WPI Students Challenged to Research and Develop Innovative Solutions to Important Problems

Inaugural Daedalus Innovation Competition to be Held April 30
April 28, 2010

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Since Worcester Polytechnic Institute's (WPI) founding, students have been challenged to apply their knowledge to solve important, real-world problems, in keeping with the university's motto, "Lehr und Kunst" (German for theory and practice). A new competition seeks to build on that tradition by challenging students to identify difficult problems with significant societal impact and then develop creative and innovative solutions that can be "reduced to practice" either as commercial products or as important new fields of research.

The Daedalus Innovation Competition, sponsored by WPI's Bioengineering Institute, will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. Friday, April 30 at the Life Sciences and Bioengineering Center at Gateway Park, in Room 1002. The competition is designed to encourage undergraduate and graduate students to think broadly about how research in their discipline can positively impact society, including human health and the environment. Intended to stimulate cross-disciplinary thinking and innovation in the sciences, engineering, management, the social sciences, and the humanities and arts, the competition takes its name from a character in Greek legend that invented wings from wax and feathers and escaped captivity by flying to safety.

The following six finalists will compete for three monetary prizes. Each will present seven slides within 10 minutes, followed by 10 minutes of questions from a panel of judges. Audience participation is welcome.

  • "Interactive Social-based e Study," by Ryan Rahul Omakar Prasad, a graduate student in WPI's Management Department
  • "Preventing Loss and Theft of External Storage Drives," by Nathan Olivarez, a first-year student majoring in electrical and computer engineering
  • "Plantastic: Improving In-person Social Interaction and Learning Using Mobile Devices," by Paulo G. de Barros, a computer science graduate student
  • "Ergonomic Scalpel Handle Design for Accurate Incision," by senior biomedical engineering majors Peter Brown, Jennifer Dahlmann, and Nicholas Palumbo
  • "Air Gap Elimination in Permanent Magnet Machines," Andy Judge, a mechanical engineering graduate student
  • "An Electronic Guitar Tutor," by Patrick DeSantis and James Montgomery, junior electrical and computer engineering and computer science double majors,, and junior electrical and computer engineering major Sean Levesque