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  5. Innovation Days marks 20 years of undergrad entrepreneurship Feb. 13-14

Innovation Days marks 20 years of undergrad entrepreneurship Feb. 13-14

University of Wisconsin-Madison undergraduates are greeting the 20th anniversary of the Innovation Days competition with inventions that range from healthcare to agriculture to exercise for amputees. During the annual competition, held Feb. 13 and 14 on the UW-Madison engineering campus, students will display prototypes and business plans for 18 inventions and compete for more than $28,000 in prizes in the Schoofs Prize for Creativity, the Tong Prototype Prize, and other competitions.

The competition was founded to encourage UW-Madison undergrads to undertake self-directed research and entrepreneurship. Several of the competition’s alumni have gone on to market their inventions and launch successful companies. 

Student presentations run from 9:15 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. on Feb. 13 and from 9:05 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Feb. 14. Prototypes of all the students’ inventions will be on display on Feb. 13, and several will remain on display on Feb. 14. For the full schedule, go here.

The competition, which is open to the public, takes place in 1610 Engineering Hall, 1415 Engineering Drive. Limited public parking is available for a fee in the adjacent ramp. Visitors should use the east ramp entrance

The schedule of presentations, with brief descriptions of the inventions:

Thursday, Feb. 13

9:15 a.m.: MiLamp Tablet Holder

Max McGuiness

A holder and stand designed to allow a user to comfortably use a tablet computer while sitting up or lying in bed.

9:35 a.m.: Night Watch

Jason Reinecke, Alex Gabourie, Brad Gundlach

A wearable device that sends out a distress signal and the user’s geographic location in dangerous situations, such as an attack or an accident.

9:55 a.m.: Orifice Drained Concrete Pavement

Jeff Lin

A pavement system with vertical drainage pathways that control stormwater to alleviate runoff and flooding concerns.

10:15 a.m.: Spectrom

Charles Haider, Cedric Kovacs-Johnson

An attachment for 3D printers that allows the user to incorporate seamless, on-demand color into the 3D printing process.

10:45 a.m.: WhiteMatter

Steven Ledvina

A web-based platform that pulls together related news, social media, and other web content, contextualizing and explaining the connection between different items of content spread across the Internet.

11:05 a.m.: ARMature Athletic

Chase Conrad, Lanyon Conrad

A weight machine that provides a range of upper-body exercise options for upper-limb amputees. 

11:25 a.m.: Clean Pull

R.J. Koch

A medical tool designed to safely remove foreign bodies from the nasal and ear cavities.

11:45 a.m.: Odor Lights

Zachary Ross

Small, portable ultraviolet lights placed in athletic shoes to eliminate odor and kill odor-causing microorganisms.

1:00 p.m.: Year Round Tip Down

Justin Vannieuwenhoven

A versatile fishing-rod holder that adapts to both warm-weather boat fishing applications and winter ice fishing.

1:20 p.m.: Vehicle Rotating Magnet Motor

Ben Cohn

An electric motor that is housed in the wheel of a vehicle, thereby reducing power transfer loss.

1:40 p.m.: Binary Bottle

Shane Henry

A portable beverage container with two separate compartments and a variety of different openings and attachments for drinking.

2:00 p.m.: Trunk Respirator

Max Bock-Aronson

A lightweight, compact mask that filters out airborne pollution. 

Friday, Feb. 14

9:05 a.m.: The Band Wagon

Michael Fix, Katrina Ruedinger

A bicycle cart that allows the user to tow a relatively large volume of items and materials, then folds up for easy storage when not in use.

9:25 a.m.: Drip Drop

Kevin Ripley, Chris Stiles, Steve Berg, Kyle Anderson, Logan Hietpas, Ross McCaig

A monitoring and collection device that wirelessly transmits real-time data about irrigation conditions on farms, allowing decision-makers to better manage water resources.

9:45 a.m.: Heavy Hitters Net for Spikeball

Ben Cohn

A frame designed to hold a net for the game of Spikeball, and not to deform when game players hit the ball forcefully into the net.

10:05 a.m.: Yortee

Justin Vannieuwenhoven

A golf tee with a wide middle section that can incorporate a custom logo, offering greater visibility for the logo than a standard golf tee with the logo printed on its shaft.

10:25 a.m.: prINKart

Minghui Wu

A photo-sensitive sheet that captures images directly from a computer monitor.

10:45 a.m.: SmartTrunk Organization and Tracking System

Matthew Vandertie, Cole Hess

An organization system that uses radio frequency identification technology and a smartphone app to track important items in a user’s backpack or luggage, helping users remember when to bring along certain items and aiding in the recovery of missing items.

Several UW-Madison engineering alumni sponsor the Innovation Days competitions. Chemical engineering alumnus Richard J. Schoofs sponsors the Schoofs Prize for Creativity, electrical and computer engineering alumnus Peter P. Tong (via the Tong Family Foundation) sponsors the Tong Prototype Prize, mechanical engineering alumnus Chad Sorenson sponsors the Sorenson Design Notebook award, and electrical and computer engineering alumnus Matt Younkle sponsors the Younkle Best Presentation award. 

Scott Gordon