Stanford University, 1998 - $8,100

Recipient of two NCIIA grants, the Xtracycle E-Team developed a cargo bicycle conversion kit that transforms a standard bike into a "sport utility bicycle," or SUB. The kit stretches out the rear wheel behind the seat, creates a big, stable platform on top of the rear wheel for a load or a passenger, and places expandable saddlebags on either side. The bike is still lightweight and fast because the load is centered between the wheels, helping fill the void between large, cumbersome utility tricycles and small, ineffective racks and bags. Its versatility and performance make it ideal for hauling loads that were previously considered too long, too heavy, or too fragile to be transported by bicycle, from surfboards to passengers to groceries.

The team evolved from a group of students at Stanford into Xtracycle LLC (xtracycle.com), a manufacturer, educator, and vehicle for social change. The company promotes their proprietary designs as boundary-pushing bicycles and soul-satisfying alternatives to automobile dependence. Profits from Xtracycle support Worldbike (worldbike.org), a non-profit organization that seeks to make their technology available to people in developing countries.

Both companies are targeting sustainable transportation as their ultimate goal.


Xtracycle is going strong! Employing eight people and with sales over $1million/year.

A Device with Remote Activation and Remote Power

University of Pittsburgh, 1998 - $10,800

This E-Team developed Powercast, technology that powers small electronic devices by electricity broadcast through the air. A transmitter plugs into the wall, and a dime-size receiver can be embedded into any low-voltage device. The receiver turns radio waves into DC electricity, recharging the device's battery at a distance of up to three feet.

Markets abound for Powercast, ranging from cell phones to lighting to pacemakers and defibrillators. The team has partnered with electronics giant Philips, and recently won Best of Show at the 2007 Consumer Electronics Exposition in Las Vegas.

Creation of an E-Team Prototyping Service Center

University of Pittsburgh - 17500.00

A New initiative Grant Title Creation of an E-Team Prototyping Service Center Institution: University of Pittsburgh Grant # 462-01 PI Michael Lovell Budget Item $ Approved Web development 1,000.00 Prototyping services 3,500.00 Brochures and publicity 500.00 Total $5,000.00

Senior IPD Project Course

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - $15000.00

Proposal requests renewal of funding for E-Teams in Lehigh IPD program. Program is multi-disciplinary design and business development program run in conjunction with the Ben Franklin Incubator. Funding would enable 2 teams to develop prototypes and marketing & business plans. Teams are well supported and the IPD courses offer very good support for E-Teams including lectures and connection with industry and business mentors and access to the incubator center for successful projects. ITEM $ Requested $ Approved E-Team Prototype Development $4,000 $3,000 Technical services 2,000 1,000 Support services 4,000 1,000 Summer stipends for students 2,600 0 Equip 1,000 1,000 Supplies 200 200 Travel 200 200 Patent & legal 200 200 Market analysis 200 200 Business plan development 200 200 Posters, presentation mtls and reports 400 200 $15,000 $7,200 The proposal is very well rounded and likely to produce good E-Teams. The funding requested is quite high although the teams work on projects which are often quite complex and involve elaborate prototyping. Recommend funding at $7200 based on comparable expenses in the programs with the removal of internship expenses. Encourage applications for advanced support for summer funding Fund at reduced level of $7200.

Obsidian Cyclops

Lehigh University, 1998 - $20,000

This E-Team created Obsidian Cyclops, a novel high end mountain bike front shock. Aimed at the downhill segment of the mountain bike industry. Obsidian originated from a Lehigh University design project in the Integrated Product Development course. The project explored the possibility of and then prototyped a single blade suspension fork to improve on existing fork designs.

A Novel Digital Bathroom Scale

University Nevada-Reno - $17,000

Unlike most scales that sit on the floor, this scale replaces the seat of a toilet, thus combining the function of the scale with the form of a toilet seat. The team researched, invented, designed, constructed a prototype of the scale, and demonstrated both the functionality and the appeal of the product. The scale is designed to function and mount, via hinges, onto a commode just as a standard toilet seat.

