For more than 30 years, The Collegiate Inventors Competition has awarded more than $1 million to students nationwide, while taking participants’ inventions to the next level through networking, marketing exposure, mentorship, and more.
For seven of those years, Skild has worked on this durable challenge hand in hand with its governing body, The National Inventors Hall of Fame.
We’re thrilled to reveal that the CWC’s 2021 winners have just been announced! And here they are:
Graduate Winner: SolarClear — Dust storms, especially in the western United States, Middle East, and North Africa, are a significant problem for large-scale solar power plants. While solutions exist to clean them off, they are impractical and expensive. Cleaning a typical utility-scale solar installation requires a staggering 600,000 to 1 million gallons of potable water. SolarClear addresses this problem by using autonomous waterless cleaning technology that is both significantly more effective and efficient compared to existing technologies. Additionally, the unique design of the electrodes that are used in the system makes SolarClear economically viable for utility-scale installation in the desert.
Graduate Runner-Up: VirSENSE — To manage and ultimately control the spread of the COVID-19 virus, rapid, inexpensive, and easily deployable testing is crucial. It’s for this reason that Maha Alafeef created VirSENSE, a rapid test for COVID-19 that users can administer entirely at home. Using an electrochemical biosensor paired with an electrical reader, the test screens for active cases and is over 98% accurate. Thanks to the technology that VirSENSE is using, individuals are able to determine in real time if they are COVID-19 positive, even before their bodies develop a detectable antibody response.
Undergraduate Winner: EarFlow — Otitis media, or middle ear infection, is a painful condition triggering excess fluid production in the middle ear, affecting the eardrum by altering its vibration and hearing levels. It is especially common in young children. EarFlow is a drug delivery device that is placed on a patient’s eardrum to deliver dexamethasone, a steroid, and ciprofloxacin, an antibiotic, to the middle ear to treat otitis media. Placing the device takes less than five minutes in a doctor’s office and does not require general anesthesia. With low cytotoxicity and low risk of hearing damage, EarFlow offers a vast improvement from standard treatments for recurrent infections.
Undergraduate Runner-Up: Augment Health Bladder Management System — Over 6.5 million people in the US alone have limited bladder sensation. They cannot feel when their bladder is full and often suffer incontinence. Many use incontinence products or a catheter and collection bag. Often, these solutions lead to urinary tract infections and are costly, difficult, and embarrassing to manage. The Augment Health Bladder Management System is a noninvasive connection between a catheter and catheter valve that monitors the bladder and tells the user when it’s full via their smart device, eliminating the need for obtrusive incontinence products. This invention has the potential to reduce costs and infections, restore dignity and offer better quality of care.
Arrow Electronics People's Choice Award Winner: Firebot — Firefighters face life-threatening situations while searching for human life in structural fires, leading to 33 fatalities in the past decade and 10,575 injuries in 2019 alone. Firebot, a thermally insulated, wirelessly controlled, obstacle-climbing robot, locates victims without requiring firefighters to enter burning buildings. Firefighters can deploy Firebot near an entrance and remotely steer it using a joystick and laptop displaying live video, thermal imagery and sensor data, which warns of potentially hazardous situations. Firefighters can use a two-way speaker to lead conscious victims out, or a siren and GPS map to allow them to quickly find and rescue unconscious victims, helping to mitigate risks and save lives.
All winners receive cash prizes and are awarded a US Patent Trademark Office acceleration certificate. To learn more about the program, click here.