Collegiate Inventors

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.

Day 1
You’ll arrive at the competition and prepare for your judging session.

Day 2
Our panel of experts will judge your invention. Then, you’ll present your innovation to the public during the Expo, followed by the Awards Dinner — where we will announce the 2019 Winners! 

Day 3
You'll head home knowing that you’ve had the opportunity to network with the country’s most innovative students, received mentorship from our Inductees and gained national exposure for your invention.


Enter the Competition

Entries for the 2019 Collegiate Inventors Competition are now closed. Please check back in early-spring for information on the 2020 competition.

Congratulations 2018 CIC Winners

Graduate Gold

Graduate Silver

Graduate Bronze

Undergraduate Gold

Undergraduate Silver

Undergraduate Bronze

People's Choice Award

Download our Winners press release here. Learn more about all of the 2018 CIC teams below.

2018 Undergraduate Finalists

Abigail Kohler
Jack Roswell
Eli Silvert
Alex Zhuk
Abigail Kohler, Jack Roswell, Eli Silvert, Alex Zhuk
Brown University
Adviser: Dr. Chandra Madramootoo

Pests and crop diseases kill 20 percent of all crops before harvest, causing an annual $990 billion loss in farm income. No current technology can identify specific diseases on farms. Using advanced optics and novel processing techniques, CropDoc provides farmers with actionable insights regarding the location and projected progression of pests and specific crop diseases weeks before visual symptoms manifest.

Alexander Bills
Dev Mandavia
Lucas Muller
Cassidy Wang
Alexander Bills, Dev Mandavia, Lucas Muller, Cassidy Wang,
Georgia Institute of Technology
Adviser: Dr. James Rains

Annually, about 3 million women in the U.S. receive anesthesia in the spine, known as an epidural, during labor. About one in 8 cases result in complications because of incorrect injection placement. Neuraline identifies a promising injection site at the epidural needle’s tip by measuring the electrical properties and composition of the body. A light notifies practitioners they are in the right spot. Accurately pinpointing the epidural space can help administer the epidural in about a quarter of the time.

Brandon Young
Brandon Young
University of Louisville
Adviser: Dr. Thad Druffel
Pascal Tags

In 2017, about 1.7 billion people worldwide shopped online, a number that’s expected to reach 2.1 billion by 2021. As demand grows, retailers must improve their supply chain to maintain quick shipping of products to waiting customers. Tracking inventory is a monumental and expensive task that costs companies more than $1 trillion each year. Pascal Tags offers a durable, battery-free, cost-effective inventory tag detection system with a nearly unlimited range, informing companies what is in their inventory and where it is located.

Jody Mou
Linh Tran
Kevin Tu
Jody Mou, Linh Tran, Kevin Tu
Johns Hopkins University
Adviser: Dr. Amir Manbachi

During brain surgery, a retractor with metal blades holds brain tissue apart to maintain a working channel. Existing retractors hinder tumor removal and can cause further injury from pressure on brain tissue. Radiex’s cylindrical, compact design allows surgeons to access the brain through the smallest point of entry. Once in place, Radiex has the flexibility to gradually expand, increasing the surgeon’s area of visibility, without the added pressure to tissue.

Elizabeth Bianchini
Kyler Kocher
Ann McInroy
Sam Resnick
Elizabeth Bianchini, Kyler Kocher, Ann McInroy, Sam Resnick
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Adviser: Dr. Warren Seering

Removing decaying, crumbling mortar from between bricks to subsequently replace it with new mortar is a messy, tedious and time-consuming job in the construction field. This process, joint-raking, generates so much silica dust that workers must wear respirators and goggles for safety. Rhino is a masonry tool attachment that can be used with any traditional rotary hammer. It improves the accuracy and safety of joint-raking, allowing masons to cover 50 percent more area during a given time.

