2016 Finalists

Meet the students who will compete in Washington D.C., and find out why their inventions stand out among this year’s most inspiring entries.

Undergraduate FINALISTS

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Payam Pourtaheri
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Ameer Shakeel
ENTRY NAME:
AgroSpheres
SCHOOL:
University of Virginia

ADVISOR NAME:
Mark Kester
ENTRY DESCRIPTION:

Own the Harvest

Farmers need pesticides to protect growing crops. But at harvest time, pesticides are a problem. Regulations impose strict waiting periods between pesticide application and harvest, up to 66 days. AgroSpheres are engineered biological particles that degrade residual pesticides on the surface of plants, allowing crops to be safely harvested after just a few hours. This helps farmers avoid crop loss due to unforeseen weather events and at the same time saves the environment from additional pesticides.

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Aonnicha Burapachaisri
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Charles Pan
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Aishwarya Raja
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Chanond Sophonpanich
ENTRY NAME:
Cathecare
SCHOOL:
Columbia University

ADVISOR NAME:
Aaron Kyle
ENTRY DESCRIPTION:

Lighting the Fight Against Infection

Central line catheters provide a direct way to deliver medicines, fluids, or nutrients to patients over an extended period of time, often weeks or months. However, these catheters also make it easier for bacteria to enter the body and are responsible for 240,000 infections every year. Cathecare uses ultraviolet light to continually and automatically sterilize the hub, the most-handled portion of the catheter and the most susceptible to bacterial growth, stopping infections in their tracks.

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Jahrane Dale
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Olachi Oleru
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Ritish Patnaik
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Stephanie Yang
ENTRY NAME:
The cerVIA System
SCHOOL:
Columbia University

ADVISOR NAME:
Katherine Reuther
ENTRY DESCRIPTION:

Smart, Early Cancer Detection

Cervical cancer is very treatable in high-income countries that use laboratory screening tests to identify its early signs. However, the disease still devastates women in low and middle-income countries, where 90 percent of all cervical cancer deaths occur. The cerVIA system uses a camera and algorithm through a smartphone application to enhance the standard visual exam method used in developing countries. It helps to provide more accurate early diagnoses, no lab required.

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Clarisse Hu
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Sarah Lee
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Bailey Surtees
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Serena Thomas
ENTRY NAME:
Cryoablation
SCHOOL:
Johns Hopkins University

ADVISOR NAME:
Nicholas Durr
ENTRY DESCRIPTION:

Cancer Knocked Out Cold

Breast cancer rates are rising in low and middle-income countries, but access to treatment is not. Standard procedures such as lumpectomies or mastectomies are impractical because they require general anesthesia, are expensive, and have lengthy recovery times. With cryoablation, carbon dioxide gas freezes a probe that kills tumor cells, and insertion of this probe requires only local anesthesia, greatly reducing the cost and time of recovery. This treatment is a promising option for women in desperate need.

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Mary Dwyer
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Anushree Sreedhar
ENTRY NAME:
SEAL Fire Extinguishing Ball
SCHOOL:
The Cooper Union

ADVISOR NAME:
Alan Wolf
ENTRY DESCRIPTION:

The Sure-fire Fire Extinguisher

Household fires start quickly and double in size every 60 seconds, leaving little time to find and successfully operate the common red tank-style extinguisher. SEAL is a supplemental, easy-to-use, accessible, and lightweight fire extinguishing ball designed to slow or stop all types of small fires quickly and safely. The device is small, maintenance-free, and attractive enough to keep in plain sight, saving valuable seconds in the event of a fire.

GRADUATE FINALISTS

Andrew Bartynski
Niki Bayat
Jessica Golden
ENTRY NAME:

AesculaGel: Thermally Responsive Hydrogels for Ocular Drug Delivery

SCHOOL:
University of Southern California

ADVISOR NAME:
Mark Humayun
ENTRY DESCRIPTION:

Glaucoma Stopped Without the Drops

In the United States, 120,000 people become blind every year due to glaucoma. Proper treatment can stop the progression of the disease. However, half of all patients are unable to follow the required daily application of eye drops, and correct dosing is challenging. AesculaGel is a sustained drug delivery gel that is inserted directly into a tear duct by a doctor just four times a year. This method ensures more precise dosing and helps to stop vision loss.

John Mohyi
ENTRY NAME:

Bladeless Drone: Ducted Counter-Vortex Radial Impeller Propulsion

SCHOOL:
Michigan State University

ADVISOR NAME:
Paul Jaques
ENTRY DESCRIPTION:

A New Flight Pattern

Rotor blades have propelled our aircraft and helicopters for years. John Mohyi thinks it’s time for an update. His drone replaces blades with closed impeller vanes and captures additional thrust lost in traditional rotor blade systems. Among other applications, this patent-pending technology has the potential to power drones that are safer, quieter, and therefore well-suited to enhance the growing consumer and delivery drone industries.

Brendan Donoghue
Erin Keaney
Jonathan Perez de Alderete
ENTRY NAME:

Nonspec: Adjustable Prosthetics

SCHOOL:
University of Massachusetts Lowell

ADVISOR NAME:
Steven Tello
ENTRY DESCRIPTION:

Building a Better Prosthetic


Freedom from a disability — that’s the power of a prosthetic. However, this freedom can be expensive as prosthetics are often specifically tailored and built for one patient at a time. Nonspec’s adjustable prosthetic system uses standard, mass-producible components that are easily customized to each wearer, and can also “grow” with a child over time. These production innovations could make life-changing prosthetics available and affordable to people in developing nations.

Aaron Blanchard
Kevin Yehl
ENTRY NAME:

Rolosense

SCHOOL:
Emory University

ADVISOR NAME:
Khalid Salaita
ENTRY DESCRIPTION:

DNA-Powered Diagnostics


Rolosense is an entirely new class of DNA machine that turns chemical energy into rolling motion. This molecular vehicle carries a bead just five microns in diameter at speeds 1,000 times faster than previous motors. The speed of the bead through a sample can indicate the presence of a single gene variation or detect a variety of molecules such as lead using a smartphone application. This could make advanced testing for disease and contaminants more efficient in remote areas when it’s needed most.

Heather Hava
Daniel Zukowski
ENTRY NAME:

SmartPOT Powered by AgQ: A.I. for Agriculture

SCHOOL:
University of Colorado

ADVISOR NAME:
Nikolaus Correll
ENTRY DESCRIPTION:

Farming for Mars


Human survival on Earth, Mars, or other planets will require food to be grown on planet. The SmartPOT Powered by AgQ is being tested and refined for Earth applications today to achieve this interplanetary goal. SPOT is a self-monitored, automated growth chamber backed by an artificial intelligence system. These work together to automatically monitor, alert, diagnose, and predict data trends – improving yields and optimizing the plant and human’s health. To broccoli and beyond.

Carl Schoellhammer
ENTRY NAME:

SuonoCalm: Device for the At-Home Rapid Administration of Therapeutics

SCHOOL:
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

ADVISOR NAME:
Robert Langer
ENTRY DESCRIPTION:

Ultrasonic and Ultra-Fast Relief


Over 1.4 million people in the United States suffer from inflammatory bowel disease. Rectal delivery of medication can be an effective treatment but must be retained for hours or even overnight for greatest efficacy, something that is often impossible for patients. SuonoCalm is a device designed to deliver a wide range of medications directly into tissue using low-frequency ultrasound. Tests have shown superior drug absorption, and it takes just one minute.

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  • Collegiate Inventors Competition
  • Invention Project
  • Camp Invention
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