If your entry is selected as one of the year's most outstanding, you'll be named a finalist. We'll provide you with an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. and the extraordinary opportunity to present your idea to our panel of judges at the United States Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, Virginia.
Our judges are the most influential inventors and invention experts in the nation, representing a wide range of fields. Only the Collegiate Inventors Competition can bring you together with judges who are also National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees, including:
Edith Flanigen, D.Sc.
Thomas Fogarty, M.D.
Eric R. Fossum, Ph.D.
Marcian E. (Ted) Hoff, Jr., Ph.D.
Donald B. Keck, Ph.D.
Alois Langer, Ph.D.
Kumar Patel, Ph.D.
Steve Sasson, D.Sc.
James West, D.Sc.
Robert Willson, Ph.D.
In 1956, Edith Flanigen began working on the emerging technology of “molecular sieves,” crystalline microporous structures with large internal void volumes and molecular-sized pores. These compounds have widespread application in the petroleum refining and petrochemical industries.
Thomas Fogarty, M.D.
Patent Number(s) 3,435,826
In 1963, Thomas Fogarty received a patent for his Fogarty® balloon embolectomy catheter, which has since become an industry standard. His catheter revolutionized vascular surgery—it is still the most widely used technique for blood clot removal—and encouraged advances for other minimally invasive surgeries, including angioplasty.
Eric Fossum led the team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory that created a miniaturized camera technology known as the CMOS active pixel sensor camera-on-a-chip. Today, CMOS image sensors are a fixture in imaging.
In the late 1960s, many articles had discussed the possibility of a computer on a chip. However, all concluded that the integrated circuit technology was not yet ready. Ted Hoff was the first to recognize that Intel’s new silicon-gated MOS technology might make a single-chip CPU possible if a sufficiently simple architecture could be developed. Hoff developed such an architecture with just over 2000 transistors.
Corning Glass researchers Robert Maurer, Donald Keck, and Peter Schultz made optical fiber, capable of carrying 65,000 times more information than conventional copper wire, a practical reality.
Alois Langer, Ph.D.
Patent Number(s) 4,202,340
Alois A. Langer was the engineer on the medical team that invented the first automatic implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). This device is implanted in the human body and automatically corrects potentially fatal irregular heartbeat patterns called arrhythmias. It has revolutionized the way doctors treat heart patients, has been implanted in a U.S. vice president, and has saved thousands of lives.
Kumar Patel invented the carbon dioxide laser in the early 1960s while at Bell Labs. Although many types of lasers exist, the CO2 laser is now a common and versatile laser that is highly efficient and has a reasonable cost.
In 1974, Kodak supervisor Gareth Lloyd asked electrical engineer Steve Sasson to investigate whether charge-coupled devices could be used to create an image sensor for a camera. After a year in the laboratory, Sasson created a device that captured an image, converted it to an electronic signal, digitized the signal, and stored the image—the first digital camera.
Patent Number(s) 3,691,140
In 1968, Spencer Silver was a senior scientist working to develop new classes of adhesives at 3M when he discovered an acrylic adhesive with unique properties. It was formed of tiny spheres that provided a pressure-sensitive adhesive with a high level of tack but a low degree of adhesion.
In 1962, James West and Gerhard Sessler patented the electret microphone while working at Bell Laboratories. In the electret microphone, thin sheets of polymer electret film are metal-coated on one side to form the membrane of the movable plate capacitor that converts sound to electrical signals with high fidelity.
While a graduate student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Robert Willson and faculty members Don Bitzer and Gene Slottow suggested making a plasma display as an improvement over traditional displays.
Judges also include the country’s most experienced invention experts and scientists, including representatives from the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the AbbVie Foundation.
Your entry, which must be complete, workable and well-articulated, will be evaluated by our expert judges for originality and for the inventiveness of the concept, process, or technology it represents. Judging is also based on scope of use and potential social, environmental, or economic value to society.