College Students Unveil Technology Innovations in the Heart of Silicon Valley That Address Critical Societal Issues

The National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance hosts Open Minds where student entrepreneurs will showcase life-changing biomedical, environmental and transportation technology solutions.

Mar 18, 2014, 08:30 ET from National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA)

SAN JOSE, Calif., March 18, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA), an education network that cultivates revolutionary ideas and life-changing inventions, will host its 18th annual Open Minds showcase of student invention and innovation in Silicon Valley on Saturday, March 22, 2014 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. PDT at The Tech Museum of Innovation. The public event will exhibit the biomedical, environmental and transportation innovations of seventeen student teams from some of the most prestigious colleges and universities across the country.

"Our goal is to harness the ingenuity of student inventors and help them turn their ideas into innovations with global impact," said Phil Weilerstein, executive director at the NCIIA. 

NCIIA's innovative model of early support, mentoring and funding has changed the educational landscape for faculty, students and investors. The organization has trained 500 student teams that have raised more than $300 million to grow and launch 200 new ventures. More than half of these ventures are still in business today, reaching millions of people in more than 50 countries and helping to solve critical social issues.

Innovations nurtured by NCIIA are transforming lives, from life-saving medical interventions to environmentally sustainable solutions. Some of the prototypes visitors can expect to see include:

  • Disease Diagnostic Group, a handheld malaria diagnosis device that provides a diagnosis in one minute with one drop of blood from a fingertip (Case Western Reserve University).
  • HMSolution, a water filtration system for the residential market that reduces arsenic and heavy metals concentrations to safe levels and requires little to no maintenance for over ten years (Brown University).
  • Hole Patch, a non-toxic solution for cold-weather pothole repair that is faster, simpler and cheaper than current practices (Case Western Reserve University).
  • Innoblative Designs, a preclinical medical device company dedicated to commercializing a novel technology that will make the treatment of early-stage breast cancer faster, safer, more convenient and less expensive (Northwestern University).
  • JustMilk, a means of administering drugs and nutrients to breastfeeding infants in developing countries via disintegrating tablets (University of California, Berkeley).
  • Rehabtics, a software system for physical rehabilitation using Microsoft's Kinect cameras to track users' motions in real time in an accessible and engaging form of rehabilitation that encourages use and achieves improved patient recovery (Johns Hopkins University).

Open Annual Conference
The Open Minds showcase is part of OPEN, the NCIIA's annual conference on science and technology entrepreneurship in higher education, which brings together students, faculty members, business leaders and investors to share best practices, lessons learned and inspiration to transform game-changing ideas into solutions for people and the planet.

The conference is being held in San Jose March 20-22 at the Marriott Hotel. The preconference workshop, Sustainable Vision Connect, features speaker Paul Polak, a world-renowned author of The Business Solution to Poverty and expert on global development strategies; Amy Smith, the founder of MIT's D-Lab and Paul Hudnut, the founder of Envirofit, a company that delivers clean-burning cookstove technology to the developing world.

Other international highlights include Ticora Jones, senior advisor and program director in the Office of Science and Technology at U.S. Agency for International Development; Charina Choi, a White House Fellow at the Office of Science and Technology Policy; and international faculty from across the globe. 

Acclaimed MacArthur fellow, inventor and founder of Otherlab, Saul Griffith, will keynote the Sustainable Practice Impact Award ceremony in partnership with The Lemelson Foundation, an award that recognizes companies or an individual demonstrating outstanding achievement in developing clean technologies; implementing sustainable practices in their businesses; or providing exceptional education opportunities to university students. This year's winner is Burt Swersey of Renssealaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), a professor and entrepreneur who founded RPI's Inventor's Studio, which has spun out several companies. One company, Ecovative Design, is responsible for creating a new material made from mushrooms and agricultural waste that has the potential to replace Styrofoam. He will be awarded $10,000.

About the NCIIA
The NCIIA catalyzes positive social and environmental impact through invention and technological innovation by providing funding, training and mentoring for university faculty and student innovators.

With support from The Lemelson Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and a membership of nearly 200 colleges and universities from all over the United States, the NCIIA engages approximately 5,000 student entrepreneurs each year, leveraging their campuses as working laboratories for invention and innovation and incubators for businesses, and ultimately helping them to bring their ideas to market. For more information, visit

About The Lemelson Foundation
The Lemelson Foundation uses the power of invention to improve lives, by inspiring and enabling the next generation of inventors and invention based enterprises to promote economic growth in the U.S. and social and economic progress for the poor in developing countries. Established by prolific U.S. inventor Jerome Lemelson and his wife Dorothy in 1992, to date the Foundation has provided or committed more than $175 million in grants and program-related investments in support of its mission. For more information, visit

Mercy Albaran 
415-901-0111 x222

SOURCE National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA)