Following a year that demonstrated the value and useful applications of clinical advancement and creation, the Lemelson-MIT Program announced seven winners of its annual 2021 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize on April 26, World Copyright Day. The program awarded an overall of $90,000 to four college student and three undergraduate teams from throughout the nation. The majority of winners have actually applied for patents, while others have been granted complete or provisional patents. Their innovations range from an ingenious technique to plastic contamination in Uganda to self-driving wheelchair innovation.

“We are thrilled with and motivated by the quality of developments this year,” states Michael J. Cima, faculty director of the Lemelson-MIT Program and associate dean of innovation at the MIT School of Engineering. “This group of trainees has actually carried out tremendous work in the middle of challenging scenarios, typically working remotely, knowing their research study is too important to decrease. Science and innovation have been at the leading edge of discussion over the past year, and this diverse group of trainees is well-positioned to lead us towards terrific advances for several years to come,” Cima states.

Supported by The Lemelson Foundation and administered by the School of Engineering, the Lemelson-MIT Trainee Reward recognizes and supplies catalyst funding to young creators who have committed themselves to offering scalable solutions to real-world problems around the world. This year’s winners have actually developed solutions that resolve pregnancy-related problems, market losses in the agricultural market, challenges hampering smooth patient recoveries, and other pushing problems in society. Receivers were picked from a varied and highly competitive pool of hundreds of candidates from institution of higher learnings throughout the United States.

“Congratulations to this year’s winners for their impressive accomplishments and devotion to solving a few of the most significant challenges dealing with society today,” says Carol Dahl, executive director of the Lemelson Foundation. “It’s especially interesting to see this year’s mate of graduate winners is all women, provided the reality that a large gender disparity exists in patenting. More developers are needed from neighborhoods traditionally underrepresented in development, including women, if we are going to successfully resolve the obstacles of today and tomorrow.”

2021 Lemelson-MIT Trainee Prize winners were picked based on the general originality of their work, the innovation’s potential for scalable commercialization or adoption, and youth mentorship experience. They are:

The “Cure it!” Lemelson-MIT Trainee Prize: Rewarding technology-based innovations that involve healthcare.

– Nicole Black of Harvard University, $15,000 Graduate Winner

The eardrum typically becomes harmed through terrible head injuries, blast injuries, chronic ear infections, and other occurrences, affecting countless individuals worldwide every year. Current eardrum graft products are tissues taken from other parts of the body. These present grafts plan to repair damage, yet do not integrate well with the eardrum and surrounding tissue, leading to bad recovery and hearing outcomes that often need more surgical treatment. Utilizing novel eco-friendly materials and 3D printing methods, Black developed a tunable, biomimetic eardrum graft called PhonoGraft. Due to the fact that PhonoGraft is able to maintain the circular and radial structure of the eardrum, its sound-induced movement is similar to that of initial eardrum tissue. Additionally, PhonoGraft acts as a type of scaffolding that bridges the hole and enters into the native tissue, enabling the eardrum to basically recover itself and bring back hearing more effectively.

– Mira Moufarrej of Stanford University, $15,000 Graduate Winner

Pregnancy-related issues like preeclampsia and preterm shipment present substantial dangers to both fetal and maternal health and are often tough to discover in time for reliable medical intervention. Moufarrej established 3 unique liquid biopsy tests that monitor prenatal health and determine high-risk pregnancies by more properly forecasting due date, danger of preeclampsia, and possibility of preterm delivery, making evaluations possible well in advance of the mom ending up being symptomatic. Following preclinical recognition, these inexpensive, simple, and trusted maternal blood tests may alter the standard of care for preeclampsia and preterm shipment– dangers that no other test can currently anticipate early enough to permit meaningful medical intervention.

– Innerva: Bruce Enzmann, Michael Lan, and Anson Zhou of Johns Hopkins University, $10,000 Undergraduate Team Winner

Targeted muscle reinnervation (TMR), a treatment to link severed nerves to smaller sized motor nerves, is a progressively popular method for treating peripheral nerve injuries, as it partly guides nerve regeneration and makes it possible for amputees to better operate prosthetic devices. About 30 percent of TMR patients, nevertheless, experience pain due to nerve tumors, or neuromas, that arise from the intrinsic distinctions in size between the freshly connected nerves. Innerva’s creation is a nerve avenue that creates an interface in between the various sized nerves connected throughout TMR, regulating nerve regeneration and preventing the development of neuromas.

The “Consume it!” Lemelson-MIT Trainee Prize: Rewarding technology-based inventions that include food/water and agriculture.

– Hilary Johnson of MIT, $15,000 Graduate Winner

Centrifugal pumps are important drivers in many fluid systems, such as tidy water circulation, wastewater treatment, crop watering, oil and gas production, and pumped hydro energy storage. Requiring significant energy to operate, jointly these pumps take in 6 percent of annual U.S. electricity. Hilary’s creation is a variable volute pump, a brand-new classification of centrifugal pumps that mechanically adapts the hydraulic chamber to adjust to varying system demand. Variable volute pumps reveal the possible to significantly improve efficiency and running range throughout applications by changing the spiral fluid passages to match the flow rate.

– Grain Weevil: Benjamin Johnson and Zane Zents of the University of Nebraska at Omaha, $10,000 Undergraduate Group Winner

Big grain bins are utilized to store surplus grain products and enable farmers to hold their yield for greater prices. Managing grain condition and extraction require farmers to physically get in the grain bin, which is challenging and dangerous, often trapping and even killing farmers. An absence of proper management and extraction systems cause a 30 percent loss in cereal grain worth worldwide. The Grain Weevil is a grain extraction and bin management robotic that scurries across the top of the grain within a bin, raveling clumps so that the grain can be appropriately aerated and easily drawn out from the bin. This gadget assists farmers securely and effectively manage the extraction of grain from the bin, in addition to preserve grain quality while in storage.

The “Move it!” Lemelson-MIT Student Prize: Rewarding technology-based innovations that involve transportation and mobility.

– Adventus Robotics: Maya Burhanpurkar and Seung Hwan An of Harvard University, $10,000 Undergraduate Group Winner

Power wheelchairs present formidable barriers to movement for users unable to run a joystick, and manual wheelchairs operated by porters within healthcare facilities can increase the capacity for disease transmission between patients and personnel. To fix these concerns, the Adventus team developed a hardware and software kit that can be retrofitted to power wheelchairs already on the marketplace to transform them into Level 5 (fully autonomous) self-driving wheelchairs. Adventus’ system goes beyond existing assistive technologies by using expert system and fail-safe sensing units for edge detection and accident prevention. Because of Covid-19, the group’s technology has the potential to be utilized in a range of other applications like autonomous floor cleaning and disinfecting.

The “Use it!” Lemelson-MIT Trainee Reward: Rewarding technology-based inventions that involve customer devices and products.

– Paige Balcom of the University of California at Berkeley, $15,000 Graduate Winner

Takataka Plastics is a technology and systems-level option for plastic waste in Uganda that in your area recycles plastic waste and develops tasks for vulnerable youth. Paige established small-scale, in your area built, low-priced makers to transform plastic waste into saleable items such as wall tiles for buildings, individual protective devices, and consumer goods. This innovation is specifically innovative for family pet waste due to the fact that animal plastic (water and soda bottles) currently can not be recycled anywhere in Uganda, and exporting the waste is tough and unattainable to many local recyclers.

Collegiate inventors interested in applying for the 2022 Lemelson-MIT Trainee Prize can discover more information by means of the Lemelson-MIT Program. The 2022 Trainee Reward application will open in late spring 2021.