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Fruit tree sprayer wins UW-Madison innovation competition

APEL System, invented by Tom Gerold and Kara Anderson, first place Schoofs Prize for Creativity and second place Tong Prototype Prize

APEL System, invented by Tom Gerold and Kara Anderson, first place Schoofs Prize for Creativity and second place Tong Prototype Prize. view larger image

WINNERS

Schoofs Prize for Creativity

  • First place and $10,000—Automated Pest Elimination System (APEL), an automated, self-contained system to spray fruit trees while minimizing pesticide overspraying. Invented by mechanical engineering junior Tom Gerold and finance sophomore Kara Anderson.

  • Second place and $7,000 — PolyForm Pack, which combines a sleeping pad, backpack, sleeping shelter and chair into a lightweight, waterproof piece of backpacking equipment. Invented by biomedical engineering junior Nate Cira and chemical engineering senior Alex Rio.

  • Third place and $4,000 — TriCrimp, a lightweight, pneumatic crimping tool for steel fastening that replaces tedious hand-crimping tools and bulky mechanical crimpers. Invented by mechanical engineering junior Scott Johanek.

  • Fourth place and $1,000 — Plant Oil Burning Stove, an inexpensive cooking stove that burns plant oils and would replace wood charcoal stoves, as well as create a new industry in rural Haiti. Invented by electrical engineering senior Jason Lohr, mechanical engineering senior Eyleen Chou and biomedical engineering senior Tyler Lark. .

Tong Prototype Prize

  • First place and $2,500— PolyForm Pack, which combines a sleeping pad, backpack, sleeping shelter and chair into a waterproof pack that weighs less than five pounds. Invented by biomedical engineering junior Nate Cira and chemical engineering senior Alex Rio.

  • Second place and $1,250 — APEL System, an automated, self-contained system to spray fruit trees while minimizing pesticide overspraying. Invented by mechanical engineering junior Tom Gerold and finance sophomore Kara Anderson.

  • Third place and $700 — BreezeDry, a specialized towel bar with fans designed to dry clothes via efficient air flow. Invented by chemical engineering senior Andrew Burton.

The $1,000 Younkle Best Presentation Award

  • Plant Oil Burning Stove

Sorenson $1,000 Design Notebook Award

  • Solar Panel Snow Removal System, a motor-powered system to "squeegee" snow or debris off without damaging the panels. Invented by mechanical engineering senior Adam Strutz and industrial and systems engineering graduate Elizabeth Konkol.

High-resolution photos

A system to make fruit tree pesticide spraying safer for people and the environment won the top prize and $10,000 in the Schoofs Prize for Creativity, an annual competition at the University of Wisconsin-Madison that rewards innovative and marketable ideas.

The Automated Pest Elimination, or APEL, system was developed by mechanical engineering junior Tom Gerold and finance sophomore Kara Anderson.

"APEL is the smarter way to spray," says Gerold. APEL is the first fully automated and self-contained spraying unit. It includes a vertical support pipe connected to tank assembly, which is set next to a fruit tree. A spray arm extends horizontally across the top of the system and rotates around the tree, and in only one or two rotations, the tree is properly coated. The system will also incorporate a rain sensor and microcontroller that can adjust the spraying schedule based on the weather.

The automatic spray schedule will insure the tree is sprayed enough to protect it from fruit-destroying pests, while eliminating the over-spraying that often happens when trees are manually sprayed. Additionally, the system will protect fruit tree owners from sustained exposure to chemicals.

Poly Form Pack, Nate Cira and chemical engineering senior Alex Rio, first place Tong Prototype Prize and second place Schoofs Prize for Creativity

Poly Form Pack, invented by Nate Circa and Alex Riio, first place Tong Prototype Prize and second place Schoofs Prize for Creativity view larger image

An innovative piece of backpacking equipment, called the PolyForm Pack, won $2,500 and first place in the Tong Prototype Prize, which is the second competition that makes up Innovation Days. Developed by biomedical engineering junior Nate Cira and chemical engineering senior Alex Rio, the PolyForm Pack combines a sleeping pad, backpack, sleeping shelter and chair into a waterproof pack that weighs less than five pounds.

