Some of Georgia Tech’s best and brightest entrepreneurs will compete for a $15,000 cash prize and a free patent filing at an invention contest Tuesday night.
It’s part of the Fourth Annual InVenture Competition at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Six finalist teams will be presented to and judged by a panel of experts.
There is creative genius behind the six teams and their inventions, but what sets this competition apart from others, is the spirit of entrepreneurship.
Medieval torture device is the first thing that comes to mind when you see this retractable metal vise that involves a lot of… blood and bone breaking:
"Right now, when they first insert the device, it can crack the collarbone and during the surgery there is excessive bleeding."
That’s Priya Patil, a Biomedical Engineering student at Georgia Tech. She’s part of the Cardiac Tech team, one of the six groups competing for the Inventure Prize. They’ve designed a chest retractor prototype for bypass surgery -- it keeps the chest open so doctors can get to the heart.
"The current device opens in a parallel manner, and it opens up too wide, and these will open at an angle."
A cardiac surgeon had explained that problem to Priya’s team, so they designed a chest retractor that adjusts its pressure depending on the patient. Biomedical engineering student Mathew Lee explains:
"So you could have an elderly patient where their chest opens easily, compared to someone young where it might be very difficult to open that."
Nothing medieval about this modern technology -- from the operating table to the drawing board.
"We have the styli, it’s a capacitative pen like device for touch screens."
Matthew Stoddard designed a touch screen pen that works by conducting the electricity from your body to the screen. They’re already in talks to incorporate their device into Adobe software:
"We’ve got a very fine line and a much finer tip on this stylus than anything else that’s out there right now normally they have these big squishy tips that work the same as your finger."
Raymond Vito is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at GA Tech and has been mentoring Inventure teams for the last four years:
"I think the quality of the ideas gets better and better and better. I mean, we in the earlier years were pretty sure who was going to win and who was not going to win, this year I could not tell you, I could not even come close to telling you who’s going to win."
These are the rockstars of college entrepreneurs...And rockstars are exactly who inspired Brad Keller and his team.
"Our inspiration was the band Muse. On one of their guitars they have a chaos pad on their guitar.
It takes in audio from your guitar, processes it with software that we wrote and it also tracks where you touch on the screen and controls different parameters of the effects"
Effects are also what Elizabeth LeMar and Daphne Vincent are measuring with their invention—the Re-hand, a rehabilitation device for a wide range of patients—from people suffering from arthritis to hand injuries and even stroke victims. Their prototype looks like the joystick for a video game…and it kind of is.
"As I push down on the buttons, the helicopter moves up and as I let go of the buttons, the helicopter moves down, and that’s the motion people need for hand rehabilitation, just the squeezing and letting go, the constant movement and that’s what our device does."
No matter who walks away with that 15 thousand dollar prize Tuesday night, there’s a feeling that -- to quote that Muse song:
"We will be victorious!"