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Vending machine developed by students succeeds at invention competitions

Mike Deau with a prototype of his invention EcoStream

Mike Deau peers through the earliest version of the EcoStream prototype.
(View larger image)

Decorative initial cap A new type of soft-drink vending machine developed by undergraduate student Michael Deau and graduate student Chris Meyer collected several prizes from university competitions this spring. The machine, called EcoStream, will integrate digital technology with environmental values, allowing people to reuse plastic or steel bottles and pay for their drinks via Web-based accounts.

After spending more than 100 hours building a working model, Deau won first place and $2,500 in the Tong Prototype Prize, which rewards the best prototype in Innovation Day, an annual UW-Madison invention competition held in February. At Innovation Day, Deau also won third place and $4,000 in the Schoofs Prize for Creativity, which rewards innovative and marketable ideas, and the Younkle Best Presentation Award, which comes with a $1,000 prize.

EcoStream was also recognized as the best state solution at the inaugural UW-Madison Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE) Climate Leadership Challenge competition through the UW-Madison Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. The prize came with an award of $10,000 for Deau and Meyer. More than 20 student teams entered the competition, held April 22, 2009, with ideas to combat the effects of global warming and help the environment in general. Four teams won cash prizes, three of which included UW-Madison engineering students.

Additionally, Deau and Meyer took third place in the 2009 UW-Madison G. Steven Burrill Business Plan Competition.

Meyer says he and Deau plan to build a production-feasible prototype of the system in summer 2009 since winning a prize at SAGE comes with the expectation that they will work to implement their idea.

2009-2010 Faustin Prinz Undergraduate Research Fellowship recipients

Each fellow receives an award of $5,000 to offset tuition costs for two semesters, as well as up to $2,000 in expenses related to their research project.
(NOTE: These fellows join three fellows who began their research projects in spring 2009: Matthew Carlson, Jeremiah Olson and Nathan Weltzin.)

Brett A. Lindeman
“Creativity in product development”
Advisor: Professor Jay Martin

Hammad Mazhar
“An investigation on GPU collision detection using spatial subdivision”
Advisor: Assistant Professor Dan Negrut


Bryant W. Mueller
“Measurement of shear stress in microfluidic channels using traction force microscopy”
Advisor: Assistant Professor Kevin Turner

Theodore J. Steiner
“A variable inertance tube for improved pulse tube cryocooler performance”
Advisor: Professor John Pfotenhauer





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Date last modified: Monday, 3-August-2009
Date created: 3-August-2009



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