The InVenture Prize @ Georgia Tech Names Finalists

Georgia Public Broadcasting to Air Finals on March 17 at 7 p.m.

Eight finalists have been named to compete for the InVenture Prize @ Georgia Tech. Students will present their inventions during a live Georgia Public Broadcasting show hosted by Miles O’Brien and Bahareh Azizi and televised from Georgia Tech’s Robert Ferst Center for the Arts on March 17 at 7 p.m.

The InVenture Prize is an innovation competition for undergraduate students at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Students work independently or in teams on inventions that will be presented and judged by a panel of experts.  

The eight finalists and their 22 inventors are:

  • EEG Brainwave Analysis Headset (A device to prevent drowsy driving): Ganesh Mulayil Nair, Aerospace Engineering (AE), New York, NY; Neil Shah, Biomedical Engineering (BME), Norwood, NJ; Robert Thomas Lindemann, AE, Yorktown, VA; Brandon Michael Fox, BME, Atlanta; and Rohan Trivedi, BME, Haymarket, VA; 
  • FandomU (A computer program that connects people in interest-based collectives): Christopher Stuckey, Computer Science, Greenville, SC; 
  • Multifunction Automobile Powered Pump (A device for water access in the developing world): Stephen Cazayoux, Mechanical Engineering (ME), Roswell, GA; Costantine Polizos, ME, Atlanta; Hugh Linton, ME, Black Mountain, NC; Daniel Henyu Lin, ME, Atlanta; Denise Elaine Hewes, ME, Atlanta; and Simon Clark, ME, Columbus, GA; 
  • Drum Tuning Device: Sarah Vaden, AE, Huddleston, VA; 
  • The Express Press (A French press coffee maker that prevents bitter coffee): Joyce Zou, Industrial Design, Alpharetta, GA; 
  • The Flash Card Organizing System: Quinn Lai, ME, Hong Kong; 
  • The Koozie Cooler (Portable beverage cooler): Robert Gillan, ME, Coral Springs, FL; Nicole Danielle Miller, ME, Canton, GA; Matthew Hickey, ME, Lawrenceville, GA; Lindsay Brandino, ME, Alpharetta, GA; Matthew Edward Kinsel, ME, Cartersville, GA, and Charles Henry Puch, St. Louis, MO;
  • Weighted Exercise Clothing (Exercise clothing without range of motion limitations): Patrick Whaley, ME, Duluth, GA

The two winning inventions will be selected on March 17 and the inventor or group will receive: 

  • A cash prize of $15,000 for first place or $10,000 for second place
  • A free U.S. patent filing by Georgia Tech’s Office of Technology Licensing (each valued at approximately $20,000).

In addition, a $5,000 “People’s Choice” award, provided by the Georgia Tech Research Corporation, will be presented. The live audience and broadcast viewers will have the opportunity to help select the winner of this award by voting on the Internet or texting in their favorite finalist.

The InVenture Prize show co-host Miles O’Brien is an award-winning 26-year broadcast news veteran specializing in aviation, space, science, the environment and technology. He worked as a correspondent, anchor, and producer on CNN’s “Science and Technology Week,” “Talkback Live,” “Headline News Primetime” and “CNN American Morning.” Recently named to the NASA Advisory Council, O’Brien currently owns a production company in New York City that creates, produces and distributes original content across all media platforms.

Co-host Bahareh Azizi earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry/biotechnology in 1999 from Michigan State University and then moved to Atlanta to pursue a doctoral degree from Georgia Tech in biochemistry. Since completing her Ph.D. in 2005, Azizi has worked at Georgia Tech and Oxford College of Emory University as an educator, researcher and administrator. Her most recent focus has been in the field of protein engineering and nuclear receptors. In 2007, Azizi hosted the PBS TV pilot show “Science Investigators,” which highlighted current technological advances.

Judges for the 2010 competition are Greg Foster, Lara O’Connor Hodgson, David Ku, MD., Ph.D. and Scott Slade.

Foster has been a member of the management teams of three successful start-ups including Atlanta-based iXL, Silverpop Systems and Southern Direct. He joined Turner Broadcasting after Southern Direct. Most recently, he served as a partner at Noro-Moseley Partners, an Atlanta-based venture capital firm with a concentration on early-stage digital media companies. Foster is a member of the board of trustees for the Georgia Tech Alumni Association, the board of trustees for the Georgia Council on Economic Education, the board of the Bobby Dodd Foundation and is a member of the Georgia Research Alliance venture fund review board. He holds an ME degree from Georgia Tech and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

A serial entrepreneur and a motivational speaker on innovation, Hodgson co-founded Nourish Inc. shortly after becoming a mom. She is also the co-founder and CEO of Insomnia LLC, an Atlanta-based firm specializing in investment, development and management of complex and innovative “world-changing” projects.  Her current work is focused on finding solutions for and funding large-scale infrastructure projects globally.  She earned an MBA from Harvard Business School and a bachelor’s in AE with highest honors from Georgia Tech. Hodgson was also a scholarship member of Georgia Tech’s varsity track and field team.

Ku is the Lawrence P. Huang Endowed Chair in Engineering and Entrepreneurship and Regents' Professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering and College of Management.  He also serves as director of the Engineering Entrepreneurship program. Ku’s research interests are in cardiovascular disease pathophysiology and treatment, commercialization of novel medical devices through start-up companies and efficient methods of product development. He has helped start four companies producing medical devices for orthopedics and neurology.

Slade is the host of “Atlanta's Morning News” on News/Talk 750 WSB from 5 to 8:30 a.m.  He is a rare two-time winner of the prestigious National Association of Broadcasters Marconi Award. “Atlanta’s Morning News with Scott Slade” has won numerous awards since its inception in 1991, including the national Edward R. Murrow Award as Best Radio Newscast in the nation. A native Atlantan, Slade is also an aviation buff.

Last year’s InVenture Prize winners were Dialprice by Roger Pincombe in the individual category and Chlorocyte Bioreactor by Joseph Abrahamson, William Boyd, Sanjay Challa, Kento Masuyama and Andrew Punnoose in the team category.

In addition to airing on Georgia Public Broadcasting, the 2010 Georgia Tech InVenture Prize competition will be streaming online at www.gpb.org.

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