Winning Student Inventors Tackle Medical Challenges

NYU-Poly Team Would Replace the Century-Old Bandage; Staten Island Tech High School Students Reinvent the Wheelchair to Win Time Warner Cable Inno/Vention Competition

NYU-Poly freshmen Joseph Landolina of Pine Bush, N.Y., and Kenny Mai of Sunnyvale, Calif., took first place by aiming their innovative skills at the century-old bandage, replacing it with an organic gelatinous bandage that solidifies and bonds to a laceration while helping reproduce healthy skin cells around the injury.

A replacement for the century-old bandage and a wheelchair of the future won top honors in Polytechnic Institute of New York University’s (NYU-Poly) search for young inventors known as the Time Warner Cable Inno/Vention Competition.

The contest, now in its fourth year, challenges young people to change the world for the better through technology. But the 12 finalist projects selected from among 123 entrants were more than brilliant technical solutions: In keeping with NYU-Poly’s philosophy of i-squared-e — invention, innovation and entrepreneurship — the university finalists were also subjected to rigorous business analysis. In order to qualify, NYU-Poly students attended business plan seminars to learn to formulate the kind of marketing strategies and presentations that would attract investors in the real world.

"The Inno/Vention Competition is a concrete example of how we encourage inventiveness in students,” said NYU-Poly Provost Dianne Rekow, who presented the awards. “We are thankful for Time Warner Cable’s support of this competition, which has helped students develop the skills they need to launch their ideas into the marketplace.”

The April 7, 2011, competition attracted record participation and for the first time included high school teams from schools with nationally recognized science and mathematics programs. The competition also drew NYU-Poly undergraduates as well as graduate and doctoral students.

The first-place winners in each category will receive assistance in filing provisional patents from NYU-Poly alumnus Vernon E. Williams, director - intellectual property and technology law, Lockheed Martin Global Training and Logistics. All six winning teams won cash prizes.

Judging the finalists were representatives from business, education and science. Judges for the day-long event were Myron I. Blumenfeld, president, Myron I. Blumenfeld & Associates; Owen Davis, managing director, NYC Seed; John M. DiMatteo, partner and chair of the Intellectual Property Department, Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP; Li Li, Slater & Matsil, LLP.; Edward D. Manzo, partner, Husch Blackwell LLP; Bruce Niswander, director, NYU-Poly Office of Innovation Development & Centers for Entrepreneurship and Technology; Richard Fishbein, partner emeritus, Cortec Group; Howard Taub, director - strategic partnerships, Tandent Vision Science; Richard L. Willard, president, RULE7MEDIA LLC, and Phil Won, senior director of strategy and development, Time Warner Cable.

University Winners

First Place — NYU-Poly freshmen Joseph Landolina and Kenny Mai aimed their innovative skills at the century-old bandage, proposing to replace it with an organic gelatinous bandage that solidifies and bonds to a laceration while helping reproduce healthy skin cells around the injury. Applied in two parts, the chemicals in Medi-gel would react to become a gel that adheres to the skin for up to 14 days. Landolina, of Pine Bush, N.Y., is majoring in chemical and biological engineering. Mai, of Sunnyvale, Calif., is a mechanical engineering major who is minoring in aerospace engineering.

Second Place — Filip Mlekicki, a Brooklyn student who will graduate this spring with his masters degree in management of technology, devised a social media app that lets action sports enthusiasts share the best spots for extreme sports -- and lets their network know when they are on the scene. Upon graduation, Mlekicki, originally from Kinnelon, N.J., and his partners plan to pursue their app, Shred Something, as a business.

Third Place — Jason Buckner, an NYU-Poly business and technology major and basketball player from Littleton, Colorado, designed a system that tracks basketball players’ movements on the court in real time to monitor who is tiring or out of position. Using courtside monitors, software and durable and lightweight sensors in shoe soles, a coach could monitor movement from a laptop during a game and quickly change strategy.

Finalists — Of 58 participating NYU-Poly teams, three others made the finals: Ismail Paktik of New York, civil engineering senior, for designing a shock absorber system to quake-proof buildings; Zhile Zhao of Brooklyn, electrical engineering honors program sophomore, for using SIM cards to transform phones into digital credit cards; and a team that would turn sea salt and manure into electricity in underdeveloped regions: Kaung (Kevin) Oo Han, a U.S. citizen originally from Myanmar (Burma), computer science sophomore; Sein (Justin) Lin of Rangoon, Myanmar, computer science doctoral student; Matthew Moore of Schenectady, N.Y., mechanical engineering junior; and Myo Nyi of Yangon, Myanmar, mechanical engineering junior.

High School Winners

Although the 65 high school entrants representing 156 students came from as far away as Kentucky and Michigan, all finalists were teams from the greater New York area.

First Place — Staten Island Technical High School students designed the Comfort Control Wheelchair Seating System with features that ease persistent problems of those confined to wheelchairs: climate control, bacteria prevention and pressure relief. Its Omni-Directional Drive Train would also improve maneuverability. Team members are Rebecca Kekelishvili, Thomas Stilwell and Michelle Warchol, and the team was mentored by Steven Raile.

Second Place – These Smithtown (N.Y.) High School West students had previously won a Massachusetts Institute of Technology grant to facilitate the use of alternative energy within households. For the Time Warner Cable Inno/Vention Competition, they developed a promotional plan for their Double Axis Solar Tracker. The design tracks the path of the sun throughout the day and absorbs solar energy to recharge electronics and small household items. Team members are Sara Cacciabaudo, Tyler Lawrence and Amy Sullivan, mentored by Dr. Joanna Figueirdo.

Third Place — An electronic device to monitor caloric intake and share data with a remote health care provider was designed by students from Roxbury High School, Succasunna-Kenvil, N.J. The affordable design melds entertainment and medical intelligent technologies and would appeal to weight watchers as well as those who must control their diets because of medical conditions. Team members are Piotr Laskowski, Jordan Matelsky and Kim Tran, mentored by Rachel Bonnema.

Finalists — High school teams that made it to the finals included Jericho (N.Y.) High School students Emily Ma and Cindy Park mentored by Serena McCalla for a smart thermos; Brooklyn Technical High School students Wai Ching Ng and William Yee mentored by Sean Shaynak for an airplane-inspired wind turbine design; and Midwood High School of Brooklyn, N.Y., students Yuri Badovich, Tohidul Islam and Shivani Patel mentored by Joe Reilly for a smart recycling receptacle.

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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.