Inaugural ACC Inventure Prize held at Ferst Center

The first ever Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) InVenture Prize was held at Tech’s very own Ferst Center, televised live on Public Broadcasting Service.

There were three awards presented for to go toward furthering the product: $15,000 for first place, $10,000 for second place and $5000 for the people’s choice award. The conference was held from April 5–6.

The event was put together by a steering committee, consisting of a member from each ACC university present, to highlight student inventors and entrepreneurs.

On the first night, there were a total of 15 competing teams, five of which continued on to the final round on April 6.

The ten teams from the first night who did not move on are from the following schools: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, University of Miami, University of Louisville, Wake Forest University, Florida State University, University of Notre Dame, Syracuse University, North Carolina State University, University of Pittsburgh and Clemson University.

The five finalists for the competition were from the following schools: University of North Carolina, Boston College, University of Virginia, Duke University and Georgia Tech.

Faith Salie and Ashley Mengwasser, both Emmy-winning ladies, were the night’s host and co-host, respectively. The stage was set up much like the scene of Shark Tank: each of the five teams came out and quickly present a pitch for their invention to a panel of three esteemed judges. The 2016 InVenture Prize judges were Tammy Camp, Vivienne Goldstein and Doron Weber.

After a brief introduction by Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson and Professor Peter Ludovice, the presentations began.

The first students to present were Zachary Braun, third-year CPME, and Tyler Sisk, third-year EE, representing Tech on team FireHUD. Their invention is a “Heads Up Display” (HUD) and a real time monitoring system that displays environmental and biometric data to firefighters and officials using the system. The information is presented to the user continuously for him or her to see in order to improve safety and communication when in unfavorable or hostile situations.

The inventors came up with this idea after going to a bonfire, where they talked to a firefighter and realized the lack of safety firefighters deal with as part of their jobs. FireHUD was awarded the People’s Choice Award.

The next team, Biometrix from Duke, was a team of athletes, Gabrielle Levac and Ivonna Dumanyan, who invented a device that serves as a preventative solution to injuries by predicting them and making it possible to avoid them. They achieved this my creating a wireless motion capture sensor that athletes could wear.

Their goal is to keep people in sports healthy. The ladies began the process for their research and product development about two and half years ago. After a lot of hard work, they were awarded the First Place prize for the competition.

UNC – Chapel Hill’s team, CommuniGift, proposed a way to redefine the way kids celebrate their birthdays. The members created an online birthday invitation platform that allows the host of the party to invite his or her friends to give gifts to underprivileged children. Their idea has already shown success, and contrary to what some might expect, children also get excited over giving gifts on their birthdays, not just receiving them.

The fourth team to make their pitch to the judges, Contraline from University of Virginia, explained a brand new contraceptive for males that lasts years. Unlike many existing contraceptives, it puts the responsibility on males, is reversible and does not require any surgery.

The procedure is supposed to be as quick as a flu shot, through the skin. A polymer gel is injected that physically blocks the vas deferens tubes while still allowing fluids to pass. To reverse the procedure or “renew” it as necessary every few years, one must revisit the doctor. Contraline won second place in the competition.

MOcean from Boston College was the final team to present. MOcean created a real-time music application that allows anyone to listen to their music through their preferred streaming service and share the music they are listening to with others.

In other words, others can individually listen to one’s music at the same exact time — like listening to a radio. It allows people to be a part of each others’ musical experiences.

After the award presentation, all fifteen teams moved to the Student Center Ballroom where refreshments were provided. Each team had a table where people could go and ask any questions.

All fifteen teams and their products impressed the audience members with their incredible initiative and innovation.

During the program, Peterson joked, “I love this. I’m a mechanical engineer, … but coming to this competition always gives me a headache … because I go, ‘Why didn’t I think of that?’”