A glimpse into the future of American innovation and emerging technological trends from the nation’s brightest young innovators — from a cerebral aneurysm test to biosensors that rapidly identify marine pathogens and harmful algal blooms — were recognized and honored this week at the 2023 Collegiate Inventors Competition®, an annual competition for college and university students and their advisers.
Finalist teams (five Undergraduate and five Graduate), consisting of 22 students from eight colleges and universities across the United States, presented their inventions to an esteemed panel of final-round judges composed of the most influential inventors and innovation experts in the nation — National Inventors Hall of Fame® Inductees and United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) officials.
“The Collegiate Inventors Competition showcases the next generation of game changers — young inventors who demonstrate an innovative mindset that empowers them to solve the world’s greatest challenges,” said National Inventors Hall of Fame CEO Michael Oister. “These student teams earned the opportunity this week to meet and learn directly from our nation’s greatest innovators — the Inductees of the National Inventors Hall of Fame.”
Established in 1990, the Collegiate Inventors Competition is a program of the National Inventors Hall of Fame and is sponsored by the USPTO, Arrow Electronics (sponsor of the Arrow Electronics People’s Choice Award), and Honda. In addition to cash awards, the winning teams also receive a USPTO Patent Acceleration Certificate.
FIRST-PLACE WINNERS ($10,000 PRIZE)
FADpad, Georgia Institute of Technology
Team Members: Netra Gandhi, Rhea Prem, Ethan Damiani and Girish Hari; Adviser: Wendy Cocke
Accessible, at-home diagnostics: One of the most common diagnostic tools in women’s health, the Papanicolaou test, or Pap smear, is often uncomfortable and regarded as an invasion of privacy, and it is even stigmatized in some cultures. FADpad is an at-home menstrual blood screening tool that allows users to collect their personal health information safely, comfortably and privately. Targeted to users with limited access to the healthcare system, it could help address health disparities and prevent early deaths from cervical cancer among people who menstruate.
Cerebral Aneurysm Test (CAT-7), University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Team Member: Adi Mittal; Advisers: Robert M. Friedlander, Kamil Nowicki
Enabling earlier aneurysm diagnoses: Affecting an estimated 6.7 million people in the U.S., a cerebral aneurysm (CA) can cause neurological problems and can rupture, leading to life-altering or fatal brain bleeds. Diagnosis can be a long process, current tools are invasive, expensive and potentially toxic, and ruptures often occur before diagnosis or treatment. Cerebral Aneurysm Test (CAT-7) is the first simple, whole blood-based diagnostic test to detect the formation of a CA. It is noninvasive, less expensive, more accurate, safer and able to be used earlier in the care process.
RUNNER-UP WINNERS ($5,000 PRIZE)
Bronchosleeve, Johns Hopkins University
Team Members: Sneha Batheja, Ria Jha, Charlie Almoney and Arijit Nukala; Adviser: Brijen Joshi
Supporting safety in surgery: One-lung ventilation (OLV), a procedure that provides surgeons with access to organs obstructed by an inflated lung, is required in 98% of pulmonary and cardiothoracic surgeries. However, current OLV devices have a 40% failure rate and a high probability of causing postoperative complications. The Bronchosleeve is a flexible yet sturdy device presenting many advantages over existing OLV devices. It is easy to insert, won’t dislodge during surgery and aids visualization with a bronchoscope. In addition to addressing disparities and reducing patient injuries, it could decrease surgical time by 40% and save hospitals over $45,000 per procedure.
Entropic Biosciences Inc., University of California, Los Angeles
Team Member: Amir Nasajpour; Adviser: Paul S. Weiss
Assembling cells into functional tissue: Establishing tools for recreating functional human tissues and organs has been a grand challenge in biomedical engineering and healthcare. Entropic Biosciences Inc. has developed a bio-inspired rapid sample preparation kit enabling high-throughput culturing of multiple cell types and rapid self-assembly of these cells into 3D self-standing tissue. This technology can be employed to develop an array of tissue types from numerous cell sources. It enables the development of functional tissue and cancer models at faster rates than current technologies, accelerating life science research and drug screening in addition to working toward individualized treatments for cancer patients.
ARROW ELECTRONICS PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD WINNER ($2,000 PRIZE)
NucleoTide, Duke University
Team Member: Daniel Collins; Adviser: Peter Nguyen
Efficiently monitoring ocean health: Over the past several decades, a combination of natural and human-caused factors has led to an increase in the frequency, duration, size and impact of harmful algal blooms (HABs), with a global economic impact estimated at more than $8 billion annually. NucleoTide is a molecular diagnostic platform that uses CRISPR-based biosensors to rapidly identify marine pathogens and HABs. With a low-cost, hand-held device that filters and processes water samples, it enables lab-free, on-site ocean health monitoring and provides results in less than an hour, offering both economic and environmental benefits.
About the Collegiate Inventors Competition
The Collegiate Inventors Competition encourages and drives innovation and entrepreneurship at the collegiate level. A program of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, this competition recognizes and rewards the research, innovations and discoveries by college students and their advisers for projects leading to inventions that have the potential of receiving patent protection. Introduced in 1990, the competition has featured more than 500 innovators who have created cutting-edge, world-changing inventions, and awarded more than $1 million of support to winning student teams for their innovative work and scientific achievement through the help of its sponsors. For more information, visit invent.org/collegiate-
Photo courtesy of CIC/National Inventors Hall of Fame.
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