Spring 2012 Change the World Challenge
From wind power generation to health monitoring to lighting efficiency and helping combat veterans readjust, Rensselaer students combined their knowledge, imagination, and effort to develop winning ideas in the Office of Entrepreneurship’s semi-annual Change the World Challenge.
Created by Rensselaer’s 2011 Entrepreneur of the Year, Sean O’Sullivan ’85, to support entrepreneurship education and stimulate ideas to improve the human condition, the competition provides a $10,000 cash prize pool. The pool is shared by winning students and student teams who develop innovative ideas and inventions with the potential to make the world a better place.
“The ultimate goal of the competition is to encourage students to further develop, patent, and fully realize their winning ideas into life-changing inventions and technologies,” said Rob Chernow, vice provost for entrepreneurship and chair of the competition.
The spring competition received entries representing the ideas of more than 100 students. “The quality and thoroughness of this semester’s entries was by far the best I have seen in more than five years,” added Chernow. The challenge criteria seek solutions that will improve safety, security, energy, water, or health issues.
Because the Change the World Challenge has helped to validate their ideas, many students continue to develop their ideas and have won other national and international competitions. In early June, a $5,000 grand prize will be awarded to one “best of the best” entry from the fall 2011 and spring 2012 competitions.
The winning ideas from the spring 2012 semester cover a range of innovative devices, processes, and technologies. “As always, many of the winning entries reflect ideas that the students have worked on for a while and for which they have developed well-articulated and visually interesting proposals,” said Chernow. Following are the winning ideas:
- Advanced Composites Manufacturing: A patent-pending, faster molding process for Specialized Elastomeric Tooling to create composite parts with dramatic reductions in cost, energy consumption, and waste. Casey Hoffman ’12 and Jaron Kuppers ’12.
- Adept Advancements: A patent-pending technology that enables ultrasonic communication and power delivery through thick metallic barriers for such applications as wireless data transfer in marine, oil pipeline and telecommunications operations. Jonathan Ashdown ’12, Kyle Wilt ’12, and Anthony DeMaio ’12.
- Asthma Relief App: An application that pairs a smartphone with a breathing flow meter to create a monitoring and diagnostic tool to help asthma patients and their doctors track data, attack triggers, and provide warnings to help prevent attacks. Katrine Vind Tipsmark Poulsen ’12.
- Integrated Lighting System: A system combining adjustable overhead lighting, software, and motorized reflective window blinds to control, balance, and optimize sunlight and artificial light for energy efficiency in commercial, office, and institutional buildings. Erik Dykstra ’15, Dylan Hasson ’14, Paul Mier ’14, Isaac Park ’14, Kevin Turner ’14, and Greg Wilson ’14.
- Interactive Health Wristband: A wearable device with sensors to record, monitor, analyze, and display a person’s vital health signs, such as blood pressure, heart rate and temperature to permit people to better care for themselves. Jason Bernotsky ’15.
- LungSmart Spirometer: A measurement and therapeutic system to help people with chronic lung/pulmonary illnesses. It integrates a smartphone or computer and an incentive spirometer to test critical parameters and to provide graphics, games, and exercises to help patients rehab. Alec Rudd ’13.
- Sana Medication Management: A sophisticated device that loads, organizes, stores, and dispenses medications in proper doses at proper times for the elderly. It would also offer the opportunity to be linked with pharmacists and caregivers to ensure medications are being taken on schedule. Matthew Hanson ’13 and Aaron Squier ’13.
- Seeing iDog: An interactive app that converts a smartphone into a “vision” device for visually impaired people with speech instructions based on GPS, mapping, image recognition, and distance measurement technologies. Eric Amaral ’12.
- Soldiers and Strays Service Dogs: A new approach to helping PTSD-affected veterans re-adapt emotionally and psychologically. It places shelter dogs with veterans in a setting where they personally train the dogs with guidance from professional trainers at a dedicated facility at a fraction of the traditional service dog costs. William Ziomek ’12.
- Wind Farm Centralized Generator: A new architecture/model for capturing and optimizing wind power through a central hydraulic generator system. It significantly simplifies the construction, maintenance, and costs of multi-turbine wind farms. Gregory Pitner ’12, Alex Worcester ’12, Desiree Phillips ’12, Robert Pearson ’12, and Julio Rodriguez ’12.