Robert Wysocki arrived at Syracuse University in 2008, having made a name in the art world by capturing landscapes in three dimensions. Known for large sand sculptures showcased in galleries from Los Angeles to Florida, Wysocki’s inspiration began on a…
Family Weekend Kicks Off with ’Cuse Tank, a Lively Student Innovation Competition at Bird Library
The “Elite Eight” finalists for the first ever ’Cuse Tank will vie in a “Shark Tank”-style prize competition on Friday, Oct. 26, from 9-11:30 a.m. in the Peter Graham Scholarly Commons in E.S. Bird Library.
The event—co-sponsored by the Blackstone LaunchPad and Syracuse University Libraries—is the kick-off to Family Weekend and offers opportunity for families who are visiting from around the country, and around the world, to experience the entrepreneurial spirit of SU innovators. All are invited to watch the pitches and show support for the teams.
A distinguished panel of judges who are SU parents and successful entrepreneurs from a variety of industry sectors voted on “Sweet Sixteen” semi-finalists from scores of applications, narrowing the field to the “Elite Eight” that will pitch for $10,000 in prizes.
In Family Weekend spirit, two brothers are competing in ’Cuse Tank. Will McKnight, a senior and founder of Farm to Flame, will face off against sophomore Phil McKnight, co-founder of Promptous.
“The library is delighted to showcase innovative student ideas from across campus and bring to bear the services of the Blackstone LaunchPad to help these designers and inventors develop their services and products,” says Dean of Libraries and University Librarian David Seaman. “We are particularly grateful to SU parents for their willingness to participate in this exciting event!”
The contestants come from across campus, including the Newhouse School, the Falk College, the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the College of Visual and Performing Arts, the Whitman School and the School of Information Studies.
In alphabetical order, the teams are:
- Cllctve Agency LLC, a creative agency that connects brands with strategy content and college creatives who can execute transmedia content. CLLCTVE connects revolutionary strategic concepts with collaborative transmedia content to reposition brands for success, while simultaneously nurturing the freelance community on college campuses across the country. Clients have included Coca-Cola, Land Rover, PUMA and Syracuse University. The team is already working with 50 universities and expanding to more. — Kelsey Davis and Ryan Williams, co-founders
- Farm to Flame Energy, a smokeless, odorless, biomass-powered generator providing energy to off-the-grid communities. Winner of several campus impact competitions, as well as a regional finalist for the prestigious Hult Prize competition, Farm to Flame is a fully patented generator and grinder system that can provide power to off-the-grid communities in Africa, Asia and remote portions of North America. Farm to Flame generators are smokeless and odorless, and can use anyfeedstock or agricultural waste. They can also provide reliability to disaster-prone communities that need secure and resilient backup energy to supplement electricity delivery. — Will McKnight, founder
- FibreFree, a device that traps microfibers shed from synthetic clothing to prevent them from entering oceans and aquifers. Winner of the campus Impact Prize and finalist for the Dyson Innovation Competition, FibreFree developed its prototype through the Invent@SU program. FibreFree traps tiny plastic microfibers that are shed from synthetic clothing before they go into the water system and make their way into the food chain. FibreFree resembles a conventional laundry ball, but its unique porous shell and novel filter, made of 100 percent recyclable materials, traps microfibers in the laundry process. — Charles Keppler and Serena Omo-Lamai, co-founders
- In-Spire, a wearable and refillable bracelet-style asthma inhaler that can deliver an emergency dose. First place winner of the 2017 Invent@SU program, In-Spire also won first place in SU’s Impact Prize, RvD/iPrize and Panasci Business Plan Competition, and was the campus nominee to the ACC InVenture competition. The team, which has filed a non-provisional patent, is working to commercialize its stylish bracelet that integrates a small refillable inhaler and provides on-the-go relief, particularly for exercise- induced asthma. Technical advisors are helping the team develop a strategy for FDA approval. — Kayla Simon and Elizabeth Tarangelo, co-founders
- MedUX, a wearable, lightweight IV shoulder device. First place winner of the 2018 Invent@SU program, MedUX designed a wearable, portable IV system that allows people who need infusion treatment to receive it without being tethered to a traditional pole-mounted unit. It is particularly suited for stand-alone infusion centers, cancer centers, post-op hospital settings and palliative care where a patient needs intravenous delivery but also wants to be more mobile and comfortable. It can also be used in emergency and disaster situations where IV systems mounted on poles are not practical. Using new and pre-existing technologies, the lightweight shoulder-mounted device uses a pressure flow system to control a desired flow rate without the use of electronics or heavy batteries that need to be frequently changed. — Alec Gillinder and Quinn King, co-founders
- OptechVR, a standalone, affordable social VR headset. For applications from gaming to medicine to education and enterprise, there is an opportunity to create a better, more affordable all-in-one VR headset that offers a multi-user experience. OptechVR is a plug-and-play, all-in-one device, eliminating the need for high-powered external computers or game consoles or wires. It incorporates dual hand and room tracking technology, replacing complicated controllers with the user’s hand movement. It can connect to other headsets, enabling users to work in teams or experience VR together. — Matt Shumer and Sam Hollander, co-founders
- Prioritage, a platform for triage and real-time patient monitoring in emergencies. In events such as mass casualty situations, disasters or large, crowded ER rooms, a patient’s condition can deteriorate rapidly after initial triage, especially if there is a high ratio of patients to medical professionals. Prioritage, a first place winner of the NYC Invent@SU program, is a wearable armband that monitors a patient’s vital signs to detect changes after triage, sending wireless alerts if conditions change and suggesting prioritized treatment based on the rate of change post initial assessment. — Angelica O’Hara and Ibnul Rafi, co-founders
- Promptous, an insurance claims processing platform using blockchain technology and smart contracts to create transparency, more predictability and prompt payment. Promptous eliminates the need for a costly third-party benefits administrator, and its streamlined system, targeted for the dental insurance industry, is simpler, easier to understand and creates secure transactions in a regulatory compliant platform. — Joshua Jackson, Timothy Kelly, Phil McKnight, co-founders