UMass Amherst Whiz Kids Compete in 2008 Technology Innovation Challenge on May 8

AMHERST, Mass. – The finals of the UMass Amherst Technology Innovation Challenge (TIC) – a competition on Friday, May 8 from 3:30 to 6:00 p.m. in Campus Center Room 1009 – will give away the kind of cash usually won from a TV quiz show and feature gadgetry normally found at an inventor’s expo.

The judges for the TIC will award $80,000 in prize money for the best entrepreneurial plan involving hot new technologies conceived on campus, and five teams of UMass Amherst students, faculty and alumni will give lively and entertaining presentations of their new businesses.

The finalists are marketing emerging companies that produce such breakthroughs as therapeutic vests for relieving people suffering from anxiety disorders, devices for detecting melanomas at a very early stage, and safety helmets that dial 911 in case of emergencies.

The TIC, run by the College of Engineering, the Isenberg School of Management and the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, is a competition that promotes innovation education based on technology being commercialized by faculty, students and alumni at UMass Amherst. The two leading sponsors of the TIC are the intellectual property law firm of Wolf, Greenfield & Sacks, P.C. and Saint-Gobain High Performance Materials.

The five finalists in the TIC will be pitching the following ideas on May 8:

• Therapeutic Systems, a company created by mechanical
engineering students to make therapeutic vests and other
devices that relieve people suffering from anxiety
disorders;

• Wideband Diagnostics, a company created by electrical
engineering students to manufacture an imaging device
that enables very early detection of melanomas;

• Prometheus Lifesciences, a company with a key team
member from the civil and environmental engineering
department, proposing to sell CardioNICHE, a
biotechnical technique that harnesses the regenerative
potential of stem cells to re-vascularize hearts damaged
by cardiovascular disease;

• Rentabilities, an online store and integrated
point-of-sales system that brings rental companies into
the Internet age;

• Engineered Response, a company created by a mechanical
engineering undergraduate, which is marketing a
recreational safety helmet, nicknamed “The OnStar of
Helmets,” that automatically calls 911 in case of an
accident.

Some of these ventures are already making big news. Rentabilities was recently mentioned in US News & World Report, while Engineered Response has been covered by media all over the world.

Besides Wolf-Greenfield and Saint-Gobain, the current sponsors of the TIC are Artiman Ventures, Joseph Bohan, Paul Carney, Forge Partners LCC, Eric and Candy Janszen, Kodiak Venture Partners, Scott Perry, SABIC Innovative Plastics, VISTAGY, Stephen Dunne, Karen Lauter Utgoff Consulting, Michael Turnstall, Revolabs, Tom Gray, Long River Ventures, Bart Stuck and Mary-Jane Cross.

For more information about the TIC, visit www.umass.edu/innovation or contact Michael F. Malone, the Ronnie and Eugene Isenberg Distinguished Professor of Engineering and Dean of the College of Engineering, 413/545-6388, mmalone@ecs.umass.edu.

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