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Daily Egyptian

Competition encourages entrepreneurial ideas

By Elizabeth zinchuk

While the winners from this year’s Saluki Idea Competition are just excited to be rewarded for all their sleepless nights, last year’s winners are concerned about getting their idea up and running.

The winners of the second annual competition “Innovating for Impact” were chosen Friday at the Technology and Innovation Expo. The top five were picked to be finalists out of the total 11 teams. The finalists were judged on a three-minute elevator pitch. Afterward, winners from last year’s competition shared their stories and plans for the future.

Chancellor Rita Cheng said she congratulated the contenders’ hard work and enthusiasm to innovate.

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“I am sure all the people who are being recognized today earned their recognition not only by pursuing their passion through making a positive contribution, but for also doing so much for SIU and the community,” Cheng said “The students need to be thanked, because they are going to be the ones who solve all the problems that we couldn’t solve.”

First place was D.Scribe created by Christopher Faller, a senior from Springfield studying industrial design, and Briana

Royster, a senior from Flossmoor studying industrial design. The D.Scribe team won a $500 prize and $600 in grant money from the Sustainability Council.

Second place was the Solar Radiation Water Pump creating by Felipe Paulino Silva and Abdiel Quetz a graduate student in physics from Champton Campeche, Mexico. The Solar Radiation Water Pump team won a $200 prize and $400 in grant money from the Sustainability Council.

Faller said it felt good to win but Royster said winning wasn’t necessarily expected.

“I was excited but I felt like we had some good competition so I was nervous too,” Royster said.

Royster said she and Faller started their project the first week of the semester. She said it required a lot of research on different concepts.

“We had tons of sleepless nights,” Royster said.

Amy McMorrow Hunter, a technology transfer specialist, said she had workshops to help the teams develop and present their ideas at the Technology and Innovation Expo. She said she is excited about the outcomes that have come for the first annual competition in 2012.

“The students this year were really serious about their ideas, and given the idea that

won last year is moving forward with a patent we’re getting momentum on helping all ideas move forward,” McMorrow Hunter said.

The first place idea, D.Scibe, provides a transcription and recording of conversation among multiple speakers as they happen, Royster said. She said the device enables hearing-impaired professionals to follow conversations easier and more efficiently.

Faller said he and Royster want to use their award money to give back to their program, the IDSA chapter at SIU.

Faller said one of the biggest challenges on creating D.Scribe was relating to those with hearing disabilities to create a product to help them.

“A lot of it was talking to those people and putting ourselves in their shoes to understand where the real problem areas are,” Faller said.

Gene Park, a senior from Glenview studying industrial design, and Claude Leco, a senior from Anna studying industrial design, were a part of the team who won last year with their idea “Ecolight.” Park and Leco presented at the Technology and Innovation Expo and shared that they had recently filed a provisional patent for their idea with help from Amy McMorrow Hunter and Jeff Myers, senior technology transfer specialist.

Ecolight, Park said, provides an environmentally friendly option to replace high traffic street lamps by utilizing kinetic and solar energy. The idea proposes to put rumble strips near each lamp, draw energy from a battery installed on the lamps and put solar panels on top of the lamp, he said.

Park said in the future, he hopes to work on getting proposals for funds and investors to create a prototype.

“I’m really excited because the big step was just to break through getting the patent send through,” Park said. “It’s really hard to manage that and school.”

Leco said Ecolight branches into unexplored potential as far as energy efficiency and conservation.

“Harvesting energy to use on roadways is a huge resource of energy that’s untapped, so if we can harness that efficiently, it’s not measurable of all we can do,” Leco said.

Park said the project is completely self- motivated.

“It’s up to us how much time and effort we want to put into it,” Park said. “We have no idea how far it can go and how far the potential can be pushed.”

Elizabeth Zinchuk can be reached at [email protected]

or 536-3311 ext. 269.

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