A new way for diabetics to test for glucose levels, a concussion-reducing baseball helmet, a new process for creating batteries for electric vehicles, and a device that makes trucks more aerodynamic are among the 10 winning ideas from more than 113 entries in the Fall 2013 Change the World Challenge.
The competition was created in 2005 by entrepreneur Sean O’Sullivan ’85 to support entrepreneurship education and stimulate students to consider ways to change the world. The competition awards a $10,000 prize that will be shared by the winning students and student teams who develop innovative ideas and inventions.
“This competition helps us to identify and encourage some of the most innovative and driven students on the Rensselaer campus,” said Jason Kuruzovich, academic director of the Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship at Rensselaer. “Many Rensselaer graduates have had a positive impact on the world through entrepreneurial efforts and done amazing things—this competition keeps that legacy moving forward.”
Each semester, students involved in the competition select a topic with the potential to improve human life, to which they offer an innovative and sustainable solution. The competition provides a platform for new student ideas, validation and support to continue to develop their ideas, and feedback.
In early June, an additional $5,000 grand prize will be awarded to the team considered to be the “best of the best” from all of the winning entries from the fall 2013 and spring 2014 competitions.
“These entries represent a starting point in what we hope will be an exciting entrepreneurial pathway for many of the winning teams,” Kuruzovich said. “Now that the teams have proven their ability to describe an idea that can change the world, the Severino Center can help give access to mentorship and resources to go out and make that change a reality.”
Logikits is an easy-to-learn snap-fit tile toy that allows elementary school children to build rudimentary computers while building confidence and experience in coding. The mission is to provide a gateway into the fields of engineering. Kevin Lyman ’14, computer systems engineering; Dan Schlegel ’14, computer systems engineering; Jonathan Silvestri ’15, mechanical engineering; Samuel Ellis ’14, mechanical engineering; and Andrew Wright ’13, computer science.
Active Flow Control Device for Increasing Ground Vehicle’s Fuel Efficiency
Decreasing fuel consumption on tractor trailer systems with modular active (air) flow control (AFC) devices that “bend the air,” forcing it to flow in very precise locations, in order to obtain the aerodynamic performance of interest. Daniele Gallardo ’14, Ph.D. candidate in aerospace engineering; David Menicovich ’13, architecture.
GEL-LOCK: Firearm Locking Mechanis
Gel-Lock is a safety locking mechanism enabling firearm owners to keep their guns loaded and accessible but safe from accidental discharge. Timothy Oh ’17, mechanical engineering and design, innovation, and society.
CRASH—Concussion Reducing Airbag Supplemented Helmet
A baseball helmet equipped with an ultrasonic sensor and an active airbag system that calculates when a projectile is moving toward the helmet above a certain speed and activates before the object hits the helmet to reduce the risk of concussion. Ana Da Silva ’14, electrical engineering; Mike Croke ’16, mechanical engineering; Kevin Jones ’14, biomedical engineering; Jichuan Hu ’16, mechanical engineering; Maeve Conway ’17, mechanical engineering; Marcus Lewis ’16, mechanical engineering; and Sophia Maurine Benson ’16, nuclear engineering.
Red Flag System
A precautionary software program to monitor a child’s use of words often associated with symptoms of mental illness; a notification email would be sent to the parents. Deborah Lark ’17, nuclear engineering and mechanical engineering.
Changing How We See Our Blood Sugar
A new way for diabetics to test for glucose levels in their tears by means of a change of color in a contact lens. Krista Glanville ’14, architecture.
A 3-D printing system with educational lessons that empowers young inventors and tinkerers to conceive their own solutions and gadgets, while learning how they are incorporated with complicated engineering systems and real-world projects. Adam Ryason ’14, mechanical engineering.
Stress Monitoring for Better Parenting
Kaelig (which means “loving” in Danish) Stress Monitor helps parents build a more emotional relationship with their baby by understanding the infant’s stress levels through monitoring, notification, and education. Aaron Squier ’13, mechanical engineering and design, innovation, and society; Cary Kaczowka ’13, mechanical engineering and design, innovation, and society.
Enhanced Energy Efficiency Using Thermal
Management in Electronic Devices
A tremendous amount of energy used for lighting ends up dissipating as heat. This innovation designs a unique device for thermal management in electronic devices, potentially making lighting devices more efficient. Hafez Raeisi Fard ’13 Ph.D. candidate in mechanical engineering.
Low-Cost, High-Performance All-Carbon Lithium Ion
Batteries for Electric Vehicles
This team has developed novel electrodes and processes that enable the creation of a “super battery” with improved cost, energy, and power densities when compared with existing battery technologies. This battery potentially has tremendous applications for electric vehicles. Rahul Mukherjee ’15 Ph.D. candidate in mechanical engineering; Eklavya Singh ’15 Ph.D. candidate in mechanical engineering.