2012 Randall Family Big Idea Winners

Big Idea Winners

First Place - $30,000

Drug Delivery Platform
  • Hunghao Chu: PhD, Swanson School of Engineering, Class of 2011
  • Noah Johnson: PhD student, Swanson School of Engineering, Class of 2015

This platform technology allows for controlled release of protein therapeutics to specific tissues over time. The delivery of these growth factor proteins has proven effective in post heart attack recovery, with additional indications for wound healing, chemotherapeutics, and neurodegenerative diseases. The global market for biopharmaceutical proteins will exceed $155 billion by 2015, many of which will rely on a delivery system to localize them and extend their release over time.

For more information, contact Noah Johnson at nrj5011@gmail.com. Intellectual property developed by Yadong Wang, associate professor, Department of Bioengineering, Swanson School of Engineering, and Hunghao Chu (PhD Bioengineering 2011, University of Pittsburgh). **

Second Place - $20,000

UV-Pods
  • Nicki Zevola: School of Medicine, Class of 2013

UV Pods are commercial-ready, provisionally-patented, single-use sunscreen capsules designed to ensure the right amount of sunscreen application. As the average user applies only half the amount of sunscreen necessary for adequate protection, UV Pods provide the American Academy of Dermatology's recommended dose of sunscreen for four hours of broad-spectrum UVA/UVB coverage. Designed by a medical student and top national beauty blogger, UV Pods will be viewed by over 20 million potential customers within its first month of release.

For more information, contact Nicki Zevola at nicki@futurederm.com.

Third Place - $10,000

TactSense Technology
  • Paul Johnson: School of Medicine, Class of 2014

TactSense Technology is a tactile feedback system for relaying the forces experienced by robotic surgical tools directly to a surgeon's fingertips. The current market size for robotic surgical instruments is $2 billion, and the market has grown at an average rate of 30.7 percent over the past five years. A non-provisional patent is being obtained through the University of Pittsburgh, and the product will be licensed to companies with established surgical robotic systems.

For more information, contact Paul Johnson at pjohnsonj@gmail.com. Intellectual property developed by Paul Johnson and Umamaheswar Duvvuri, assistant professor of otolaryngology, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, VA Pittsburgh Health System. **

Runners-up - $5,000 each

DVsphere
  • Bernice Huang: School of Medicine, Class of 2015
  • Adam Ignotofsky: College of Business Administration, Class of 2015
  • Mona Liu: School of Medicine, Class of 2015
  • Jason Sanders: PhD student, Graduate School of Public Health, Class of 2012; School of Medicine, Class of 2014

DVsphere is developing its first product, Diavax, a revolutionary therapy to halt and potentially reverse certain types of diabetes (Type 1, as well 10 percent of patients with Type 2). Diavax could impact over 5 million patients, saving up to $30 billion annually. Compared to competitors, Diavax has greater long-term benefits without side effects. The DVsphere team has ties to senior researchers, clinicians, and entrepreneurs in Pittsburgh, Boston, and San Francisco to successfully commercialize Diavax.

For more information, contact Mona Liu at info.diavax@gmail.com. Intellectual property developed by Nick Giannoukakis, associate professor of pathology and associate professor of immunology, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh.**

SensorTech
  • Benny Dippel: College of Business Administration, Class of 2012
  • Anthony K. Perros: Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, Class of 2012

SensorTech's carbon nanotube sensors detect the presence of dangerous gases, such as hydrogen sulfide, at a fraction of the price of electro-chemical gas sensors. Based on the technology developed by Alexander Star of the University of Pittsburgh, SensorTech will initially manufacture these sensors to detect hydrogen sulfide in oil refineries. In the future, the company will expand its products to detect other gases and target additional end users in the $10billion gas sensor market.

For more information, contact Benny Dippel at brd29@pitt.edu. Intellectual property developed by Alexander Star, PhD associate professor of chemistry, University of Pittsburgh.**

SensorTech
  • Benny Dippel: College of Business Administration, Class of 2012
  • Anthony K. Perros: Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, Class of 2012

SensorTech's carbon nanotube sensors detect the presence of dangerous gases, such as hydrogen sulfide, at a fraction of the price of electro-chemical gas sensors. Based on the technology developed by Alexander Star of the University of Pittsburgh, SensorTech will initially manufacture these sensors to detect hydrogen sulfide in oil refineries. In the future, the company will expand its products to detect other gases and target additional end users in the $10billion gas sensor market.

For more information, contact Benny Dippel at brd29@pitt.edu. Intellectual property developed by Alexander Star, PhD associate professor of chemistry, University of Pittsburgh.**

Smart Pace™
  • Daniel Ludwig: School of Medicine, Class of 2014

SmartPace™ is a heart imaging platform that improves the management of patients with heart failure, a condition that affects 6 million Americans. The technology assesses whether a patient will benefit from a pacemaker, and if so provides a prescription to guide the surgeon during implantation. SmartPace™ was developed by a team of bioengineers and cardiologists, including Daniel Ludwig, with patent protection through the University of Pittsburgh.

For more information, contact Daniel Ludwig at ludwig.daniel@medstudent.pitt.edu. Intellectual property developed by Daniel Ludwig; David Schwartzman, professor of medicine, School of Medicine; Mati Friehling, electrophysiology fellow, School of Medicine; Prem Soman, associate director of clinical nuclear cardiology, director of nuclear cardiology research, UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute; assistant professor of medicine, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh. **

** For asterisked finalists, the technology commercialization process is guided by the Offices of Technology Management and Enterprise Development at the University of Pittsburgh.

