Flow-detection system, bicycle frame take top honors in invention competition
A computer-based imaging system that enables researchers to evaluate conditions when a vapor and a liquid flow together through a pipeline took top honors and $10,000 in the Schoofs Prize for Creativity, an annual innovation competition held on the UW-Madison campus. Chemical engineering senior Katie Plzak developed the system.
"The AB-1," a full-suspension bicycle frame for serious mountain-bike racers, demonstrated a shock-absorbing system for the rear wheel. The invention and prototype, designed and built by mechanical engineering senior Aaron Bland, won first place and $2,500 in the Tong Prototype Prize competition. Bland's invention also tied for fourth place in the Schoofs Prize for Creativity.
The winners were chosen from a field of 15 ideas and inventions, including a tent that enabled its occupants to sleep under the stars and a solar-powered smoke detector, exhibited and displayed during Innovation Day, held Feb. 10 on the UW-Madison College of Engineering campus. Both competitions award cash prizes to those whose ideas are judged most creative, novel, innovative and likely to succeed in the marketplace.
Other winners include:
Schoofs Prize for Creativity
- Second place and $7,000 — "Wing Nut," an adjustable passive-protection device used in rock climbing. The device mounts in a range of rock crack sizes. Invented by Seth GaleWyrick, Chester McDonald and Travis Wiltzius.
- Third place and $4,000 — "Releasable Wakeboard Binding," a wakeboard binding that could prevent serious fall-related injuries by releasing the boot from the board in multiple positions. Invented by Jason Zuleger.
- Fourth place and $1,000 (tie) — "The AB-1," a full-suspension bicycle frame. Invented by Aaron Bland.
- Fourth place and $1,000 (tie) — "Personal In-Flight Exercise Equipment (PIFEE), inspired by several recent lawsuits against airlines, PIFEE is a simple exercise device that enables the user to stimulate the lower-leg muscles during long airline flights to prevent blood clots in the legs. Invented by Brent Schultz, Mark Schumacher, Stephanie Wysocky, Chris Wessing and Jennifer Rutt.
Tong Prototype Prize
- Second place and $1,250 — "Wing Nut," an adjustable passive-protection device used in rock climbing. Invented by Seth GaleWyrick, Chester McDonald and Travis Wiltzius.
- Third place and $700 — "The Ferrosphere," a spherically shaped entertainment module that combines the visual appeal of a Lava Lamp with the interactive capabilities of electronic music visualization. Invented by Ryan Wolff and Matthew Hungerford.
The competitions are sponsored by the UW Technology Enterprise Cooperative. The Schoofs Prize for Creativity is funded by Richard J. Schoofs, who received a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering in 1953 from UW-Madison. The Tong Prototype Prizes and grants are sponsored by the Tong Family Foundation, including COE alumnus Peter P. Tong, who received his master of science degree in electrical and computer engineering in 1965.