2018 Graduate Finalists

Federico Alvarez del Blanco
John J. Kim
Robert Kim
Hector D. Neira
Federico Alvarez del Blanco, John J. Kim, Robert Kim, Hector D. Neira
University of California at Berkeley
Adviser: Dr. Verna Gibbs
Automatic Tracking of Surgical Instruments

Surgical technicians manually count and log surgical instruments at multiple stages before, during and after a surgery. This can lead to the misplacement of tools, lengthy delays and surgical errors that annually cost the U.S. healthcare system around $2 billion. This invention uses computer vision and machine learning to identify, count and keep track of instruments for surgeries, automating and revolutionizing instrument management across hospitals.

Arrow Electronics Innovation Prize Winner

Weiwei Shi
Weiwei Shi
Virginia Tech
Adviser: Dr. Jonathan Boreyko and Mr. Brook Kennedy
Fog Harp

As much as two-thirds of the world’s population could face a future water shortage. In response, fog harvesting provides an alternative, low-cost source of fresh water. Current fog harvesters catch fog droplets on a wire mesh, but either cannot capture fog droplets effectively or get clogged doing so. The Fog Harp uses vertical wires instead of a mesh, allowing for efficient droplet collection and drainage without clogging.

Gopesh Tilvawala
Gopesh Tilvawala
University of California at San Diego
Adviser: Dr. James Friend, Dr. Alexander Khalessi, Dr. Alexander Norbash, and Dr. Bernard Yan

Unruptured aneurysms in the brain are found in one in 50 people in the U.S. These can potentially be treated by minimally invasive surgery, but existing surgical methods are often ineffective. Neurotendo addresses the need for a controlled approach to the navigation of brain arteries and treatment of cerebral aneurysms with a steerable microcatheter that translates a neurosurgeon’s command into the motion of the catheter tip. This microsurgical medical device enables precise navigation, reduction of procedure times and a safer technique.

Sanjit Datta
David Pfau
Eric Salomon
Charit Tippareddy
Sanjit Datta, David Pfau, Eric Salomon, Charit Tippareddy
Case Western Reserve University
Adviser: Dr. Daniel Lacks

An inadequate supply of clean water accounts for 3.4 million deaths each year. Optimized Solar Purification with a Reusable Indicator, or OSPRI, was developed to address the need for low-cost clean water in the developing world. Used with solar disinfection techniques, OSPRI is a reusable, UV-radiation-measuring sensor that changes color to notify a user that the treated water is safe to drink. OSPRI could increase access to clean drinking water worldwide, drastically reducing waterborne illnesses.

Nicole Black
Michael J. Kreder
Nicole Black, Michael J. Kreder
Harvard University
Adviser: Dr. Joanna Aizenberg and Dr. Jennifer Lewis

Ear infections are a leading cause of healthcare visits worldwide, affecting more than 700 million people annually. Ear tubes, used to treat chronic ear infections, have several limitations. As many as 40 percent fail due to issues including clogging, bacterial adhesion, premature extrusion and the inability to effectively transport fluids out of the middle ear space. PionEar uses a bioinspired combination of novel 3D-printed designs and a liquid-infused material to combat these issues with the goal of reducing unnecessary revision surgeries to replace failed ear tubes.

Jang Hwan Cho
Jang Hwan Cho
Boston University
Adviser: Dr. Wilson Wong and Dr. Jim Collins

CAR T-cell immunotherapy is a rapidly emerging cancer treatment that utilizes the patient’s immune system to recognize, target and eliminate tumor cells. This therapy involves removing T-cells from the patient, genetically engineering the T-cells with receptors that target specific proteins on tumor cells and reintroducing the T-cells into the body. SUPRA utilizes a modular design and improved receptor system allowing for multiple proteins to be targeted, increasing the efficacy and overall safety of cancer treatment.

Join the 2018 Finalists on their journey to the Collegiate Inventors Competition

Thank you to our 2019 CIC Sponsors

Additional Sponsors