WILDCARD Round

WILDCARD Winner - $1,000

EuTalk
  • Szu-Han Chen: PhD student, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Class of 2014
  • Erh-Hsuan Wang: PhD student, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Class of 2013

A tablet mobile app that helps people with communication disorders such as autism and aphasia maximize their communication potential through motivational visual feedback.
For more information, contact Erh-Hsuan Wang at erw39@pitt.edu.

WILDCARD Contestents

Bayes Labs
  • Martinus Arnold de Jongh: PhD student, School of Information Sciences, Class of 2013
  • Parot Ratnapinda: PhD student, School of Information Sciences, Class of 2013

A software providing data-driven triage for level-one troubleshooting, thereby improving the quality of help desk technical support.
For more information, contact Parot Ratnapinda at par34@pitt.edu

Cloud Care
  • Yicheng Bai: PhD student, Swanson School of Engineering, Class of 2012
  • PJ Dillon: PhD student, School of Computer Science, Class of 2013
  • Chengliu Li: PhD student, Swanson School of Engineering, Class of 2012
  • Yaofeng Yue: PhD student, Swanson School of Engineering, Class of 2012

A cloud-based e-Health platform, including wearable sensors that monitor food intake and physical activity, providing patients with ongoing feedback and guidance.
For more information, contact PJ Dillon at pdillon@cs.pitt.edu

Denarium
  • James Lomuscio: Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, Class of 2012

An online game platform that engages players in achieving and socially sharing their real-life financial goals. Products include "Power that Pig!" and "Live Cheap or Die!"
For more information, contact James Michael Lomuscio at james.lomuscio@gmail.com

Emineo Design
  • Brian Yankello: College of Business Administration, Class of 2014

A development company, creating the app "Campus Greek Life," whereby students can socially interact and share information about Greek life on a university campus.
For more information, contact Brian Yankello at bcy4@pitt.edu.

Gladiator Mats
  • Anthony Michael Mele: College of Business Administration, Class of 2012

Consumer floor mats for use in vehicles and household, with removable inserts that are disposable and biodegradable.
For more information, contact Anthony Michael Mele at kew62@pitt.edu.

I FIT IN
  • Darnell Clayborn: Katz Graduate School of Business, Class of 2012
  • Mark Smiley: School of Medicine, Class of 2012
  • Kenneth Wilson: Katz Graduate School of Business, Class of 2012

An interactive online fitness service allowing members to stream fitness videos while utilizing live face-to-face video-conferencing!
For more information, contact Kenneth Wilson at kew62@pitt.edu.

Infect-Defect
  • Robert Benjamin Zaczek: Swanson School of Engineering, Class of 2012

An electronic infection detecting "smart" wound dressing device utilizing novel sensing technology and a wireless connection for medical personnel.
For more information, contact Benjamin Zaczek at rbzaczek@gmail.com.

InfinitM
  • Ritesh Chutani: Katz Graduate School of Business, Class of 2012
  • Pattra Grima: Katz Graduate School of Business, Class of 2013
  • Spencer Krause: College of Business Administration and Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, Class of 2013
  • Akshaya Murthy: Katz Graduate School of Business, Class of 2013

A disruptive, low cost, real time digital advertising solution for transit systems such as bus networks.
For more information, contact Akshaya Murthy at akshaya@infinitm.com.

NAViSection
  • Nahom Beyene: PhD student, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Class of 2012

Linked technologies advancing driver evaluation, training, and safety in testing sites where people work to obtain or retain a driver's license.
For more information, contact Nahom Minassie Beyene at nahom.beyene@gmail.com.

Spot.Launch
  • Joshua Childs: PhD student, School of Education, Class of 2014
  • Kyle Crawford: School of Social Work, Class of 2012

A bricks-and-clicks link for start-ups to access physical and professional resources to develop innovative business launches.
For more information, contact Kyle Crawford at spot.launch@gmail.com.

WIND emPOWER
  • Corey Travis Forster: Swanson School of Engineering, Class of 2012

A website featuring a wind turbine using bicycle components and open-sourced programming to proliferate the use of wind energy as a power source.
For more information, contact Corey Travis Forster at coreyforster@gmail.com.

Rapid Prototyping Machine
  • James Henry Clampffer: Swanson School of Engineering, Class of 2014
  • Jason Galletta: Swanson School of Engineering, Class of 2014

High-quality, cost-effective prototyping equipment affordable to educators, hobbyists, and small businesses.
For more information, contact James Henry Clampffer at jhc24@pitt.edu.

Strategic Partners

City of Pittsburgh - Igniting Innovation
University of Pittsburgh Office of Technology Management

Donors

Julie A. Dobson, KGSB '79

Idea Accelerators

Meyer, Unkovic & Scott LLP

Idea Energizers

Innovation Works
Pitt Business Alumni Relations
Pittsburgh Impact, a Business Growth Initiative of the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance
REVV OAKLAND
Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA)

Idea Supporters

Blue Tree Allied Angels
Eagle Ventures, Inc.
Idea Foundry, Inc.
Pittsburgh Venture Capital Association (PVCA)
TiE Pittsburgh
Wilke & Associates, LLP