The Toilet Scale may be sold as a novelty gift, home improvement item, or as a health care device.

Introduction to Engineering Design and Follow-on Courses

Kettering University - $9500.00

This grant supports the creation of an E-Team "clinic" for continuing projects from an existing Introduction to Engineering Design course or other sources. Funding supports prototyping, patenting, market research, and further product development. The technically oriented teams of engineering majors each sell their ideas to business students from the management school business planning class. Students work with mentors to write business plans as they refine their products. Each semester, three to five teams work on patenting and commercializing their products. The students work on the projects on a non-credit basis, register for independent study credit, or complete projects for other classes

An E-Team to Design a Very Low Power Network


United States
41° 12' 11.9592" N, 77° 11' 40.29" W

University of Pittsburgh - $12500.00

This E-Team developed a prototype for a system that establishes a network of wireless devices within a small area using very low power and RF radio transmission. The transmission distances may range from a few inches to a few meters.

Communication over short distances with very low power creates a wide array of new applications of RF technology. The applications for this technology are diverse, ranging from wireless patient monitoring devices to food safety monitoring for the meat industry. The technology originated in a funded E-Team course EE1185, Microprocessor Systems.

The E-Team plans to develop a prototype and perform a market study on the device. Members of the E-Team are computer and electrical engineering students.

Patent Evaluation and Entrepreneurship

Swarthmore College - $7100.00

This course creates interdisciplinary E-Teams that evaluate the commerical potential of on-the-shelf, patented, university-owned technologies. The curriculum focus is on business planning and creation; students develop prototypes and pursue commercialization if the ideas are feasible. The central feature of the course is the use of E-Teams to move patented but unexploited technologies into the marketplace.

Mechanical Design/ Digital Systems Design

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - $12300.00

This project used NCIIA funding to create an E-Team course at Howard University, entitled Mechanical Design / Digital Systems Design. The course is a two-semester design sequence incorporating electrical engineering and mechanical engineering students into E-Team projects. Students select topics, research market potential, write a feasibility plan, and build prototypes. The curriculum includes information on intellectual property (IP), lectures on business topics and a competition between teams to create the projects worth of applying for Advanced E-Team grants.


Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - $19600.00

Proposal seeks support to create an internet business providing tutorial information in a customized format utilizing a streaming data approach. Subject matter is extremely variable, the concept is a tool for delivery on a for fee as paid awaiting module. The team is in formation (student member) but has excellent advisors & would seems to be in a good position to implement this business strategy rapidly. Initial content for the 'tutorial' system would be in programming for ecommerce & is available to the team. Commercial prospects are bolstered by the previous business success of one team member and an advisors whose position in ACSIOM (Umass computer Sr Tech transfer) would be especially helpful. ITEM $ Requested $ Approved Web Hosting 2,000 2,000 ILS Software Training 2,000 2,000 Travel Expenses 3,000 3,000 Legal Fees 750 750 Phone / Long Distance / Internet Access 250 250 Third Party Interface Design 1,000 1,000 Narrative Services 500 500 Hardware for Multimedia Development (Digital Camera) 700 700 Hardware for Multimedia Development (MiniDisc Recorder) 500 500 Hardware for Multimedia Development (Multimedia Tower) 1,450 1,450 Software for Multimedia Development (Sound Editing Software) 400 400 Software for Multimedia Development (Graphics Editing Software) 300 300 Summer Internships (2) 3,500 3,500 Professional Consultants 400 400 Electronic Commerce Industy Reports 850 850 Trade Show Fees 2,000 2,000 $19,600 $19,600

Smart Product Design

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - $13500.00

For this project, Dartmouth College used NCIIA funds to purchase rapid prototyping equipment, leading to E-Teams’ development of mechatronic, or “smart product” ideas. The grant funds supported approximately sixty students, some working independently on E-Team projects, and some first and second-year students enrolled in ENGS 21: Introduction to Engineering. All students were required to define a problem, brainstorm for a solution, test and prototype a design solution, and propose a commercialization strategy.

