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Student innovation competition set for Feb. 12 and 13

Katie Plzak

Katie Plzak won first prize in 2003 the Schoofs Prize for Creativity for her Visual Flow Regime Detection System. (large image)

Aaron Bland

Aaron Bland won first place in the 2003 Tong Prototype Prize competition for his full suspension bicycle frame. He also won a fourth-place prize in the Schoofs Prize for Creativity competition. (large image)

On Feb. 12 and 13, 2004, UW-Madison undergraduate student inventors will bring medical devices, bicycles, a ballista, a tattoo machine, time-sensitive paper, computer furniture and more bright ideas to the Engineering Centers Building for the 10th annual Innovation Day competition.

The students will compete for more than $24,000 in prizes in the Schoofs Prize for Creativity and Tong Prototype Prize competitions. In its 10th year, the contest awards cash prizes to those ideas and inventions that are judged the most innovative and most likely to succeed in the marketplace.

The event, which includes presentation judging and prototype viewing, is free and open to the public. UW-Madison students can collect a door-prize ticket for each invention presentation they attend; prizes include computer electronics, merchandise from area businesses and Babcock ice cream.

Winners will be announced at the competition's close on Friday, Feb. 13.

The Schoofs Prize for Creativity is sponsored by UW-Madison Chemical and Biological Engineering alumnus Richard J. Schoofs (BS '53); the Tong Prototype Prizes and grants are funded by the Tong Family Foundation, including Electrical and Computer Engineering alumnus Peter P. Tong (MS '65).

The Engineering Centers Building is located at 1550 Engineering Drive. Limited public parking is available in the adjacent ramp. There is construction in the area but both the north and east ramp entrances are open.

Feb. 12 schedule:

8 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. — Presentation of student entries in the Tong Auditorium, Engineering Centers Building, 1550 Engineering Drive. During this time, all prototypes and student posters will be available for viewing in the building's atrium.

Feb. 13 schedule:

7:45 a.m. to 9 a.m. — Presentation of student entries in the Tong Auditorium, Engineering Centers Building. During this time, some prototypes and student posters will be available for viewing in the building's atrium.

11:30 a.m. — Awards ceremony and door-prize drawing, Tong Auditorium, Engineering Centers Building.

12:45 p.m. — Celebration of Thomas Edison's birthday, Engineering Hall west wing lobby. The event includes a visit from Thomas Edison and powering of his 1880s generator.

This year's entries include:

Air-Tuner Drum System: A pneumatically driven device for tuning drums.

Angular Lifting Dolly: A device that enables one person to lift and move heavy objects with reduced physical exertion and risk of injury.

Aqua Blitz: A floating ballista that launches its passenger into deep water.

Barrel Tattoo Machine: An improved, battery-operated device that applies elaborate decorative tattoos to human skin.

Cello Talon: An attachment for the endpin of a violoncello that keeps the large stringed instrument from slipping on any surface.

Disabled Patient Positioning System: A portable platform that can lift and rotate an occupied wheelchair for better patient access to vital health-care equipment.

Disc Finder: A transmitter-based system that helps disc golfers locate misplaced discs.

Flexi-desk: An adjustable, portable computer desk.

Hands-Free Page Turner: A page-turning device that works automatically or via foot pedal.

Ice Light: A replaceable edge-lighted film that creates illuminated images such as logos or advertising within ice sheets in ice arenas.

Ice Net X: A novel tool for landing large fish while ice fishing.

Infinitely Variable Chain-Driven Transmission: A replacement for the standard bicycle derailleur, it provides an infinite number of drive ratios, making a more user-friendly, robust shifting system.

Inflatable Transfer Assistance Platform: A two-stage inflation device that allows aides to easily and safely lift a patient who has fallen.

Lighted Christmas Stocking: A decoration that also can be filled with gifts.

MatrixSticker: A matrix of time-sensitive paper that changes color after a specified amount of time has elapsed.

Polymer Pellet Separation via Density: An automated method for separating different types of polymer resin pellets for plastics processes.

Portable Computer-Aided Drug Dispenser: A device that helps patients adhere to their medication regimens.

S-BMX: A conversion kit that transforms BMX-style bicycles into downhill skiing machines for the extreme sport ski-biking.

Smart Music (Sheet Music Flipper): Portable device that automatically turns sheet-music pages on a music stand.

The GAS System: An on-board fuel-processing and engine-cooling system for vehicles with an internal hydrogen-combustion engine.

The Laptop EZ Store: A removable desk-mounted laptop support that doubles as a space-efficient storage device.

Tub Timer: A bathtub valve that automatically shuts off water flow after a specified amount of time.