An aerial drone safely navigates through a spiraling formation of other drones using a collaborative safety maneuver developed at the Georgia Tech Robotics and Intelligent Systems Lab. Photo by Rob Felt.
The InVenture Prize is one of Georgia Tech’s most successful programs for fostering innovation and entrepreneurship among undergraduates. The annual contest rewards students with cash prizes for inventions that aim to solve society’s biggest problems. This year’s three winning teams created devices that have the potential to protect firefighters, keep athletes safe, and improve water quality.
TRUEPANI developed a water disinfection system for Indian households that won the contest’s $5,000 People’s Choice Award. The system includes a cup with a thin antimicrobial coating that disinfects water by releasing copper ions. The ions disrupt the microbes’ cellular functions and kill them. The cup’s design mimics a shape typically found in rural Indian households. Each cup comes with a similarly coated metal lotus flower, which symbolizes purity. This lotus flower is attached to a chain so it can be placed in the water storage containers popular in homes across India. The main inventors are recent graduates — Samantha Becker, civil engineering, and Shannon Evanchec, environmental engineering — who are participating in Georgia Tech’s Startup Summer program for young entrepreneurs. Photo by Rob Felt
FIREHUD, a device that helps firefighters track their vital signs while fighting fires, won first place and $20,000. A heads-up display attaches to a firefighter’s mask and measures heart and respiratory rates, blood oxygen level, body temperature, external temperature, and other vital signs. Firefighters view this information through the helmet display so they will know whether they are overexerting themselves, which puts them at risk for cardiac arrest. The device, which is about the size of a cell phone, also transmits data about a firefighter’s health to the incident commander, who can view it on a computer through an app. Inventors Zack Braun, a computer engineering major, and Tyler Sisk, an electrical engineering major, are working on the invention through Startup Summer, a 12-week internship for Georgia Tech students and recent graduates who want to launch startups. They are meeting with firefighters interested in the device. Photo by Rob Felt
WOBBLE, an automated balance test to assess athletes following concussions, won $10,000 for finishing in second place. This portable device monitors a player’s balance. When someone steps on top of Wobble’s metal platform, the device moves in random directions, keeping the athlete’s brain guessing. Meanwhile, four sensors in the platform are reading pressure on its surface. As the athlete shifts his balance, Wobble analyzes how well he is reacting to the movement. If his balance differs from that of the baseline test taken before the concussion, he is likely not ready to return to play. The team is preparing for a pilot study this fall with several high schools. The inventors are: Hailey Brown, mechanical engineering; Matthew Devlin, biomedical engineering; Ana Gomez del Campo, biomedical engineering; and Garrett Wallace, biomedical engineering. Photo by Rob Felt
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For Atlanta’s bid for the 1996 Summer Olympics, Georgia Tech helped produce something that had never been part of an Olympic bid proposal before: an interactive 3-D simulation that would allow members of the selection committee to “fly through” the proposed venues.
By increasing the level of a specific microRNA (miRNA) molecule, researchers have restored chemotherapy sensitivity in vitro to a line of human pancreatic cancer cells that had developed resistance to a common treatment drug.