2015 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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Kevin Eisenfrats
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Adam Ewel
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Catherine Henry
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Nicolas Hogan
ENTRY NAME:
Contraline: Non-Surgical, Hormone-Sparing Contraceptive for Male Cats and Dogs
SCHOOL:
University of Virginia

ADVISOR NAME:
John Herr
ENTRY DESCRIPTION:

A “No-Snip” Pet Contraception

Contraline is a novel, non-surgical way to neuter your cat or dog. A polymer gel with microbubbles is injected to block sperm flow. These bubbles make the gel visible with an ultrasound device, thus helping veterinarians insert the gel and also check its status during future visits. The procedure requires no general anesthesia and is easily reversible.

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Jay Fraser
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Kathryn Kundrod
ENTRY NAME:
Cyclic Solutions: Viral Diagnostic Technology
SCHOOL:
Lehigh University

ADVISOR NAME:
Xuanhong Cheng
ENTRY DESCRIPTION:

The Incredible Shrinking Laboratory

Effective HIV treatment begins with knowing how much virus is in the blood. Current tests require a laboratory and trained technicians, which are rare in resource-limited settings where a majority of the 35 million people infected with HIV live. Cyclic Solutions has developed an inexpensive “lab on a chip” for this purpose that will be able to bring the lab to the patient, improving access to life-saving information.

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Neil Davey
ENTRY NAME:
Early Cancer Diagnosis by the Detection of Circulating Tumor Cells using Drop-based Microfluidics
SCHOOL:
Harvard University

ADVISOR NAME:
Huidan Zhang
ENTRY DESCRIPTION:

A Drop of Blood Joins the Fight Against Cancer

Early and accurate diagnoses of cancer can positively affect survival rates. The best method now is 1) knowing that a tumor exists and 2) having it biopsied, which is invasive and often dangerous. Neil Davey has plans to change that. He has devised a technology that can detect and isolate tumor cells that circulate in the body using a simple blood sample.

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Katherine Jin
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Jason Kang
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Kevin Tyan
ENTRY NAME:
Highlight: Powdered Additive for Disinfectants
SCHOOL:
Columbia University

ADVISOR NAME:
Aaron M. Kyle
ENTRY DESCRIPTION:

The New Standard for Decontamination

It is standard healthcare practice to use bleach sprays for disinfecting surfaces. However, bleach sprays have several flaws that allow for transmission of disease. Highlight is a powdered additive that is mixed into disinfectants at point-of-use and improves the process of decontamination by visualizing coverage of sprayed surfaces, preventing beading and dripping, and slowing evaporation. All are critical factors for maximizing the effectiveness of disinfectants, making for a safer environment.

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Joseph Barnett
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Stephen John
ENTRY NAME:
NeoVent: Dual Pressure Respiratory Equipment
SCHOOL:
Western Michigan University

ADVISOR NAME:
Peter Gustafson
ENTRY DESCRIPTION:

Bubble Power

The NeoVent is an adaptor that transforms a low-tech infant respiratory device into one that provides the additional benefits of a ventilator at much less expense. It temporarily traps the exhaust bubbles of the original device to produce the alternating levels of airway pressure recommended for the newborns who need the most help breathing. The invention could help hundreds of thousands in poverty-stricken areas.

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Justin Keenan
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Kevin Paroda
ENTRY NAME:
Qthrough: Automated 3D Printer Build Plate
SCHOOL:
Penn State University

ADVISOR NAME:
Sven Bilen
ENTRY DESCRIPTION:

3D Printing: “The Wait” is Over

Printing in three dimensions is so 21st Century, but for the people involved, it can feel very 17th. Objects can only be printed one at a time, and a person must wait and remove each one by hand before the next one can begin. Qthrough is a conveyer belt that uses a thin roll of plastic held in place by a vacuum. The objects are printed onto this plastic, which is automatically advanced, allowing for continuous printing. This add-on invention is compatible with 70% of printers on the market today.

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Malvi Hemani
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Melissa Lin
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Kunal Patel
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Huilei Wang
ENTRY NAME:
TocoTrack: Low-Cost Uterine Contraction Monitor
SCHOOL:
Johns Hopkins University

ADVISOR NAME:
Robert H. Allen
ENTRY DESCRIPTION:

A Midwife’s Best Friend

The activities of a doctor, nurse, and medical tracking equipment in the U.S. are often the job of a midwife in a low-income country. TocoTrack automates the time-consuming but essential process of monitoring contractions so a midwife who, on average, cares for four mothers at a time, can more efficiently diagnose complications before they become life-threatening.

