PionEar team members Michael Kreder and Nicole Black speak on stage with Anthony Scardino, USPTO chief financial officer, after winning the Graduate Division gold medal Nov. 16 at the 2018 Collegiate Inventors Competition.
“The research and innovations of our greatest collegiate inventors will lead our nation to ever higher achievements.” —USPTO Director Andrei Iancu
From a steerable microcatheter to a reusable UV-radiation-measuring sensor, it was a glimpse into the future of American innovation as the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office hosted the 2018 Collegiate Inventors Competition, an annual competition for college and university students and their faculty advisors.
Held Nov. 16 in the atrium of the USPTO’s Madison Building, finalist teams consisting of 29 students from 11 colleges and universities participated in the final round of the competition for undergraduate and graduate students.
“We stand on the cusp of truly historic times for science and technology,” said Andrei Iancu, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and director of the USPTO. “The USPTO is proud to host this Competition. The research and innovations of our greatest collegiate inventors will lead our nation to ever higher achievements.”
The finalist teams — five undergraduate and six graduate — presented their inventions to a panel of final-round judges composed of National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees and USPTO officials.
“The Collegiate Inventors Competition showcases the process of invention in our nation’s greatest young innovators,” said National Inventors Hall of Fame CEO Michael Oister. “[They] are leading through creative thinking, problem solving and determination.”
2018 GOLD WINNERS
Undergraduate: Rhino, Massachusetts Institute of Technology — Rhino is a masonry tool attachment that can be used with any traditional rotary hammer. It improves accuracy and safety of joint raking, allowing masons to cover 50 percent more area during a given time.
Graduate: PionEar, Harvard University — PionEar uses a bioinspired combination of 3-D printed designs and a liquid-infused material to combat ear infections with the goal of reducing unnecessary revision surgeries to replace failed ear tubes.
2018 SILVER WINNERS
Undergraduate: Radiex, Johns Hopkins University — Radiex allows brain surgeons to access the brain through the smallest point of entry. Once in place, Radiex has the flexibility to gradually expand, increasing the surgeon’s area of visibility without added pressure to tissue.
Graduate: Neurotendo, University of California at San Diego — Neurotendo, the winner of the competition’s People’s Choice Award, addresses the need for a controlled approach to navigation of brain arteries and treatment of cerebral aneurysms with a steerable microcatheter that translates a neurosurgeon’s command into the motion of the catheter tip.
2018 BRONZE WINNERS
Undergraduate: CropDoc, Brown University — Using advanced optics and processing techniques, CropDoc provides farmers with actionable insights regarding the location and projected progression of pests and specific crop diseases — weeks before visual symptoms manifest.
Graduate: OSPRI, Case Western Reserve University — Optimized Solar Purification with a Reusable Indicator, or OSPRI, was developed to address the need of low-cost clean water in the developing world. It is a reusable UV-radiation-measuring sensor that changes color to notify a user that the treated water is safe to drink.
A program of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, the Collegiate Inventors Competition recognizes the research, innovations and discoveries by college students and their advisors for projects leading to inventions that have the potential of receiving patent protection. Introduced in 1990, the competition has awarded more than $1 million to students for their scientific achievements through competition sponsors Arrow Electronics, LYCRA, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, and Bridgestone Americas Inc.
For complete results and information on the finalist teams, visit www.invent.org/challenge.