NCIIA Brings Tomorrow’s Start-Ups to Open Minds Showcase
SAN FRANCISCO, March 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — The National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA), an educational nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting and promoting invention and innovation on college and university campuses nationwide, will host its 16th annual Open Minds showcase of student innovation Thursday, March 22 at the Hub Bay Area in San Francisco. The event, which is supported by The Lemelson Foundation and Silicon Valley Bank, will be host to a dozen graduate and undergraduate student teams, who will convene to show off their inventions to the public, many for the first time. Included amongst the projects and prototypes on display will be:
- Stanford University‘s Brilliance, whose innovation is a low-cost, low-maintenance device that uses LED bulbs to deliver phototherapy treatment to treat jaundice in infants in India.
- Two assistive technology wheelchair projects: the Leveraged Freedom Chair, a lever-powered mobility aid for use in developing countries that is made from bicycle components and designed to operate on rough terrain, developed by the Global Resource Innovation and Technology (GRIT), a 501(c)3 organization started at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and IntelliWheels, Inc., a team based at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana working on innovative after-market alterations to wheelchairs that make them easier to operate.
- The University of California, Berkeley, team NextDrop, which leverages the proliferation of mobile phone technology in India to provide rural households with information about the availability of piped water in their area, saving time and improving access to clean water.
- The Integrated Punch Biopsy Kit, conceived by a Johns Hopkins University team, which addresses the many problems and complications caused by conventional punch biopsies by decreasing the need for additional instrumentation, reducing the depth of the biopsy, and improving the quality of the sample.
- The Strong Arm, an elegant form-fitting vest-like lifting aid that makes heavy lifting easier and prevents repetitive stress by keeping the user in the optimal position, developed at Rochester Institute of Technology.
Open Minds is a celebration of the achievements of NCIIA grantees who have successfully competed for early-stage seed funding. Each of the twelve university teams participating in the event are entered into a video competition co-sponsored by Inventor’s Digest magazine. A $1,000 prize will be awarded to the winner live at the Hub event.
“The E-Teams that are selected for Open Minds are on their way to transforming inventive ideas into successful products and ventures,” said Phil Weilerstein, NCIIA Executive Director. “We look forward to watching their future successes.” Indeed, companies like Ecovative Design LLC and Therapeutic Systems are among the over 100 successful ventures that began as NCIIA-supported student teams like those featured in NCIIA’s Open Minds .
Joining the twelve teams at the showcase, with the support of The Lemelson Foundation and Indian-based social incubator Villgro, will be Project Agrow from IIT Bombay in India.
About Open Minds
Open Minds is a part of Open, the NCIIA’s annual conference, which brings together faculty, students, business leaders, and investors to share best practices, lessons learned, ideas, and inspiration each year. Featuring three days of lectures, panels, and workshops, this year’s event will also include a keynote on Friday, March 23, at 12:30 p.m., delivered by educator and serial entrepreneur Steve Blank, developer of the popular Lean LaunchPad approach to accelerated venture development. Lean LaunchPad uses the Customer Development methodology Steve created and teaches at Stanford University, U.C. Berkeley, Columbia University and the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps. “We’re thrilled that Steve could join us this year to share his transformative vision of the future of entrepreneurship education,” added Weilerstein.
Dorothy Lemelson and Carol Dahl of The Lemelson Foundation will also address conference attendees at lunch on March 22, discussing the Foundation’s unique approach to supporting inventors and invention-based enterprises to improve lives in the US and developing countries, while outlining challenges and opportunities for the next generation of inventor-entrepreneurs.
A private Open Minds reception will be held on March 23 at the Exploratorium for conference attendees and members of the media only.
The NCIIA catalyzes positive social and environmental impact through invention and technological innovation by providing funding, training, and mentoring for university faculty and student innovators.
With support from The Lemelson Foundation, the National Science Foundation and a membership of nearly 200 colleges and universities from all over the United States, the NCIIA engages approximately 5,000 student entrepreneurs each year, leveraging their campuses as working laboratories for invention and innovation and incubators for businesses, and ultimately helping them to bring their ideas to market. For more information, please visit http://www.nciia.org.
About The Lemelson Foundation
Established by prolific independent inventor Jerome Lemelson, The Lemelson Foundation is a private philanthropy committed to recognizing and supporting inventors and invention-based enterprises to improve lives, both in the US and in developing countries. It has donated or committed more than $150 million to supporting a pipeline of inventors, inventions and invention-based enterprises that can lead to job creation and a strengthened US economy as well as solve social, environmental and economic problems for the poorest populations in developing countries. The Foundation also works to strengthen the ecosystem that supports inspiring and educating inventors while also helping them to translate their ideas into inventions with impact. For more information, please visit http://www.lemelson.org.
View Social Media Release and Online Media Kit at: http://bit.ly/ztyenf