Since 1990, the nation’s most innovative college students have entered the Collegiate Inventors Competition® (CIC) to present their cutting-edge inventions to Judges including National Inventors Hall of Fame® Inductees and United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) officials. This year’s competition was held Oct. 11-12 in the Clara Barton Auditorium at the USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia.
Congratulations to Our 2022 CIC Undergraduate Winner
Our 2022 Undergraduate Winner is the CatheSure team: Kathleen Fallon, Ally Reichart, Karly Ripple and Jordan Cole from Clemson University. The CatheSure is the first device that noninvasively and wirelessly detects the failure of ventriculoperitoneal shunts, which are used to treat hydrocephalus, or the buildup of fluid within the brain’s ventricles. Hydrocephalus affects patients of all ages, including one in 500 children worldwide.
“When CatheSure was created, its technology was intended to reduce expenses, reduce surgical procedures and reduce hospital time,” said Ripple.
As our Undergraduate Winner, the CatheSure team received a cash prize of $10,000 and a USPTO Patent Acceleration Certificate. Additionally, the team was named the winner of the 2022 Arrow Electronics People’s Choice Award. This award, which is voted on by the public, earned the team an additional $2,000.
“We came together simply as a team for a class, and our project became something much bigger,” shared Cole. “So we felt that we wanted to continue to move forward especially in hopes for an accelerated patent.”
All CIC Finalists receive invaluable feedback from intellectual property experts and world-changing Hall of Famers. Reichart said, “This feedback not only allows us to tailor the CatheSure to further meet the needs of the patient, FDA, physicians, etc., it allows us to gauge our progress and be proud of how far we have come and to look forward to where we are going!”
Discussing the team’s winning invention, Fallon shared, “I am really proud of my whole team’s time and effort that we’ve put into this invention. It truly is a combination of the best of each of us. I’m also proud of how meaningful the invention is and that it can help so many people in the future.”
Congratulations to Our Undergraduate Runner-Up
Our Undergraduate Runner-Up is the Dynamic Brace team: Hannah Yamagata, Jenlu Pagnotta and Delphine Tan of Johns Hopkins University.
Earning a $5,000 cash prize, the team invented a solution for more successful clubfoot care. A birth defect causing the foot or feet to turn inward and downward, clubfoot affects one in 1,000 U.S. infants annually, can hinder the ability to walk and is typically treated with a rigid “boots and bar” brace system connecting and demobilizing the feet. The soft, flexible, lightweight Dynamic Brace eliminates the need for a connecting bar, and supports mobility and comfort by allowing both feet to move independently.
“I am most proud of our invention’s improvement from the previous method of treatment and our design’s potential,” shared Tan. In addition to enhancing comfort and mobility, the team points out that their invention lowers costs for families.
Yamagata explained that while the traditional brace system is expensive, the Dynamic Brace is designed to “make clubfoot treatment more comfortable for children and affordable for their parents.” Pagnotta agreed and added, “I think it is important to make medical devices more affordable and accessible. I also think it is particularly important to make something that betters people’s daily lives.”