2015 Collegiate Inventors Competition to be Held November 16


The country's rising tech innovators will present their prototypes at the Collegiate Inventors Competition (CIC) to be held November 16 in Alexandria, Virginia. Competition finalists will showcase their inventions and meet with thousands of USPTO patent and trademark examiners, sponsors, media, and the public at the CIC Expo on November 17 at the USPTO Madison Building Auditorium from 3-5 pm with an Awards Ceremony immediately following.

The Collegiate Inventors Competition, established in 1990, recognizes undergraduate and graduate students for their inventions, encouraging innovation, entrepreneurship, and creativity. Sponsored by the United States Trademark and Patents Office (USPTO) and AbbVie Foundation, the CIC is a program of the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Finalists representing a broad range of tech fields will travel to Alexandria, Virginia to present their inventions to a panel of final round judges, comprised of the most influential inventors and innovations experts in the nation, National Inventors Hall of Fame inductees, USPTO experts, and AbbVie scientists.

"The USPTO is proud to host the 2015 Collegiate Inventors Competition," said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO, Michelle K. Lee. "Each year, these emerging innovators transform their ideas into solutions for real world problems. They are an inspiration to those of us committed to promoting innovation and the value of intellectual property."

Mo Rocca, Emmy winning CBS Sunday Morning correspondent and Host of The Henry Ford's Innovation Nation, will host the Collegiate Inventors Competition Awards Ceremony during which the winners will be announced. The top undergraduate winner will receive $12,500 and the top graduate winner will receive $15,000. Second and third place winners will also be recognized with cash and prizes.

Mo Rocca:

I am honored to be hosting the 2015 Collegiate Inventors Competition Awards Ceremony. If only this contest had existed when I was in college, then my own pioneering work in procrastination would surely have been recognized. I guess it's too late for me to apply ... right? The innovative ideas these students are presenting allow us to peer into the future of our country and see firsthand the starting point of phenomenal breakthroughs that are sure to have a positive impact on society.

Follow the Collegiate Inventors Competition on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Periscope for live updates, exclusive interviews with Finalists and winners, real-time announcements and additional information. All Expo attendees are encouraged to post a comment, photo or video and tag #CICExpo.


Kevin Eisenfrats, Amanda Elfman, Adam Ewel, Nicolas Hogan
University of Virginia
Invention: Contraline: Non-Surgical, Hormone-Sparing Contraceptive for Male Cats and Dogs
Contraline is a new, non-surgical way to neuter your cat or dog. A polymer gel with microbubbles is injected into the sperm duct to block flow. These bubbles make the gel visible with a handheld ultrasound device, which helps veterinarians insert the gel and also check its status during future visits. The procedure requires no anesthesia and is easily reversible.
Advisor: John Herr

Jay Fraser, Kathryn Kundrod
Lehigh University
Invention: Cyclic Solutions: Viral Diagnostic Technology
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 developing countries where 95% of the 35 million people infected with HIV live. Cyclic Solutions has developed an inexpensive, easy to use "lab on a chip" that brings the lab to the patient, improving access to life-saving information.
Advisor: Xuanhong Cheng

Neil Davey
Harvard University
Invention: Early Cancer Diagnosis by the Detection of Circulating Tumor Cells using Drop-based Microfluidics
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.
Advisor: Huidan Zhang

Justin Keenan, Kevin Paroda
Penn State University
Invention: Qthrough: Automated 3D Printer Build Plate
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.
Advisor: Sven Bilen

Katherine Jin, Jason Kang, Kevin Tyan
Columbia University
Invention: Highlight: Powdered Additive for Disinfectants
It is standard healthcare practice to use bleach as a disinfectant. However, with diseases like Ebola spreading easily, bleach needs to get better. Highlight is a powdered additive that is mixed into bleach and improves it by making it visible when sprayed on surfaces, preventing beading and dripping, and slowing evaporation. All are critical factors in maximizing its effectiveness, making for a safer environment.
Advisor: Aaron Kyle

Joseph Barnett, Stephen John
Western Michigan University
Invention: NeoVent: Dual Pressure Respiratory Equipment
NeoVent is a $25 attachment that transforms a low-tech, low-cost infant respiratory device into one that provides the additional benefits of a ventilator that can cost thousands. 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 thousands in poverty-stricken areas.
Advisor: Peter Gustafson

Malvi Hemani, Melissa Lin, Kunal Patel, Huilei Wang

Johns Hopkins University
Invention: TocoTrack: Low-Cost Uterine Contraction Monitor
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.
Advisor: Robert Allen


David Kolesky
Harvard University
Invention: 3D Bioprinting Vascularized Human Tissue
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.
Advisor: Jennifer Lewis

Stafford Sheehan
Yale University
Invention: Corrosion-Resistant Molecular Coatings
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. Oil, gas, and chemical industries will benefit from this more cost-efficient technology, where stopping corrosion is crucial for safe operations.
Advisor: Aaron Bloomfield

Georgios Katsikis
Stanford University
Invention: FluidBits: Synchronous Droplet Logic and Control
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.
Advisor: Manu Prakash

Cassidy Blundell, Nicholas Perkons, Jeongyun Seo

University of Pennsylvania
Invention: Human Blinking 'Eye-On-A-chip'
It took a variety of complex techniques to create a model that mimics the most important features of the eye's structure, functionality, and surface. The inventors of the "eye-on-a-chip" have achieved their goal of offering a humane way to test the effects of chemicals, cosmetics, and environmental factors on the eye, tests that are currently limited to costly, lengthy and controversial animal experiments.
Advisor: Dongeun Huh

Xisen Hou
Northwestern University
Invention: Molecularly Encrypted Fluorescent Security Inks
There is a new ink to outsmart counterfeiters. The colors can span the entire spectrum, are difficult to reverse-engineer, and will 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.
Advisor: J Fraser Stoddart

Dimitra Emmanouilidou, Ian McLane
Johns Hopkins University
Invention: Programmable Electronic Stethoscope: Improved Lung Sound Analysis
The stethoscope, that time-honored medical device, is due for an upgrade. This version uses microphones, like those found in your cell phone, to hear and interpret heart and lung sounds. One of the five microphones records external sounds so they can be removed from the analysis, making it much more effective in noisy settings like crowded clinics or ambulances.
Advisor: Jim West (National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductee, 1999)

Sangyoon Han, Tae Joon Seok
University of California, Berkeley
Invention: SWAPS (Silicon Waveguide Array Photonic Switch)
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 system of data transfer is designed to be more efficient to manufacture, require less physical space, reduce energy use, and maximize bandwidth capacity. Carry on, selfie addicts.
Advisor: Ming Wu