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Student inventors make final preparations for Innovation Day competition

Inventions and improvements from paint brushes and automobiles to surgical tools, bike helmets and table saws are competing for honors in the 2002 BRAINSTORM: The Schoofs Prize for Creativity and Tong Prototype Prize, to be held on Innovation Day, Monday, Feb. 11.

Now in its eighth 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 and likely to succeed in the marketplace.

Winners will be announced in the afternoon of Innovation Day, the College of Engineering's annual celebration of Thomas Edison's birthday.

All events are free and open to the public.


Edison generator in Engineering Hall

Professor and ECE Chair Dugald C. Jackson convinced exhibitors at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago to donate equipment to the university including the Edison Dynamo. (large image)


  • 8:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. — Presentation of student entries in 1610 Engineering Hall, 1415 Engineering Drive. The poster session will be in the atrium of Engineering Hall.


  • 1:30 p.m. — Keynote address by Tom Kelly, CEO, Imago Systems, "Building a Technology into a Successful Company."


  • 2:45 p.m. — Thomas Edison returns to power the Edison Dynamo that he used in his first public exhibition of incandescent electric light.


  • 4:30 p.m. — Judges will award more than $24,000 in prizes to the top inventors.

Students who attend invention presentations and the keynote speech are eligible to win door prizes for each event they attend. Prizes include Hewlett Packard computer products and items from Luther's Blues and UW Bookstore.

This year's entries include:


  • MPRTI (Multipurpose Rotary Tool Improvement): an improved form of rotary tool that can function as a grinder, drill, saw, sander, rotary file and router.


  • Book Hand Pack: a book bag alternative that provides a gripping surface and protection from sweaty hands.


  • Self-Sufficient Windscreen Wiper Water Tank: a device to filter automobile windscreen fluid and return it to the fluid reservoir.


  • Check-Meter: a lightweight, clamp mounted, unidirectional accelerometer used to measure negative acceleration, or "check" of a rowing shell.


  • Portable Voice Calibrator: a device to assist in voice therapy treatments


  • Non-adhesive Bioreactor for in vitro Cell Culture: a bioreactor designed to keep cells in suspension and away from the sides of the vessel.


  • Fishing Pole for Quadriplegics: a pole designed to cast multiple distances and reel in a 5-pound fish.


  • MR Gantry: a bench-like device to be used in conjunction with an MRI scanner to provide rotation to the five lumbar vertebrae of the spine.


  • Automatic Intravenous Insertion Device: a portable device for inserting an IV into a suitable vein located by 3D ultrasound.


  • Drywall Lift: a device for holding drywall in place as it is attached to a wall.


  • Redesigned Paintbrush: a paintbrush with an ergonomic handle and attachment for cleaning.


  • Shingle Stripper: a compact, lightweight, pneumatically powered device to increase productivity and decrease physical strain while removing shingles from a roof.


  • Motor Vehicle Data Recorder: like the "black box" used to record flight data from aircraft, this device records data for automobiles to aid in the analysis of accidents.


  • Self-disarming Suture Needle: a suture needle designed to prevent disease transmission caused by accidental sticks. The design includes a fluid-filled balloon that when depressed, causes the suture needle to protrude from a protective sheath. Releasing the balloon mechanism retracts the suture needle.


  • AKSYS (Anti Kickback System): a system to stop material kickback in table saws.


  • Cryogenic Freezing System for Biological Specimens: a means for the cryopreservation of small samples of biological tissues.


  • Cauterizing Biopsy System: an apparatus and method for reducing and possibly eliminating bleeding in biopsy procedures through the application of radio-frequency heating.


  • No Maintenance Integrated Helmet Lighting System: a solar powered lighting system built into a bicycle helmet.


  • Ski-Binding System: a design to reduce the incidence and/or grade of knee injuries.