Inside Rensselaer
* Collegiate Inventors To Take on  San Francisco
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Collegiate Inventors To Take on
San Francisco
The National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA) will host its annual March Madness for the Mind showcase of student innovation in San Francisco on March 27 at the Exploratorium® in the Palace of Fine Arts.

The event is an opportunity for the nation’s top Excellence and Entrepreneurship Teams (E-Teams) — collaborating groups of college students, faculty, and industry mentors who have received NCIIA grants — to unveil their inventions to the public, many for the first time. More than 15 E-Teams will display their state-of-the-art innovations during the exhibition, including a team from Rensselaer.

A team from Rensselaer known as OsmoPure is developing a low-cost water purification device for developing countries based on simple membrane filtration technology. While there are a number of water filtration devices being marketed to the poor, many of them don’t work in murky water (they get easily clogged), often require a large energy input in order to work (e.g., hand pumping), and fail to remove all contaminants.

OsmoPure is a compact, cartridge-based, multistage water purification system. To produce potable water, the user fills a plastic bottle with dirty water, screws on the purifier like you would screw on a cap, and squeezes the bottle to dispense clean water. When the filter looks dirty, the user simply shakes the fluid inside to remove debris. The purifiers are meant for plastic bottles that exist currently as rubbish in the target areas, cutting production and distribution costs and creating an environmentally friendly solution to the global water crisis.

“As we know, small businesses are important to the growth of the economy: in adverse economic times, small businesses create jobs and stimulate local economies. By putting ideas into action, these students and their enterprises are laying the foundation for a better tomorrow,” said Phil Weilerstein, executive director of the NCIIA.

In addition to the March 27 public event, Inventors Digest, the nation’s longest-running publication for the inventing culture, has partnered this year with NCIIA to host a video competition between participating E-Teams. The public will be able to vote on their favorite video in advance of March Madness for the Mind on the Inventors Digest Web site. Winner will be announced at the event.

To view the videos and to vote, go to www.inventorsdigest.com/
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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 4, Number 5, March 19, 2010
©2010 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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