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Brainstorm/Edison Day Preview

With more than $25,000 in prizes, students in The Schoofs Prize for Creativity have come up with inventions ranging from the fanciful to the practical. Brainstorm, the college's annual invention contest sponsored by COE alumnus Richard Schoofs (BS Chem E 1953) is in its third year. The contest awards four cash prizes to the undergraduates whose ideas are judged most creative, novel and innovative, patentable and likely to succeed in the marketplace. New this year are two $2,500 prizes for best prototype sponsored by Brainstorm judge Tom Aschenbrenner.

Turbo Tap in action

Robert Meyers dispenses root beer from the Turbo Tap, the first place winner in the 1996 Schoof's Prize for Creativity. (large image)


Last year's first place, $10,000 winner--Matt Younkle and Robert Meyers-- created the 'Fast Tap,' a system that dispenses carbonated beverages at high speeds without increasing foaming.

This year's winners will be announced in the afternoon on Edison Day, Tuesday, February 11, 1997. Students will present their work from 8 AM to 2:30 PM in 1610 Engineering Hall on the UW-Madison campus. Their projects will be on display in Engineering Hall lobby throughout the day. Winners will be announced and awards will be presented in room 1800 at 4:15 PM.

All registered UW-Madison students are eligible for door prizes. Door prizes will include a Hewlett Packard OmniGo 100 Organizer Plus and other items. Students can receive multiple door prize tickets: one ticket for each Schoofs presentation they attend and/or for attending the Edison Day lecture at 2:40 p.m..

This year's entries include:

Urilet by Theodore Van Deburg. A combination toilet and urinal. The toilet lid flips up in such a way as to turn the toilet into a urinal. The idea is that you could have both in half the space. As Ted puts it, "The Urilet has all the benefits and conveniences of a urinal, while maintaining the aesthetics and functionality of a well-designed toilet."

Vibroscrub by Theodore VanDeburg. Vibroscrub is a hand-held, battery operated, soap-dispensing cleaning tool. It is designed primarily for scrubbing dishes and cookware. When the Vibroscrub is pressed against any surface, the head vibrates creating a rapid scrubbing motion. It is powered by two AA NiCad batteries and is fully submersible.

Theodore VanDeburg 608/238-4840
Prometheus Spa by Andrew Cavender. A four to five person portable hot tub with whirlpool action. It can be easily broken down into four units. In addition, the water is heated with a heat exchanger that can cool a small space for beverages.
Andrew Cavender 608/264-1074
Alarm Twin by Bill Jacobson and team. A system for keeping track of personal belongings or small children. Alarm Twin consists of two inexpensive, credit-card sized units, a matched receiver and transmitter pair. The transmitter is kept on the person and the receiver on the belongings. If the two are separated by a user specified distance, an alarm sounds.
Bill Jacobson 608/829-0466
Water Recliner by Mark O'Neal and Mohamed Ouali. A reclining chair with a water-filled seat cushion and back rest incorporating heat and vibration.
Mark O'Neal 608/221-0207
Thermoelectric-based Air Conditioning System by Kristofer Dressler and Matt Younkle. An automotive climate control system using thermoelectric coolers and heat sinks. The system uses an array of thermoelectric cooling pads attached to heat sinks to cool air circulated by electric fans.
Kristofer Dressler 608/256-5672
Photodiode-controlled Toasting System by Matt Younkle. A system using an array of photodiodes to gauge the length of toasting time needed to achieve the desired color of toast.
Matt Younkle 608/257-9767
Tire Leads by Peter Parker. Metal brushes affixed to vehicle wheels in such a way as to remove snow and water from the path of each tire.
Peter Parker 608/356-8914
Tailgater Electronic Bumper by Travis Feirtag. A device to measure the distance between a car and the vehicle following. If the distance falls below a specified limit, the tail lights will flash. Device is only active above 35 mph.
Travis Feirtag 608/250-9631
Variable Length Intake Manifold by Brian Dondlinger. A device for modifying and improving the delivery of the air/fuel mixture to the combustion chamber of the cylinders on an internal combustion engines. The length of the manifold is controlled by an electro-mechanical positioner motor which receives signals from the engine management computer.
Brian Dondliner 608/238-4866
Advanced Safety Brakelight Warning System by Adam Sweet. A brakelight system that responds to how firmly the brake pedal is depressed. The harder the pedal is pressed, the brighter the light becomes. The lights flash in emergency braking situations.
Adam Sweet 608/257-8702
Automation Stew by Nate Gemelke. An object oriented programming language designed to facilitate the construction of event-driven applications through the use of autonomous objects, capable of implicit event-trapping and automatic behavior triggering.
Nate Gemelke 608/264-0853