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|Lally School of Management and Technology|
Boats and lifejackets go hand and hand. Yet, often such floatation gear, required on most boats, gathers dust under the seat instead of being worn as intended because it is bulky and less than appealing.
Recently, four Rensselaer MBA students developed a new type of lifejacket that you may even forget youre wearinguntil you are tossed out of the boat and into the water.
The Float-Tech Personal Flotation Device (Float-Tech PFD) is a lightweight liner that can be zipped into a light, medium, or heavy jacket. The liner inflates automatically when it is immersed in water or when a rip cord is pulled.
The device was developed by Orca Gear, a company formed by Jeffrey Betz 03, Cecilia Domingos 03, Michael Farmer 03, and Michael Lobsinger 03. The students, who invented and wrote the business plan for the Float-Tech PFD, won the Tech Valley Collegiate Business Plan Competition in April. The contest, which was open to all area college students, was sponsored by the Severino Center in Rensselaers Lally School.
Orca Gear, a company that integrates technology into recreational apparel, was awarded $5,000 in cash. It now has the opportunity to receive an additional $20,000 in seed funding and $8,500 in legal counsel as well as patent application services. Additionally, the Severino Center will sponsor the group at Fortune magazines small business plan competition later this year.
Float-Tech PFD originated in Rensselaers Design, Manufacturing, and Marketing course, a class for Lally School MBA students. A patent for the device and certification from the U.S. Coast Guard are both pending.
|Rensselaer Magazine: June 2003|
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