GRADUATE FINALISTS

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David Kolesky
ENTRY NAME:

3D Bioprinting Vascularized Human Tissue

SCHOOL:
Harvard University

ADVISOR NAME:
Jennifer Lewis
ENTRY DESCRIPTION:

Bioprinting Breakthrough

A 3D printer has been used to build human tissue and the blood vessels to keep it alive for the first time. This method could create skin to be used in grafts, allow for in vitro drug testing before clinical trials, and generate different types of tumors to study their growth and reactions to treatments. The possibilities are endless and game-changing.

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Stafford Sheehan
ENTRY NAME:

Corrosion-Resistant Molecular Coatings

SCHOOL:
Yale University

ADVISOR NAME:
Aaron Bloomfield
ENTRY DESCRIPTION:

An Element of Safety

Iridium is the most corrosion-resistant metal, and one of the rarest elements on Earth, making it impractical for use on a large scale. This process creates an ultra-thin layer of an iridium-containing molecule that can be bonded onto other metals and metal oxides. Oil, gas, and chemical industries will benefit from this more cost-efficient technology, where stopping corrosion is crucial for safe operations.

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Georgios Katsikis
ENTRY NAME:

FluidBits: Synchronous Droplet Logic and Control

SCHOOL:
Stanford University

ADVISOR NAME:
Manu Prakash
ENTRY DESCRIPTION:

Computing H₂O

A new kind of computing has been built upon a drop of water. Computers electrically move bits of information, but FluidBits magnetically move small drops of water that are able to carry other materials. The invention makes it possible to very quickly conduct laboratory tests on samples from a pre-programmed hand-held device, making important tests more accessible for those in remote areas.

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Cassidy Blundell
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Nicholas Perkons
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Jeongyun Seo
ENTRY NAME:

Human Blinking “Eye-on-a-Chip”

SCHOOL:
University of Pennsylvania

ADVISOR NAME:
Dongeun (Dan) Huh
ENTRY DESCRIPTION:

Eye Simulator

It took a variety of complex techniques to create a model that mimics the most important features of the eye’s structure and functionality. The inventors of the “eye-on-a-chip” have achieved their goal of offering a humane way to test the effects of drugs, chemicals, cosmetics, and environmental pollutants on the eye, tests that are currently limited to costly, lengthy, and controversial animal experiments.

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Xisen Hou
ENTRY NAME:

Molecularly Encrypted Fluorescent Security Inks

SCHOOL:
Northwestern University

ADVISOR NAME:
J. Fraser Stoddart
ENTRY DESCRIPTION:

Inks of a Smarter Color

There are new inks to outsmart counterfeiters. The fluorescent colors can span the entire rainbow spectrum, are difficult to reverse-engineer, and can change color with a light wipe of water. These advanced inks can be invisibly printed on currency, documents, and product labels and easily authenticated by a consumer with a smart phone. What’s more, they can be applied with a standard inkjet printer.

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Dimitra Emmanouilidou
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Ian McLane
ENTRY NAME:

Programmable Electronic Stethoscope: Improved Lung Sound Analysis

SCHOOL:
Johns Hopkins University

ADVISOR NAME:
James E. West
ENTRY DESCRIPTION:

Easy on the Ears

The stethoscope, that time-honored medical device, is due for an upgrade. This version uses six microphones, like those found in your cell phone, to hear and interpret heart and lung sounds. An additional microphone records external sounds so they can be removed from the analysis, making it much more effective in noisy settings like crowded clinics or ambulances.

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Sangyoon Han
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Tae Joon Seok
ENTRY NAME:

SWAPS (Silicon Waveguide Array Photonic Switch)

SCHOOL:
University of California, Berkeley

ADVISOR NAME:
Ming C. Wu
ENTRY DESCRIPTION:

An Energy-Efficient Cloud

While we might be saving trees because the need to print photos and documents has declined, “the cloud” is growing fast, and storing and accessing files or websites does consume energy. The SWAPS, a thumb-sized gadget, allows for full use of a data center’s bandwidth capacity by actively re-arranging the network pattern of “the cloud.”

  • National Inventor's Hall of Fame
  • Collegiate Inventors Competition
  • Invention Project
  • Camp Invention
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