When the judging of student inventions begins today at Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly), the field will be tougher, younger and patent-savvy.
The school’s fourth annual Time Warner Cable Inno/Vention Competition
drew a record 123 entries from among its own undergraduate and graduate students and — for the first time — teams from nationally recognized high school science programs. The 12 finalists will attempt to convince a blue ribbon panel from engineering, science and business that their invention or innovation will change the world.
The finalist projects are not simply brilliant technical solutions: In keeping with NYU-Poly’s philosophy of i-squared-e — invention, innovation and entrepreneurship — the university projects were also subjected to rigorous business analysis. In order to qualify, NYU-Poly students attended business plan seminars in which mentors helped them formulate the kind of presentations that would attract investors in the real world.
"Our goal is to give young people the thrill and the skills to build a better world," said NYU-Poly President Jerry M Hultin. "So we joined with Time Warner Cable to ‘invent’ the Inno/Vention Competition. We challenge young students to creatively use the fundamentals of science, mathematics and technology to invent new products and then, second, we pit their ideas and inventions in an entrepreneurial matchup that teaches them some of the real-world business skills they need to succeed. It's good for our students and good for the world, so we all win."
The NYU-Poly finalist teams propose to make buildings safer from earthquakes; employ RFID technology to improve athletic performance; replace bandages with a gel that heals wounds; crowd-source the hottest spots for surfing and boarding; turn smart phones’ SIM cards into shopping tools, and create electricity from cow manure.
Although the 65 high school entrants representing 156 students came from as far away as Kentucky and Michigan, all six of the entrants chosen as the best were conceived by teams from the greater New York area. The high school finalists designed a smart thermos, an advanced wheelchair seat, airplane-inspired wind turbines, an in-home energy tracker; an entertaining calorie tracking device and a self-sorting recycling receptacle.
Now there’s an application for people fueled by action sports. Using Foursquare technology, Filip Mlekicki developed ‘Shred Something,’ a smart phone app that allows action sports enthusiasts to communicate and add location data about extreme activity hotspots. This app is set to rip-it-up in the skateboarding, cycling, surfing and snowboarding communities.
About Polytechnic Institute of New York University
Polytechnic Institute of New York University (formerly Polytechnic University), an affiliate of New York University, is a comprehensive school of engineering, applied sciences, technology and research, and is rooted in a 157-year tradition of invention, innovation and entrepreneurship: i2e. The institution, founded in 1854, is the nation’s second-oldest private engineering school. In addition to its main campus in New York City at MetroTech Center in downtown Brooklyn, it also offers programs at sites throughout the region and around the globe. Globally, NYU-Poly has programs in Israel, China and is an integral part of NYU's campus in Abu Dhabi.