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Student inventors make final preparations for Brainstorm competition


BRAINSTORM: The Schoofs Prize for Creativity

From inventions to keep hands clean to ideas even James Bond could appreciate, the 1999 Brainstorm: The Schoofs Prize for Creativity has inspired undergraduates across the UW-Madison campus. Now in its fifth year and open to all University of Wisconsin-Madison undergraduates, the contest awards cash prizes to those whose ideas are judged most creative, novel, innovative, patentable and likely to succeed in the marketplace. Winners will be announced in the afternoon on Edison Day, Thursday, February 11, 1999. Edison Day is the College of Engineering's annual celebration of Thomas Edison's birthday. Students will present their work from 8 AM to 12:30 PM in 1610 Engineering Hall on the UW-Madison campus. Their projects will be on display in the Engineering Hall lobby throughout the day. Jan Ver Hagen, senior vice president of corporate projects for Emerson Electric, will present the keynote address titled "Picking The Winners: A Corporate Executive's View of How Innovation Becomes Product and Profitable Business." The talk will be at 1:15 p.m. in room 1610 Engineering Hall. (Ver Hagen is a 1961 graduate of UW-Madison in mechanical engineering and a former member of the college's Industrial Liaison Council.)

Judges will announce the winners at 3:30 PM. All events are free and open to the public. This year's entries include:


  • A Process of Ensuring Hand Sanitation for employees using the restroom


  • No More Slips: A device that drops sand in front of tires thereby improving traction.


  • A Hollow Shoe Heel that can hold personal items.


  • A Human-Powered Seaweed Cutting and retrieval apparatus


  • A Concentrating Solar Photovoltaic System, using plastic-injection molded spectrum-splitting concentrator.


  • The Pocket Memory Card: A device to carry electronic cash and coupons


  • Pressure Washer Power Jet Pump: A jet pump with a high flow rate and low to moderate pumping head capabilities.


  • The Safety Range Project: A system to reduce the risk of fires involving kitchen ranges.


  • An Airlift Device to give wheelchair-bound persons the advantage of six additional inches in height.


  • Snap-In Joist Stiffener : A device to stiffen horizontal wooden floor joists.