From their freshman year to the last semester of a PhD program, ECE students are active participants in a variety of invention and innovation competitions at UW-Madison—and their efforts are being well rewarded with cash prizes and resources to establish companies.
Fourth place Schoofs Prize for Creativity ($1,000) and Younkle Best Presentation Award ($1,000)—Plant Oil Burning Stove, an inexpensive cooking stove that burns plant oils, creating a new industry in rural Haiti. Invented by electrical engineering senior Jason Lohr, mechanical engineering senior Eyleen Chou and biomedical engineering senior Tyler Lark.
Undergrad competition showcases ECE student ideas and inventions
n February, ECE undergraduate students made a strong showing at the 2010 Innovation Days, an annual UW-Madison event that rewards innovative and marketable ideas. A team including ECE senior Jason Lohr (pictured, right) won fourth place in the Schoofs Prize for Creativity and $1,000 for CocoStove, an inexpensive cooking stove that burns plant oils rather than wood charcoal and could create a new industry in rural Haiti. The team also won the Younkle Best Presentation award, which comes with a $1,000 prize. ECE alumnus Peter Tong (MS ’65) and the Tong Family Foundation are among the competition’s benefactors.
Other ECE student teams included:
• Intelliwindows, a system to open and close windows based on the weather and a desired temperature in order to reduce air conditioning costs.Invented by ECE sophomore Chris Beley.
• un.me, a software suite that emphasizes physical, social interaction and collaboration between users. Invented by ECE sophomore Michael Bethencourt.
• Bright Crank, a solar cell and hand-powered system made from recycled bicycle and car parts to light up bus stops. Invented by a team including ECE senior Alesia Casanova.
• Blocks Web API, an interface to allow developers to create web content with a language set via a proxy server that can “translate” across all existing web interfaces. Invented by ECE sophomore Tim McGowan.
• Variable Power Source H2 Production, a system that runs electricity into a high-pressure electrolyzer and then through solid-oxide fuel cells to create a baseload of energy, which can be converted into AC voltage and run to the electric grid. Invented by a team including ECE sophomore Tim McGowan.
• Range Extending Hitch Technology, a detachable engine-generator for plug-in hybrid vehicles. Co-invented by ECE senior Adam Richards.
• Power StripWattmeter, a device that connects to an electrical outlet via a power strip and displays the average power usage of the electric devices connected to the outlet. Invented by ECE and physics senior Chris Zenner.