Invention and Entrepreneuring

University of Virginia-Main Campus - $3500.00

This course is for students who have taken a course in creative problem solving to apply what they have learned by inventing or developing a product or a process. In addition, students learn additional principles of entrepreneurship and hone their teamwork skills in E-Teams. The course is team taught by one professor in mechanical engineering and one from business management. Both have taught creative problem solving and model the process throughout the development of this interdisciplinary pilot course. The course is a one hour seminar and three hours of lab per week for student E-Teams to work on prototyping and patent searching. Students are drawn from engineering, computer science, and engineering management. Topics covered in the course include teamwork and communication, creative problem solving, patenting, entrepreneurship, and marketing. The course will teach an inventing process including problem identification, idea generation, feasibility study, design and specifications, and prototype construction and testing

Technological Innovation for a New Agriculture: Redefining the Tractor

Columbia university

This project supports a course focusing on the development of innovations in organic, tractor-based agricultural cultivation. E-Teams work to create a tractor that runs on vegetable fuels and uses non-chemical weed control devices and implements. E-Teams also pursue innovative approaches to problems with diesel fueled tractors.

Mark I

California Institute of Technology, 1998 - $20,000

This E-Team developed a compact, powerful electromagnetic tool that can be used for removing dents from auto bodies quickly and efficiently without damaging painted surfaces. The technology is competitive with standard methods of dent removal but does less damage to the paint on the car. The concept originated from an experiment a student did to remove a dent from his car with a natural magnet.

The team identified a market of more than 26,000 auto body repair shops nationwide, as well as secondary markets of car dealerships, rental car dealerships, do-it-yourself consumers, and metal garage door repair professionals.

The E-Team drew from students in engineering, applied science, physics, economics, mathematics, computation and neural systems, and electrical engineering at Caltech, University of California at Berkeley, and the University of California at Los Angeles. The team also included technical advisors and a financial advisor.

Development of a Hand Held Sewing Machine

Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art - $11900.00

This E-Team began with a proof of principle prototype of a hand held sewing machine. Instead of the advance mechanism pulling the cloth into the sewing mechanism, the user pulls the material through the machine. The sewing mechanism operates and sews the cloth by using the friction between the cloth and a wheel.

The final product will be small, lightweight, portable, and easy to operate. Landscape contractors, army units, or anyone else who needs to repair tears would find this product useful.

The team is made up of two junior mechanical engineers and a faculty member. They are funded to complete a final conceptual product design and prototype, a market analysis, a patent, and marketing plan. The students will work on this project during the summer and as part of their senior design class, a mandatory course for all mechanical engineering seniors. The project originated in an E-Team course Philosophy of Design

Junior Engineering Clinic I

Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art - $10000.00

In this project, Rowan University's Engineering Clinic incorporated an E-Team structure, enhancing the existing entrepreneurial focus of the Clinic. NCIIA funds were used for E-Team prototypes and product development in the junior and senior phases of the Clinic's four-year course sequence. Throughout the sequence, courses are team-based and focused on design and development of products. Innovation is stressed and students are encouraged to create new technologies.

Integrated Design

Drexel University - $3500.00

This two-course sequence is required for all seniors in the Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering Department. The fall deliverable is a set of engineering drawings and a manufacturing plan. Teams select products from a list of ideas. The spring project is a tested prototype. Seventy students take the course and form eight to ten E-Teams of about six to seven students each. NCIIA funding allows students to focus on the development of quality prototypes

Virginia Composite Wheel Team

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - $19718.00

The proposal requests funding for the development of a commercial prototype of a composite auto wheel and a proprietary process for producing it. The project seems feasible and well thought out. There is ample commercial potential if it is well executed and the students involved appear to have the appropriate background and skills to carry it out. The proposal has strong support for the advisor who advises a number of E-Teams. The budget request is appropriate and the proposal is well written presenting a clear work plan and time line. A total of $19,718 is requested for: Equipment: $1,799 Internships: $4,500 IP: $2,300 Travel: $500 Supplies, etc.: $10,619

Heat-Driven Refrigeration System

Illinois Institute of Technology, 1998 - $18,000

This E-Team originated in the NCIIA-funded course, Invention Project. The team is designing a refrigeration system that uses heat sources to create cooling.

