In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this year's Collegiate Inventors Competition® (CIC) will be held virtually. Please contact [email protected] with any questions.

Take Your Innovation to the Next Level with Our Collegiate Inventors Competition

Each year, the nation’s most creative college students come together to compete while networking with world-class inventors.

What is the Collegiate Inventors Competition?

The Collegiate Inventors Competition® is a unique competition that can take your invention to the next level through networking, marketing exposure, mentorship and more!

Since 1990, with the help of our sponsors, we have awarded more than $1 million to students nationwide.

Here’s what you can expect from the CIC experience. First, the competition kicks off as our Finalists attend a virtual welcome session. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to network with other students, as well as with United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) officials.

Next, the competition heats up as Finalists present their inventions to a panel of Judges made up of the most influential inventors and innovation experts in the country — National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF) Inductees and United States Patent and Trademark Office officials and patent examiners.

Congratulations 2020 CIC Winners!

Graduate Winner: SanaHeal

Graduate Runner-Up: Hearo

Undergraduate Winner: Universally Friendly Obturator (UFO)

Undergraduate Runner-Up: Dyad Syringe

Arrow Electronics People's Choice Award Winner: TrachTech

2021 Undergraduate Finalists

Matthew Maggio
Matthew Maggio
Florida Atlantic University
Advisers: Regina Thompson, Hari Kalva
Air-Coupled Ultrasonic Transduction Inspection System (ACUTIS)

Wooden utility poles are subject to rot, holes, cracks and other defects, both above and below ground, increasing the risk of power outages and making poles unsafe for utility workers. In contrast to standard inspection methods, which are inefficient and can introduce new injuries to the wood, the Air-Coupled Ultrasonic Transduction Inspection System (ACUTIS) provides an efficient, noninvasive and nondestructive way to identify unserviceable poles. ACUTIS uses ultrasonic waves to penetrate the wood’s interior and detect defects without changing the integrity of the structure, allowing energy providers to reliably maintain service and ensure safety.

Stephen Kalinsky
Jared Meyers
Stephen Kalinsky, Jared Meyers
Georgia Institute of Technology
Adviser: Martin Jacobson
Augment Health Bladder Management System

Over 6.5 million people in the U.S. alone have limited bladder sensation. They cannot feel when their bladder is full and often suffer incontinence. Many use incontinence products or a catheter and collection bag. Often, these solutions lead to urinary tract infections and are costly, difficult and embarrassing to manage. The Augment Health Bladder Management System is a noninvasive connection between a catheter and catheter valve that monitors the bladder and tells the user when it’s full via their smart device, eliminating the need for obtrusive incontinence products. This invention has the potential to reduce costs and infections, restore dignity and offer better quality of care.

Eva Cai
Eva Cai
Harvard University
Advisers: Samir Mitragotri, Aaron Remenschneider
EarFlow

Otitis media, or middle ear infection, is a painful condition triggering excess fluid production in the middle ear, affecting the eardrum by altering its vibration and hearing levels. It is especially common in young children. EarFlow is a drug delivery device that is placed on a patient’s eardrum to deliver dexamethasone, a steroid, and ciprofloxacin, an antibiotic, to the middle ear to treat otitis media. Placing the device takes less than five minutes in a doctor’s office and does not require general anesthesia. With low cytotoxicity and low risk of hearing damage, EarFlow offers a vast improvement from standard treatments for recurrent infections.

Siddharth Thakur
Siddharth Thakur
University of Texas at Austin
Adviser: Roland Fields
Firebot

Firefighters face life-threatening situations while searching for human life in structural fires, leading to 33 fatalities in the past decade and 10,575 injuries in 2019 alone. Firebot, a thermally insulated, wirelessly controlled, obstacle-climbing robot, locates victims without requiring firefighters to enter burning buildings. Firefighters can deploy Firebot near an entrance and remotely steer it using a joystick and laptop displaying live video, thermal imagery and sensor data, which warns of potentially hazardous situations. Firefighters can use a two-way speaker to lead conscious victims out, or a siren and GPS map to allow them to quickly find and rescue unconscious victims, helping to mitigate risks and save lives.

Juan Diego Carrizo
Bruce Enzmann
Michael Lan
Anson Zhou
Juan Diego Carrizo, Bruce Enzmann, Michael Lan, Anson Zhou
Johns Hopkins University
Adviser: Hai-Quan Mao
Innerva Conduit

Of the nearly 2 million adult amputees nationwide, up to 80% have severe, intractable neuroma pain. A preferred treatment is targeted muscle reinnervation (TMR), suturing the injured nerve stump to a freshly cut motor nerve. However, roughly 30% of TMR patients still suffer from chronic pain due to an inherent neuroma-prone size mismatch. The Innerva Conduit can be implanted during TMR as a bridge between nerves. This flexible, cone-shaped device is made from a polymer nanofiber that prevents axons from escaping and forming neuromas. Filled with a composite gel that serves as a medium to support regeneration while controlling nerve growth biochemically, the conduit is both biocompatible and biodegradable.

