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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

It All Starts With an Idea

Clint Ballinger (shaking hands, center), Executive Entrepreneur in Residence at the Severino Center, presents the award to the Emergency Initial Responder Drone team.

June 5, 2018

It All Starts With an Idea

Winners announced for Rensselaer student entrepreneurship competitions

An automatic door control system, an emergency response drone, a specialized drawing board, a planter system that cleans the air, a product to prevent plaque (re)growth on surgical stents, and a novel use of gamification for community security are all winners of the spring 2018 Change the World Challenge student innovation competition at Rensselaer.

Kapshur Labs earned the “Best of the Best” honor and a $5,000 grand prize with its aim to conquer restenosis (subsequent plaque buildup) in patients receiving stents to treat artery disease. This supplemental add-on device will reduce the number of repeat surgeries needed for the 1 million Americans receiving traditional cardiac or peripheral stents annually. Created by Kapila Chandramouli ’18, mechanical engineering.   The Change the World Challenge entrepreneurship competition is a twice-yearly event created to support entrepreneurship education and inspire Rensselaer students to develop their unique ideas into a viable business concept. The winning students and student teams who develop innovative ideas and inventions each receive a prize of $1,000. Patent application assistance is also available for the winning student proposals when applicable.

Established in 2005 by Rensselaer alumnus and entrepreneur Sean O’Sullivan ’85, the Change the World Challenge competition has helped to validate more than 150 new student ideas. The competition is overseen by the Paul J. ’69 and Kathleen M. Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship in the Lally School of Management. Students involved in the competition develop ideas that have the potential to improve human life through innovative and sustainable solutions.

“The Change the World Challenge is an excellent way to encourage students to develop and grow innovative ideas for businesses. The Severino Center does an excellent job running this competition, not just with the final event but also in working all semester with the students to prepare their entrepreneurial ideas,” said Thomas Begley, dean of the Lally School of Management. “Sean O’Sullivan’s generous contribution makes this competition possible. Through his own career, he stands as a role model for students thinking about becoming entrepreneurs.”

“It is great to see student entrepreneurs changing the world through entrepreneurship,” said Jason Kuruzovich, academic director of the Severino Center. “Entrepreneurship is the vehicle by which so many of our alumni have brought lasting change to the world.”  

The winning ideas for the spring 2018 competition cover a variety of innovative devices, processes, and technologies:

The Automatic Door Controls Project is a system that allows users to open automatic doors around campus via a phone app. This product brings handicap accessibility into the 21st century without sacrificing building security. Created by Andrew DeMarco ’18, electrical engineering; Mallory Gaspard ’18, math/physics; Jack Hulton ’20, computer science; Erin Jordan ’18, computer science; Jacob Lane ’18, computer science; and Niteesh Thangaraj ’20, computer science.

Emergency Initial Responder Drone is a drone that enables bystanders to help a person in need, prior to the arrival of trained first-responders. This system is specifically designed for people in remote, rural areas or densely packed cities, as these locations often experience delays in the arrival of paramedics. Created by Rian Farrelly ’20, computer science; William Hudnut ’20, aerospace engineering; Kevin Roughan ’20, computer science; and Ria Shroff ’19, biomedical engineering/design, innovation, and society.

2 Point Perspective Drawing Board is an instructional art tool that simplifies drawing in realistic perspective. This product reduces the stress and complication of learning to draw at an accelerated level. Created by Lilit Balagyozyan ’20, design innovation and society/mechanical engineering; and Andrew Mendoza ’19, design, innovation, and society.

Growing Clean Air is an effort to educate users about the benefits that everyday houseplants can have on reducing VOCs and other airborne pollutants in densely populated spaces. The specially designed planters with moisture sensors provide even those without green thumbs with clean air and the emotional benefits of caring for plants. Created by Lam Detzler ’20, design, innovation, and society; Brad Matheus ’19, design, innovation, and society; and Sarah Simmons ’21, design, innovation, and society/mechanical engineering.

Kapshur Labs aims to conquer restenosis (subsequent plaque buildup) in patients receiving stents to treat artery disease. This supplemental add-on device will reduce the number of repeat surgeries needed for the 1 million Americans receiving traditional cardiac or peripheral stents annually. Created by Kapila Chandramouli ’18, mechanical engineering.

ASPECT is the Advanced Security Platform for Enterprise Communication and Tracking. Using gamification to encourage user participation in security “missions,” this IT service will employ the public to supplement existing security tactics by using their own personal smart phones. Created by Joshua Chicorelli ’18, MBA; Alexander Gentile, ’18 M.S., management; Peter Kloss ’18, M.S., technology commercialization and entrepreneurship; Alexander Shulman ’18, M.S., technology commercialization and entrepreneurship; and Benjamin Volk, information technology and web science.

Rensselaer Class of 1951 Student Entrepreneurship Award

The Rensselaer Class of 1951 Student Entrepreneurship Award was established over a decade ago to encourage undergraduate and graduate students to pursue early development of entrepreneurial ideas into successful ventures. The group is one of the most active, generous, and supportive alumni/ae groups at Rensselaer. Following are this year’s award winners:

First place ($2,500): EIR Drone is a drone that enables bystanders to help a person in need, prior to the arrival of trained first-responders. This system is specifically designed for people in remote, rural areas or densely packed cities, as these locations often experience delays in the arrival of paramedics. Created by Rian Farrelly ’20, computer science; William Hudnut ’20, aerospace engineering; Kevin Roughan ’20, computer science; and Ria Shroff ’19, biomedical engineering/design, innovation, and society.      Second place ($1,500): Compact Real-Time Nuclear Detector is a device that can bring peace of mind to people with concerns of nuclear terror attacks by providing increased preparedness, detection, and counteraction at an individual level. Current detection methods are bulky and limiting, and this technology is compact and delivers real-time results. Created by Christopher Lore ’18, geology; and Madison Wyatt ’18, applied math and physics.

Third place ($1,000): Automatic Door Control is a system that allows users to open automatic doors around campus via a phone app. This product brings handicap accessibility into the 21st century without sacrificing building security. Created by Andrew DeMarco ’18, electrical engineering; Mallory Gaspard ’18, math/physics; Jack Hulton ’20, computer science; Erin Jordan ’18, computer science; Jacob Lane ’18, computer science; and Niteesh Thangaraj ’20, computer science.