At the Collegiate Inventors Competition® (CIC), the most creative and innovative college students from across the country meet in Alexandria, Virginia, to present their work to Judges including National Inventors Hall of Fame® Inductees and United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) officials. These teams of promising young inventors compete for cash prizes and patent acceleration.
CIC has provided incredible opportunities since 1990. This year’s competition, which was held Oct. 24-25, was especially exciting because Finalists also were invited to attend the National Inventors Hall of Fame 50th Anniversary Induction Ceremony, giving us a unique opportunity to recognize generations of inspiring innovators.
Congratulations to Our 2023 CIC Undergraduate Winners!
Representing the Georgia Institute of Technology, our Undergraduate Winners are Netra Gandhi, Rhea Prem, Ethan Damiani; and Girish Hari of Team FADpad!
FADpad makes accessible, at-home screening a reality. While one of the most common diagnostic tools in women's health, the Papanicolaou test (or Pap smear) is often uncomfortable, regarded as an invasion of privacy and even stigmatized in some cultures, FADpad offers a new approach to testing. This at-home menstrual blood screening tool allows users to collect their personal health information safely, comfortably and privately. By reaching users with limited access to the healthcare system, this invention could help address health disparities and prevent early deaths from cervical cancer among people who menstruate.
As our Undergraduate Winner, the FADpad team received a cash prize of $10,000 and a USPTO Patent Acceleration Certificate.
Explaining what motived the FADpad team to get involved with CIC, Gandhi said, “My team and I wanted the opportunity to network with other inventors and make connections in order to increase our outreach and potential for funding.” Hari added, “We also saw the top prize of patent acceleration and were very interested in that as we were in the process of drafting a provisional patent.”
FADpad’s potential impact cannot be overstated, Prem said. “All women deserve to know what is going on in their body and this information should be easily accessible,” she said. “FADpad has the opportunity to revolutionize women’s healthcare and allow women to take control of their health.”
The team is confident in its ability to successfully bring their invention to market, Damiani said. “It is not a matter of if this product will ever make it to the market, but when and with what team. I believe that we are the team to do it.”
Congratulations to Our 2023 CIC Undergraduate Runner-Up!
Our Undergraduate Runner-Up team is the Bronchosleeve team: Sneha Batheja, Ria Jha, Charlie Almoney and Arijit Nukala, representing Johns Hopkins University!
The Bronchosleeve supports safety in surgery. While one-lung ventilation (OLV), a procedure that provides surgeons with access to organs obstructed by an inflated lung, is required in 98% of pulmonary and cardiothoracic surgeries, current OLV devices have a 40% failure rate and often cause postoperative complications. The Bronchosleeve is a flexible yet sturdy device offering many advantages over existing OLV devices. It is easy to insert, won't dislodge during surgery and aids visualization with a bronchoscope. In addition to addressing disparities and reducing patient injuries, this invention could decrease surgical time by 40% and save hospitals over $45,000 per procedure.
Team Bronchosleeve brought home a $5,000 cash prize and a USPTO Patent Acceleration Certificate to advance its innovative journey.
“CIC offers a great environment for networking, idea exchange and collaboration,” said Jha. Describing the team’s efforts in developing the Bronchosleeve and bringing it to CIC, Almoney shared, “I am most proud of the hard work our team has put into this project. We have spent years researching the problem, brainstorming solutions and observing procedures to develop the most effective solution possible.”
The Bronchosleeve stands to make a major impact in patient care. “Beyond saving lives, our innovation marks a significant step toward elevating the standard of care for segments of the population that have long been overlooked: the elderly, women and people of color,” Jha said. While these populations face a higher likelihood of complications in intubation, leading to poor clinical outcomes after one-lung ventilation and thoracic surgery, Nukala explained that the Bronchosleeve “addresses this disparity by specifically considering the requirements of neglected patient groups to bring equity to treatment.”
Congratulations to Our People’s Choice Winner!
Determined by nationwide public voting, this year’s winner of the Arrow Electronics People’s Choice Award is Daniel Collins of Team NucleoTide, representing Duke University!
NucleoTide efficiently monitors ocean health. Over the past several decades, a combination of natural and human-caused factors has led to an increase in the frequency, duration, size and impact of harmful algal blooms, with a global economic impact estimated at more than $8 billion annually. In response, Collins developed a molecular diagnostic platform that uses CRISPR-based biosensors to rapidly identify marine pathogens and harmful algal blooms. With a low-cost, hand-held device that filters and processes water samples, NucleoTide enables lab-free, on-site ocean health monitoring and provides results in less than an hour, offering both economic and environmental benefits. Thanks to the generous support of Arrow Electronics, Collins walked away from his CIC experience with a $2,000 prize.
Discussing the invention he brought to CIC, Collins said, “Marine life, large and small, increasingly needs our attention due to warming oceans, and I am committed to taking on this challenge as an innovator. I am most proud of creating an innovative platform – NucleoTide – which has relevant applications that can benefit both people and our oceans, preventing them from unnecessary harm.”