Collegiate Inventors Competition names 2019 finalists

  • September 27, 2019
  • News
Collegiate Inventors Competition names 2019 finalists
Collegiate Inventors Competition names 2019 finalists

September 27, 2019 — The Collegiate Inventors Competition, an annual competition that rewards innovations, discoveries and research by college and university students and their faculty advisers, announced its 2019 finalists.

This year’s finalists and their inventions provide a glimpse into the future of American innovation and emerging technological trends — from alternative energy to safer aerial transport. Through their research, these students have harnessed their “inner inventor” to make working prototypes that can positively change our world.

Each year, individuals representing a broad cross-section of technological fields serve as first-round judges, evaluating entries based on originality of the idea, process, level of student initiative, and potential value and usefulness to society. The finalists will travel to Alexandria, Virginia, to present their inventions to an esteemed panel of final-round judges composed of the most influential inventors and invention experts in the nation — National Inventors Hall of Fame® Inductees and United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) officials.

Competition finalists will showcase their inventions and interact with thousands of attendees at the Collegiate Inventors Competition Expo. The expo is free and open to all in the community, and it will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 30 at 11 a.m. in the USPTO Madison Building, Upper Atrium. A private Awards Ceremony will take place later that day in Alexandria.

Established in 1990, the Collegiate Inventors Competition is a program of the National Inventors Hall of Fame and is sponsored by the USPTO, Arrow Electronics (People’s Choice Award), Merck, Hologic and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.



Compressor-Turbine Fusion, Oklahoma State University

Team Member: Andrew J. Williamson; Adviser: Khaled A. Sallam

A Dynamic Approach to Power: The future of heating and cooling will be determined by our ability to increase efficiency, minimize costs and widely adopt green energy alternatives. Compressor-Turbine Fusion has the potential to achieve each of these goals. Directly integrating a turbine into a compressor within a single device, Compressor-Turbine Fusion increases the efficiency of thermodynamic cycles and power equipment, decreases the production of greenhouse gases and can make alternative energy more competitive with traditional power sources.


PE-IVT (Positively Engaged, Infinitely Variable Transmission Using Split Helical Gears), University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Team Member: Ethan R. Brush; Adviser: Carl Nelson

Driving Efficiency Forward: As demand for electric vehicles rises, so does the need for manufacturers to identify a more suitable transmission. The Positively Engaged, Infinitely Variable Transmission (PE-IVT) represents a new class of transmission that combines the torque of gear-based transmissions with the efficiency of continuously variable transmissions. The PE-IVT operates at 88 to 98% efficiency across all gear ratios, and it could disrupt existing technologies and reduce energy losses across a range of applications and industries.


SecURO, Georgia Institute of Technology

Team Members: Jared Brown, Bailey Eaton, Rachel Mann; Adviser: James Rains

Automatic Stitching, Faster Recovery: Prostate cancer affects one in nine men in the United States. When the prostate must be removed, poor visibility and restricted maneuverability can lead to human error and complications including life-threatening infections. Designed to make this procedure safer, SecURO is a single-use, automatic circular stitching device that places the stitches with the pull of a trigger, eliminating problems associated with hand-stitching. Patients can expect faster recovery times and fewer complications when SecURO is used.




Cubic LEDs, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Team Member: Dicky Liu; Adviser: Can Bayram

A Brighter, Greener Future: LEDs are transforming the lighting industry, but widespread adoption of solid-state lighting is hindered by high upfront costs and green LEDs’ inefficiencies. For brighter, more efficient, more affordable full-spectrum phosphor-free lighting, Cubic LEDs are created on industry-standard silicon substrates nano-patterned with U-shaped grooves to facilitate the growth of pure, defect-free cubic phase gallium nitride. Cubic LEDs are cheaper, more efficient, brighter, produce less heat than conventional lights and LEDs, and can reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emission globally.


Infinite Cooling, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Team Members: Maher Damak, Karim Khalil; Adviser: Kripa Varanasi

Recycling an Essential Resource: Freshwater sources are in great demand as regions fall into drought. Because 39% of all freshwater withdrawals in the United States are attributed to power plants, Infinite Cooling can ionize and collect water from power plants’ cooling towers so it may be reused as industrial and drinking water. If this invention was used in all power plants across the country, it could save as much as 200 billion gallons of water per year.


SALUS (Stabilizing Aerial Loads Utility System), Stanford University

Team Members: Joshua Barnett, Tony Chen, Mahdi Al-Husseini (Georgia Institute of Technology); Advisers: Shivan Amin, Rocco Giustino, Marty Jacobson, Thomas J. Leppert V

Stability on the Rise: When helicopters hoist patients, soldiers or cargo, turbulent winds created by the blades can cause the people or objects lifted from the ground to spin, leading to serious damage or even death. SALUS (Stabilizing Aerial Loads Utility System) is an electromechanical stabilization system that uses flywheel technology for safer aerial transport. This innovative device can stabilize a hoisted load in seconds, significantly reducing the time needed to perform a potentially life-saving aerial hoist.


About the Collegiate Inventors Competition

The Collegiate Inventors Competition encourages and drives innovation and entrepreneurship at the collegiate level. A program of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, this competition recognizes and rewards the research, innovations and discoveries by college students and their advisers for projects leading to inventions that have the potential of receiving patent protection. Introduced in 1990, the competition has awarded more than $1 million to students for their innovative work and scientific achievement through the help of its sponsors.

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