Time For Student Inventions To Take Center Stage

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Student inventions are popping up all over the nation, and yet they're some of the best kept secrets in science, engineering and social change. With a growing number of colleges and universities offering programs on global impact, it was only a matter of time before student inventors driven be a social mission began developing innovations catering to biomedicial, environmental and transportation needs. 

The NUvention Energy class, a partnership of the Farley Center for Entrepreneurship + Innovation, the McCormick School of Engineering and the Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern, guides students who want to bring together invention plans with business plans. Earlier this month, six teams presented their projects to a panel if judges, and their ingenuity was nothing short of eye-opening for the sustainability sector. 

One of the teams presented a water filter called TriGris, which is designed to get rid of heavy metals left behind by existing products. When sales are underway the creators of the filter plan to send one of their products to an area in the world in need of clean water. 

Another invention called DemandCharge is intended to decrease electrical costs of small and chain restaurants. Using a piece of hardware that would need to be installed in a business, the DemandCharge is designed to regulate the electrical flow, and change it from a "sports car to a Prius." 

To learn more about NUvention Energy and other projects coming out of the class, go here

On March 22, the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA), an education network focused on spotlighting life-changing inventions, will host its 18th annual Open Minds showcase of student invention and innovation in Silicon Valley at The Tech Museum of Innovation. 

"Our goal is to harness the ingenuity of student inventors and help them turn their ideas into innovations with global impact," said Phil Weilerstein, executive director at the NCIIA. 

Some of of the prototypes attendees can expect to see include:

  • Disease Diagnostic Group, a handheld malaria diagnosis device that provides a diagnosis in one minute with one drop of blood from a fingertip (Case Western Reserve University).
  • HMSolution, a water filtration system for the residential market that reduces arsenic and heavy metals concentrations to safe levels and requires little to no maintenance for over ten years (Brown University).
  • Hole Patch, a non-toxic solution for cold-weather pothole repair that is faster, simpler and cheaper than current practices (Case Western Reserve University).
  • Innoblative Designs, a preclinical medical device company dedicated to commercializing a novel technology that will make the treatment of early-stage breast cancer faster, safer, more convenient and less expensive (Northwestern University).
  • JustMilk, a means of administering drugs and nutrients to breastfeeding infants in developing countries via disintegrating tablets (University of California, Berkeley).
  • Rehabtics, a software system for physical rehabilitation using Microsoft's Kinect cameras to track users' motions in real time in an accessible and engaging form of rehabilitation that encourages use and achieves improved patient recovery (Johns Hopkins University).

There has never been a greater time in history to innovate. What global problems would you like to see addressed by student inventors? 


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