Undergraduate and graduate students honored by National Inventors Hall of Fame

The six winning teams in this year’s Collegiate Inventors Competition ® created inventions ranging from a bandage to treat chronic wounds, to a device that saves the lives of piglets.

The competition, a program of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, is sponsored by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Arrow Electronics, Bridgestone Americas and Skild. The 2017 online application management platform was made possible through the generous support of Skild.

Gold winners: Undergraduate—Swine Tech team, University of Iowa (Arrow Innovation Prize Winner). Matthew Rooda and Abraham Espinoza were awarded $10,000 for their invention SmartGuard, which prevents piglets from being crushed to death by their mothers through monitoring the pitch, loudness and duration of squeals and determining whether a piglet is in distress. Swine Tech also won the Arrow Innovation Prize, chosen by Arrow Electronics. This advanced the team to the final round of judging—all expenses paid—at the competition, and included a private networking opportunity with a group of innovators from Arrow Electronics. Team adviser: Thomas Hornbeck.

Graduate—Engineered Probiotics, Boston University. Ning Mao won $10,000 for her engineered safe bacterium that inhibits the progression of cholera infection. Team adviser: James Collins.

Silver winners: Undergraduate—AssistENT, Johns Hopkins University. The team of Clayton Andrews, Harrison Nguyen, Talia Kirschbaum and Pooja Nair won $5,000 for their device that aids people experiencing difficulty breathing through the nose. This flexible yet stable device, worn completely within the nose, helps breathing by expanding nasal passages safely, comfortably and discreetly. Team adviser: Robert Allen.

Graduate—dAST, California Institute of Technology. The invention by Nathan G. Schoepp and Travis S. Schlappi won $5,000 for a test that reduces the unchecked use of antibiotics. It enables more effective prescriptions at the doctor’s office. The test requires only 30 minutes to determine whether an infection can be successfully treated with an antibiotic; traditional methods require multiple days. Team adviser: Rustem Ismagilov.

Bronze winners: Undergraduate—InMEDBio, University of Virginia. Team members Ashwinraj Karthikeyan and Paco Abiad won $2,500 for their Phoenix-Aid, a five-layer bandage that integrates the ABCs of chronic wound care—Accelerate healing, Block pathogens and Comfort wound—into one cost-effective product that is ideal for patients in developing countries, as well as for diabetics. Team adviser: Bala Mulloth.

Graduate—NextGen Structural Rehab System, West Virginia University. Praveen Kumar Reddy Majjigapu won $2,500 for his invention: a four-part system designed to fortify existing structural joints, extend their service lives and improve the safety of a structure under extreme loads efficiently and economically. Team adviser: Hota GangaRao.

The People’s Choice Award winner was CerebroSense from the Stevens Institute of Technology. Team members Maria V. De Abreu Pineda, Andrew Falcone and David Ferrara were awarded $1,000 for creating a device via ultrasonic sensing technology to provide safe, non-contact, real-time measurements during open-brain surgeries to help reduce complications to the patient. Team adviser: Vikki Hazelwood.