The refrigeration system will be marketed to developing communities where electricity is scarce. Industrialization goes hand-in-hand with the spread of refrigeration, as it creates a way of storing and transporting food. Heat-driven refrigeration systems have unique capabilities. They are capable of using waste heat from a power plant, an industrial process, or an agricultural process to provide cooling at little extra cost, and can also use solar power or energy produced by low-grade fuel.

GEEN 2400: Innovation for the Community

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - $8900.00

This E-Team-focused course, Innovation for the Community, offers lectures on entrepreneurship, IP, and team development from visiting mentors. E-Teams learn first-hand about product development by designing, building, and testing interactive learning exhibits for K-12 classrooms. Students explore the market potential for such products and evaluate competitor products at the Association of Science-Technology Centers conference. An important part of this course is that students "learn by doing."

The course is offered to sophomore engineering and business students who have not taken the course First-Year Engineering Projects. Experience has taught the PIs that students work harder and produce better products when they serve a real client. Students gain an understanding of how innovation causes people and society to change for the better. The course is part of the Integrated Teaching and Learning (ITL) Program that began as a grassroots, college-wide initiative to reform the engineering curricula to incorporate hands-on, team-oriented, project-based learning


Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - $14900.00

This E-Team is developing an inexpensive consumer device for viewing, optimizing, and printing photographs from film. The apparatus is an inexpensive stand-alone device to view both positive and negative film on a built-in LCD display. Students estimate that even a percentage penetration of the product into the huge post processing market would generate multimillion-dollar revenues.

The reader displays a real-time positive image of positive or negative photographic film onto the reader's LCD display or to a separate TV screen. Output from the reader may be fed into the video input of a PC or MAC where the film is displayed on the monitor as a positive image. Software will allow the user to adjust the image for intensity, contrast, and color balance. The user may then print the final image.

The group is funded to build and test a proof of concept model and to then develop and test a prototype. The team works on the device as an independent study project. The project originated in an E-Team courseInvention: Creative and Legal Perspectives at Ramapo College

Commercialization of the Cooper Cooler

Cooper Union, 1998 - $16,000

This E-Team developed the Cooper Cooler, a shoebox-size device capable of chilling a bottled or canned beverage from room temperature to refrigerator temperature in less than a minute. The device provides rapid, natural cooling of the internal contents using only ice water and a spinning device. The process is perfectly safe for carbonated beverages like beer and soda, which are not agitated and do not explode upon opening.

The idea for the Cooper Cooler was born on a summer day in 1992. Faced with the age-old college dilemma of running out of cold beverages at a party he was hosting, Cooper Union engineering student Greg Loibl was inspired to use his engineering skills to solve the "academic" problem. Loibl worked on the idea as part of his chemical engineering master's thesis, and, sensing commercial promise, co-founded a parent company, Revolutionary Cooling Systems, Inc. The Cooper Cooler experienced strong commercial success and is now sold around the world through major retailers like Amazon.com and BestBuy.com.

MAE-497-Invention and Innovation Curriculum

Illinois Institute of Technology

IIT launched its Invention and Innovation Project in the fall of 1995. The class curriculum goes beyond the traditional lecture style by focusing on an academic experience based on personal coaching. The idea is to give the students an opportunity to look at engineering projects as an art – the art of invention. To emphasize this point, the class is structured as a studio class, such as those common in architecture and fine arts programs, but with a technical content. There are fifteen students in each studio, which behave as a small, high-tech firm engaged in developing new products.

In one semester, the products must move from concept to design, prototype, patent, and business plan. NCIIA funding provides money to the student teams for project development and commercialization, as well as additional equipment for class use. Thus far the class has produced a team that won Advanced E-Team funding, the Automotive Ozone Pollution Fighter. Also, two products are nearing commercialization: a portable ladder for hunters, and a car seat for infants that massages them as the car moves. The class is taught every semester at IIT. A continuation of support for Dr. Ruiz's class was approved in the October 1996 round.

