators who participated in the CTT Innovation Conference received mentoring from industry leaders as well as university faculty and administrators.
Twelve teams of Rensselaer students from Inventor’s Studio, Introduction to Engineering Design (IED), and Design, Innovation, and Society (DIS) design studios participated in the competition under the guidance of Burt Swersey, mechanical, aerospace, and nuclear engineering lecturer and DIS faculty member.
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