Katelyn France
Katelyn France
University of Minnesota Duluth
Adviser: Cynthia Welsh
MAQR Bracelets

Many people with chronic diseases, allergies and disabilities wear emergency medical bracelets. However, these bracelets are typically limited to just four lines of text. Medical Assistance via Quick Response (MAQR) bracelets use a quick response code, or QR code, so that in an emergency, anyone can use a smartphone with QR code scanning capabilities to reach either a static text page or an updatable webpage providing necessary medical information and emergency measures. MAQR Bracelets can hold a nearly infinite amount of information and can be made available in different styles, all at an affordable price.

2021 Graduate Finalists

Len Assakul
Pratik Doshi
Anish Nigade
Kelly Yang
Len Assakul, Pratik Doshi, Anish Nigade, Kelly Yang
Duke University
Adviser: Eric Richardson
ArchGuard

Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is a medical procedure to replace a diseased aortic valve that fails to open properly. While TAVR has many advantages, risk of stroke is a major complication, leading to devastating short- and long-term health outcomes. ArchGuard is a cerebral protection device and first of its kind offering alignment flexibility and complete protection to all major blood vessels to the brain during TAVR. The team expects the device to significantly reduce the chance of a stroke thanks to its unique design that deflects debris away from the brain.

Mahdi Al-Husseini
Joshua Barnett
Mahdi Al-Husseini, Joshua Barnett
Purdue University, Stanford University
Advisers: Matthew Hull, Hayden McLeod
Aura

Training pilots is an intensive process that ensures plane and helicopter operation is safe. However, pilots in most aircraft, especially noncommercial, nonpassenger aircraft, lack real-time access to meaningfully processed flight data. Aura is the first tool to allow pilots to track maneuver data dynamically in-flight. It does so by analyzing instrument displays using a pipeline of computer vision and machine learning techniques. Aura identifies the maneuver being performed and creates performance reports accordingly for in-flight and post-flight review. The Aura team estimates that its system can lead to a 10% reduction in training time for U.S. Army helicopter pilots — potentially saving the Army $106 million a year.

Tzu-Chieh Tang
Tzu-Chieh Tang
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Advisers: Timothy K. Lu, Neri Oxman
Living Functional Materials

Living materials refer to materials hosting living organisms that sense their surroundings and change properties accordingly. To transition living materials from laboratory into real-world conditions, Tzu-Chieh Tang invented a Deployable Physical Containment Strategy (DEPCOS) and Synthetic Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast (Syn-SCOBY). The former is a hydrogel shell that can house and contain billions of live microorganisms, and the latter is a platform that supports the symbiotic growth of engineered yeast and bacteria. DEPCOS has the potential to drastically reduce the cost of water-quality monitoring biosensors, and Syn-SCOBY can enable a one-pot production of functional cellulose filters without costly procedures.

Shrish Patel
Shrish Patel
SUNY Stony Brook University
Adviser: Alexander Orlov
SolarClear

Dust storms, especially in the Western United States, Middle East and North Africa, are a significant problem for large-scale solar power plants. While solutions exist to clean them off, they are impractical and expensive. Cleaning a typical utility-scale solar installation requires a staggering 600,000 to 1 million gallons of potable water. SolarClear addresses this problem by using autonomous waterless cleaning technology that is both significantly more effective and efficient compared to existing technologies. Additionally, the unique design of the electrodes that are used in the system makes SolarClear economically viable for utility-scale installation in the desert.

Daniela Blanco
Daniela Blanco
New York University
Adviser: Kurt Becker
Sunthetics

Chemical manufacturing is responsible for nearly 30% of the global energy demand and represents a significant producer of carbon dioxide emissions. However, developing more efficient and sustainable processes can be too expensive or not achievable within industrial timelines. By leveraging chemical engineering and small data, Sunthetics offers AI-optimized chemical reactions for the production of sustainable chemicals.

Maha Alafeef
Maha Alafeef
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Adviser: Dipanjan Pan
VirSENSE

To manage and ultimately control the spread of the COVID-19 virus, rapid, inexpensive and easily deployable testing is crucial. It’s for this reason that Maha Alafeef created VirSENSE, a rapid test for COVID-19 that users can administer entirely at home. Using an electrochemical biosensor paired with an electrical reader, the test screens for active cases and is over 98% accurate. Thanks to the technology that VirSENSE is using, individuals are able to determine in real time if they are COVID-19 positive, even before their bodies develop a detectable antibody response.

Thank you to our 2021 CIC Sponsors