Student Brainstorm inventions range from leisure to life necessities
Student entries in this year's Brainstorm: The Schoofs Prize for Creativity could improve highway safety, enable mobility-impaired people to control household electronics via infrared signal, make short work of transferring handwritten notes and graphics to electronic file, and more.
Open to all UW-Madison undergraduate students, the contest challenges entrants to develop unique, patentable, marketable ideas and prototypes. Top entries receive $1,000, $4,000, $7,000 or $10,000 awards. Students who build prototypes also can compete for the $2,500 Tong Prototype Prize.
In its seventh year, the competition takes place Feb. 22 in Engineering Hall, 1415 Engineering Drive, on the UW-Madison College of Engineering campus. All events are free and open to the public.
The day's schedule is as follows:
- Inventors' presentations: 9-11:40 a.m., Engineering Hall atrium
- Keynote speech: 1:15 p.m., 1610 Engineering Hall "Converting a great Idea Into a Successful Business"
Bob Kopras, founder and CEO, RotoZip Tool Corporation
Cross Plains, Wisconsin
- Awards ceremony: 2:15 p.m., 1610 Engineering Hall
This year's contest entries include:
Over-Breaking Safety Hazard Initiated Taillight: a rear strobe light that activates when a vehicle decelerates at an excessively quick rate due, for example, to an accident, traffic jam or obstruction in the road.
Automatically Pressurizing Water Gun: a toy water gun, similar to the popular Super Soaker, in which the user pressurizes the water with a CO2 cartridge rather than pumping the gun by hand.
Smart Pen: an electronic recording and computing device, housed within or on a pen-shaped object, that records and processes handwritten text or graphics.
Transmissive Infrared Environment Control System (TiRECS): a self-contained electronic system that enables people with severe limited mobility to perform such tasks as triggering a nurse-call button or operating a television via infrared response.
Why Didn't I Think of That? Brakes for a Bicycle Trailer: a braking system that takes advantage of the force created during braking to slow the trailer.
Better Mileage, Better Traction: Velocity Actuated Front Spoiler: a front spoiler, designed with trucks and sport- utility vehicles in mind, that exploits high-velocity front air flow to improve aerodynamics during high-speed driving.