Students Showcase Research at Stevens Innovation Expo


Stevens Institute of Technology (Hoboken) demonstrated the full scope of its research accomplishments during the 2012 Stevens Innovation Expo on April 25.

Close to 100 teams of graduating seniors and nearly 60 professors presented their projects in medicine, chemistry, engineering and information technology.

During the first half of the expo, the university staged a research and entrepreneurship colloquium in its DeBaun Auditorium that featured speeches from Stevens president Nariman Farvardin and professors Peter Tolias and Ronald Besser; Dr. Hazel Szeto of Weill Cornell Medical College (New York); and Golden Seeds investor Stephanie Newby, who gave the keynote speech on women entrepreneurs.

The colloquium also included two competitions in which students pitched their start-up ideas or research projects to a panel of judges.

New Jersey Tech Meetup organizer and founder of crafterMania Aaron Price moderated the competitions, which offered 10 teams in each category two minutes to convince the judges. The judges included David Beatty, managing director of New York-based Golden Seeds; Travis Kahn, executive director of the Montclair State University-based accelerator TechLaunch; Michael Lucca, a principal with The Incubation Factory (St. Louis); Seth Tropper, cofounder and CEO of Switch2Health (North Brunswick); and Mark Yackanich, CEO of MegaPhone Labs (New York).

Students Kerri Killen, Samantha Music and Justyna Zielinska of the Spinomedics team won first place in the start-up competition. They designed a sensory device that measures the healing progress of post-op back surgery patients without using costly, harmful X-rays. The project V-Scope, which improves intubation medical procedures, took second place, and Delta Financials and VEINUS, a device that locates blood vessels for accurate needle insertion, tied for third place.

Gennovation, the team comprising students Lindsay Daly, Alina Duran, Larry Giannechini, Sarah Parker and Michael Walker, who designed a state-of-the-art operating room, won the project pitch competition. Concrete Canoe, an entry in a national competition to design a functional canoe made of concrete, won second place, and Senior D Marketplace, a platform for students to trade project ideas, won third. For both competitions the first-place team won $3,000, the second-place team won $2,000 and the third-place team won $1,000.

After a networking luncheon at the school’s Babbio Center, the expo moved to the Canavan Arena for the senior project poster presentation. All Stevens seniors complete a final project in which they apply what they learned in the classroom to a practical industry need. Each student team displayed posters, brochures and sometimes equipment and spoke about its research to interested passersby.

White_Space_project_at_StevensMost teams included three to five students. Student Ronald Kessler said the White Space Device that he, Sean Iverson and William Sadler had designed uses a special copper antenna and recently decommissioned television bandwidth to provide wireless Internet service to poor and rural communities and those in which existing infrastructure leaves coverage gaps. He said existing infrastructure is expensive and often needs repair.

“It’s an affordable approach to get Internet everywhere,” Kessler said about the White Space Device.

The students on the Digital Wallet team believe they have designed a useful smartphone app that will save consumers the hassle of having to carry a wallet. The app would let them pay for items in a store through credit or debit accounts uploaded to their phones. Instead of taking wallets into stores, they could log into the app, continue to shop in person and then add the desired items to a digital cart. After they click Pay, the transaction would appear on the participating store’s point-of-sale terminal, enabling a more efficient check-out process.

“We put so much information into our phones, so why not integrate the whole wallet?” student Miles Curiotto asked. Curiotto, who worked on the project with Alberto Almonte, Michael Stross and Jingyi Yin, said the team hopes its wallet app will one day include official identification forms.

The expo also featured nearly 60 faculty projects. One well suited to a college crowd was technology management assistant professor Winter Mason’s look at the popular online video game Halo, in which players shoot at each other as part of an intergalactic war.

Using survey responses and other demographic data, Mason said he was able to guess which players involved in the game were offline friends. He also found a positive correlation between players playing with their friends and their success at the game.

“This research could lead to a better understanding of team dynamics,” Mason said.

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