Finalists Named in Georgia Tech 2011 InVenture Prize Competition

Georgia Public Broadcasting to air finals on March 9 at 7 p.m.

Seven finalists have been selected to compete for the InVenture Prize @ Georgia Tech. Students will present their inventions during a live Georgia Public Broadcasting program  televised from the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Robert Ferst Center for the Arts on March 9 at 7 p.m.

The InVenture Prize is an innovation competition for Georgia Tech undergraduate students who work independently or in teams to create inventions that will be presented and judged by a panel of experts.

The seven finalists and the 20 inventors are:

  • AdsCreated – An automated, cutting edge e-commerce computer program that creates online advertisements: Roger Pincombe, College of Computing, Peachtree City, Ga.
  • AutoRhexis - An innovative instrument designed to improve cataract surgery: Christopher Giardina, Biomedical Engineering (BME), Alpharetta, Ga.; Rebeca Bowden, BME, Athens, Ga.; Jorge Baro, BME, Duluth, Ga.; Kanitha Kim, Mechanical Engineering (ME), Gaithersburg, Md.; Khaled Kashlan, BME, Suwanee, Ga.; and Shane Saunders, ME, Moultrie, Ga.
  • Magnetic Assisted Intubation Device (MAID) – A creative approach to facilitate the procedure of placing a breathing tube into the trachea: Alexander Cooper, BME, Atlanta, Ga.; Shawna Marie Hagen, BME, Middletown, N.J.; William Jacob Thompson, BME, Cornelia, Ga.; and Elizabeth Ann Flanagan, BME, Douglas, Ga.
  • Proximer – A device that cleverly detects hard plastics in the body: Jenny Taylor, BME, Greenville, S.C.; Megan Richards, BME, Suwanee, Ga.; and Michael Zhao, BME, Alpharetta, Ga.
  • Velociryder – A motorized, self-balancing skateboard that takes the activity to a new level featuring  two wheels instead of four: Aaron Fan, EE (Electrical Engineering)/Computer Science (CS), Ocoee, Fla.; Xo Wang, EE/CS, New York, N.Y.; and Jamison Go, ME/EE, Orlando, Fla.
  • Slide Capo – A new twist on a guitar capo that can create unique sounds: Daniel Chaney, Industrial Design, Tucker, Ga.
  • Waste to Watts – Capitalizing on sustainability, this apparatus is created by reusing discarded parts to devise a system that will provide much-needed power in third world countries: James Molini, BME, Newark, Del.; and Patrick Caputo, EE/Physics, Gahanna, Ohio.

Two winning inventions will be selected on March 9 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, sponsored by NCR 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 by text message.

Returning as the InVenture Prize co-host, Miles O’Brien is an award-winning 27-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.

Bahereh Azizi, also returning as a co-host, 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.

In addition to airing on Georgia Public Broadcasting, the 2011 Georgia Tech InVenture Prize competition will be streaming online at

The Georgia Institute of Technology is one of the world's premier research universities. Ranked seventh among U.S. News & World Report's top public universities and the eighth best engineering and information technology university in the world by Shanghai Jiao Tong University's Academic Ranking of World Universities, Georgia Tech’s more than 20,000 students are enrolled in its Colleges of Architecture, Computing, Engineering, Liberal Arts, Management and Sciences. Tech is among the nation's top producers of women and minority engineers. The Institute offers research opportunities to both undergraduate and graduate students and is home to more than 100 interdisciplinary units plus the Georgia Tech Research Institute.