MECH 452: Design Synthesis

The Evergreen State College

This course is a renewal and expansion of NCIIA grants MGRS 487 Entrepreneurship/ EE491 Senior Design and the previously funded MECH 452: Design Synthesis. The course has produced several high quality E-Teams and businesses. An interdisciplinary program, it is offered to mechanical and electrical engineers, emphasizing product development, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Students are divided into "companies" and develop new products or prove new technologies that will subsequently be marketed or licensed. Guest lecturers from industry discuss various topics including intellectual property, venture capital, inventing, and entrepreneurship. This course is also taken for credit by MBA students who help the E-Team develop business plans. Each E-Team must develop a working prototype. Funding is for direct use by each team for product development and marketing

Mechatronic Product Development

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Mechatronics is the integration of mechanical systems and electronics focusing on sensors and actuators technology. This mechatronics design course takes an interdisciplinary approach by integrating both mechanical and electrical elements of design. The program is a two-course sequence involving about sixty students per semester, in which E-Teams form and design products. Both engineering and marketing students are on each E-Team. Students are encouraged to develop, patent, and market their inventions.

The first course, Mechatronics Design, features an acute emphasis on learning how to interface and control a series of sensors and actuators with a microprocessor. Students form teams, envision a product, and then move onto the second course, Mechatronics Product Development. This course includes students from business-related fields. Teams develop and create plans to market the envisioned product. The culmination of the two-course mechatronics sequence is an event at which students publicly exhibit their products. This event is an opportunity for students to find the encouragement and support to continue developing their innovations.

Product Design Studies I & II

Trinity College

This project supports the establishment of a design studio for the first two semesters of the interdisciplinary design curriculum at RPI. The curriculum, designed to support students in independent design work, follows on the Introduction to Engineering Design course already offered. The studio provides ongoing support for E-Teams after IED, and includes shop equipment for modeling, digital cameras, and computers with scanners and printers.

Cedarville Ethanol Challenge Team - Reformer Project

Northwestern University - $14000.00

This E-Team originated from the Ethanol Vehicle Challenge sponsored by the United States Department of Energy, General Motors Corporation, and Natural Resources Canada. Ethanol is a cleaner burning fuel than gasoline, and a renewable source of energy. A significant problem with the fuel is that engines fueled with a high percentage of ethanol do not start well at low temperatures. The technology that Cedarville began to investigate was a device that reformulates ethanol into ether and water since ether is highly combustible at low temperatures.

The Cedarville team later discovered a better approach than the ether/water solution. Ethanol motor fuel is "contaminated" with 15% gasoline to make it toxic so that the liquor tax does not apply. The gasoline can be recovered or separated by distillation and then used for the cold start. There are many advantages to this system, as it is less volatile than ether and therefore safer. The distillation system requires much less maintenance than a catalytic reformulation device.

The E-Team for this project comes from a larger team of twenty-nine members who competed in the Ethanol Vehicle Challenge. Team members have skills in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and chemistry and they have established several working relationships with industry and suppliers

Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship

University of Nevada-Reno

This program is an interdisciplinary product and business development course conducted online. Students form E-Teams at the six South Dakota University (SDU) campuses around the state. At the beginning of the course, ten teams form, and include at least two technology-based members and two business members. Most teams have a team leader who is a student funded by the South Dakota National Science Foundation EPSCoR program. The E-Team works with a local mentor from a technology business to identify the product, conduct research, and create a development plan.

The course is delivered to students at SDU campuses using the internet in conjunction with two-way video and audio technology. Successful technology entrepreneurs present to the teams about product development and business issues. Topics and activities in the program include legal issues, sources of capital, budgeting, brainstorming, and successful collaboration. The objective of the course is for E-Teams to continue to work with businesses and organizations to make the projects a reality. Some E-Teams will continue work to compete for financial awards and support
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