I had the opportunity to judge the UT Idea2Product Competition in which engineering students take a technology and productize it for commercial purposes. The goal is not to create a business with a management team per se but rather to turn technology into products that solve a problem in the market. Steve Nichols of the University of Texas has been running the competition for 8 years now. As he indicated the top three goals of the competition is education, education, and education. Steve travels extensively to bring more universities into the program with a particular emphasis on international universities. The global version of the competition includes submissions from over 40 universities.
This year the competitors include:
ProTrix – uses protein templated nanocrystals in the floating gate layer of a semiconductor device to double the capacity of flash memory chips.
Avatarus – uses a technique to encode a large number of 3D data points to represent a 3D object. They plan to use it for scanning the human face into a digital avatar for video games.
Turn2Live – uses semantic web techniques to characterize live music events and deliver the information through the web and mobile applications to users.
Bevo-MEA – uses lower cost materials to replace the platinum used in the membrane electrode assembly of fuel cells to reduce the cost of a fuel cell system.
Bevo-MEA edged out ProTrix to win the competition. This is a great event for generating exposure to the many technologies within the University.