A motor-powered system to "squeegee" snow or debris off without damaging the panels won the Sorenson Best Design Notebook award and $1,000. The system was invented by mechanical engineering senior Adam Strutz and industrial and systems engineering graduate Elizabeth Konkol.

A plant oil burning stove invented by a group of students from the UW-Madison chapter of Engineers Without Borders won the Younkle Best Presentation award and $1,000. Called CocoStove, the invention would replace wood charcoal stoves in rural Haiti by burning native plant oils. Electrical engineering senior Jason Lohr, mechanical engineering senior Eyleen Chou and biomedical engineering senior Tyler Lark developed the stove.

"The caliber of the students' work this year was an outstanding testament to the culture of innovation here on campus," says Student Leadership Center Director Alicia Jackson. "Congratulations to all of the participants."

The winners were selected from 23 inventions developed by 37 students participating in the 16th annual Innovation Days. Held February 12-13 on the UW-Madison College of Engineering campus, the competition is open to all UW-Madison undergraduates. Registration for the 2011 competition opens February 15. Learn more at innovation.wisc.edu.

Other Schoofs Prize for Creativity winners include:

Second place and $7,000 — PolyForm Pack, which combines a sleeping pad, backpack, sleeping shelter and chair into a lightweight, waterproof piece of backpacking equipment. Invented by biomedical engineering junior Nate Cira and chemical engineering senior Alex Rio.

Third place and $4,000 — TriCrimp, a lightweight, pneumatic crimping tool for steel fastening that replaces tedious hand-crimping tools and bulky mechanical crimpers. Invented by mechanical engineering junior Scott Johanek.

Fourth place and $1,000 — Plant Oil Burning Stove, an inexpensive cooking stove that burns plant oils and would replace wood charcoal stoves, as well as create a new industry in rural Haiti. Invented by electrical engineering senior Jason Lohr, mechanical engineering senior Eyleen Chou and biomedical engineering senior Tyler Lark.

Other Tong Prototype Prize winners include:

Second place and $1,250 — APEL System, an automated, self-contained system to spray fruit trees while minimizing pesticide overspraying. Invented by mechanical engineering junior Tom Gerold and finance sophomore Kara Anderson.

Third place and $700 — BreezeDry, a specialized towel bar with fans designed to dry clothes via efficient air flow. Invented by chemical engineering senior Andrew Burton.

Additional prizes include:

Sorenson Best Design Notebook Award and $1,000 — Solar Panel Snow Removal System, a motor-powered system to "squeegee" snow or debris off without damaging the panels. Invented by mechanical engineering senior Adam Strutz and industrial and systems engineering graduate Elizabeth Konkol.

Younkle Best Presentation Award and $1,000 — Plant Oil Burning Stove, an inexpensive cooking stove that burns plant oils and would replace wood charcoal stoves, as well as create a new industry in rural Haiti. Invented by electrical engineering senior Jason Lohr, mechanical engineering senior Eyleen Chou and biomedical engineering senior Tyler Lark.

Tri Crimp, Scott Johanek, third place Schoofs Prize for Creativity

Tri Crimp, invented by Scott Johanek, third place Schoofs Prize for Creativity view larger image

Plant Oil Burning Stove, invented by Lohr, Eyleen Chou and Tyler Lark,  fourth place Schoofs Prize for Creativity and Younkle Best Presentation Award

Plant Oil Burning Stove, invented by Lohr, Eyleen Chou and Tyler Lark, fourth place Schoofs Prize for Creativity and Younkle Best Presentation Award view larger image

BreezeDry, invented Andrew Burton, third place Tong Prototype Prize

BreezeDry, invented Andrew Burton, third place Tong Prototype Prize view larger image










Engineering External Relations
2/12/2010