CWRU students and alumni bring hard science and fun to CES 2015
Nine teams of Case Western Reserve University student and alumni entrepreneurs will showcase their inventions and burgeoning businesses at the world’s premier stage for innovation, the International CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas Jan. 6-9. The annual exhibition draws more than 150,000 attendees from around the globe.
Two teams—Everykey and Carbon Origins, which introduced their concepts at last year’s CES—return and will join seven innovators displaying their products for the first time at the show:
- Some aim to put high-tech home maintenance, high art, health monitoring, aviation or rocketeering within reach.
- One group seeks to simplify private access and control over electronic and lockable devices; another group, to simplify and broaden access to videos taken at events.
- Still another uses the latest manufacturing technology to make a pricy toy of equal quality, but less expensive.
The inventions began as class projects or hobbies or were the product of years of research. All are supported by think[box], the campus innovation hub that provides space, equipment and training to make prototypes and products. Teams also benefitted from Blackstone Launchpad, a program that mentors students through startup and development, securing funding and taking an idea to market. Student teams are funded by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation and the Burton D. Morgan Foundation.
The Case School of Engineering was the only university organization exclusively showcasing student startups at CES 2014.
“Think[box] is where our students and faculty can, on their own, take those ideas in their heads and get them in their hands—that is, to actually go from concept to prototype,” said Jeffrey Duerk, dean of the Case School of Engineering. “Virtually each of the interdisciplinary student teams and some of the alumni teams going to CES have used and benefitted from the physical assets and human resources we provide in the think[box] ecosystem.”
In its second year attending CES, Case Western Reserve will triple its presence.
“We look forward to our expanded involvement in the world’s largest display of innovation and discovery,” said Bob Sopko, director of the Blackstone Launchpad program at Case Western Reserve. “As a major research institution, we will be involved for our second year in a row, expanding from two to six booths (between 75427 and 75437 Tech West, Sands Expo, Level 2). Our students and alumni are excited to be demonstrating, selling and actively looking for partnerships."
The teams and their innovations are:
Everykey, a Bluetooth-enabled wristband that allows the user immediate access to his password-protected electronics, such as a smartphone, tablet, or computer, as well as physically locked items including doors, car doors, bike locks and other controlled access devices, when within range.
“Everykey removes the stress and hassle of losing keys and forgetting passwords, while providing even better security than what consumers currently have in place,” said Christopher Wentz, CEO of Everykey and a 2013 CWRU graduate. “Our product uses military grade encryption, allowing only you access to your personal property and accounts. Like a credit card, you can instantly disable your Everykey if it ever gets lost or stolen.”
SpiroSano, which helps patients with respiratory conditions, such as asthma, COPD or cystic fibrosis, track their activities and episodes around the clock and share that data with their doctor to improve treatment. Doctor and patient create and control a personalized disease management toolkit using SpiroSpano’s platform.
The web tools, devices and data components not only enable doctors to prescribe the best treatments for individual patients, but the system provides researchers data aggregated anonymously from a multitude of sources in a HIPPA-compliant way. Jacob Glenn, a 2002 computer science graduate, who also earned a master’s in engineering management in 2003, is a co-founder.
Doppler Yoyo, one of several competition-grade and collectors-grade yo-yos Spartan Yoyo Works creates using 3-D printing at a fraction of the standard production price. Undergraduate engineering students Vince Cozza and Zachary Lerner founded Spartan and developed Doppler’s novel design. The yo-yo is made of a single material and achieves a high moment of inertia by changing the geometry in ways that would be impossible without 3-D printing.
The Doppler features internal variable density rings. By maintaining a high fill density and high resolution, the yo-yos are rotationally symmetric with high moments of inertia and mass equal to that of a standard competition-grade yo-yo. But this yo-yo has a much cheaper net production cost of less than $20.
Carbon Origins, a technology think-tank founded by a group of CWRU students who are taking time off from school to focus on solving hard technical problems in electronics and aerospace.
They are launching their first product, Apollo, a tiny embedded sensor development board compatible with the popular Arduino platform. Apollo’s environmental and motion sensors are capable of measuring and recording temperature, pressure, humidity, ultraviolet, infrared and visible light, audio intensity, three-axis accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer and GPS.
Apollo also has onboard WiFi and Bluetooth radios for networking. The software tools developed by the team allow users to take this data and derive useful information from it. The product was developed after one of the Carbon’s rockets crashed and burned, leaving the young scientists wanting to know why. Originally designed for their rockets, the product has now found applications for everything from robotics and drones to wearable computing.
Event 38 Unmanned Systems, which designs and builds mission-specific, unmanned fixed-wing and multirotor aircraft systems and optical sensors as well as drone data post-processing solutions. Event 38 systems are used primarily in agriculture and surveying.
CEO Jeff Taylor graduated with a BS in aerospace engineering from CWRU in 2009. He worked for SpaceX, then led the development team at 3D Robotics, the largest consumer drone company in the U.S. He co-founded Event 38 with the premise of offering reliable and affordable systems. “We've been lucky to have think[box] in our area, where we can take advantage of advanced prototyping equipment to shorten our development cycle,” he said.
BoxCast, a company that has developed a plug-and-play broadcast box, within the display of Osmisys, an electrical engineering technology firm. The Boxcast product allows anyone with a camera to conveniently stream standard and high-definition live video to the company’s cloud-based service for retrieval at any time and from any location.
"Every gathering these days has a camera running somewhere, but that footage is not always shared," said BoxCast founder Gordon Daily, who earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from CWRU "BoxCast ensures that anyone with a device that connects to the Internet–from tablets and cell phones to personal computers—can watch the event as if they were there in person."
BoxCast's broadcast box automates an otherwise-cumbersome process and enables organizations to both reach and expand their audience. The product has been called a potential game-changer for churches, nonprofits and other organizations that can’t afford expensive recording equipment and crews.
360x360 Selfie Stick, patented in 2012 by CWRU alumnus Joshua Wang, of Taiwan. With a telescoping handle and a camera bracket that can swivel in any direction, the stick provides the distance to take “selfies” of large groups or to provide different angles or more background in photographs. The stick can also be used to take photos over walls, around corners and in hard-to-reach places.
Hema Imaging LLC, which helps homeowners and professionals use thermal, or “heat map,” imaging to uncover unexpected temperatures associated with common household problems, such as faulty circuit breakers, sealing losses or ductwork and water leakage. The HemaVision helps homeowners identify and diagnose problems by automatically highlighting abnormal temperatures, locking onto scenes, calculating power dissipation and cost, and making statistical maps of significant temperature changes. Courtney Beall, co-founder and director of marketing, earned her MBA from Weatherhead School of Management in 2009.