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ECE Students, Alumnus Among UM $50K Business Plan Competition Winners

ECE Students, Alumnus Among UM $50K Business Plan Competition Winners


The Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) announced the winners of the 2008 University of Maryland $50K Business Plan Competition.

Winners were chosen among eight finalist teams in three categories during an event on May 9. Each team gave investor presentations to a team of distinguished judges.

Randolph Ballard, an electrical engineering student, was a member of the winning team in the Undergraduate Student category for the LDTech team that is developing the Liquid Desiccant Waterfall (LDW), a visually appealing, low-energy dehumidifier that pulls moisture from the interior of a house and releases it outside in the atmosphere. The technology provides comfort, cost savings and energy savings, as well as a reduction in mold, mildew, bacteria, and dust mites, in a beautiful and dramatic symbol of green technology.

Dr. Mehdi Kalantari, a faculty researcher and program director of the Master's in Telecommunications program, and a 2005 ECE Ph.D. alumnus advised by Prof. Mark Shayman (ECE/ISR), placed second overall in the Alumni category. His business project, Resensys Inc., is aimed at developing remote, wireless, distributed sensors that persistantly monitor the structural health of bridges, massive commercial and residential buildings, and other civil infrastructures. Resensys’ sensors are easy to install, ultra-energy-efficient, and environmentally friendly.

Here are the complete results for the competition:

Alumni Division:

  • First Place, $15,000; First Overall: Cerene Biomedics

    Cerene Biomedics is developing an implantable medical device that will prevent epileptic seizures by delivering targeted micro-scale thermoelectric cooling to the neocortex of the brain. Cerene’s patent-pending prototype device could overcome previous hurdles in brain cooling, providing first-line therapy for 230,000 epileptic patients in the U.S. each year with a seizure focus on the neocortex.

    Team: John Stroncek, alumnus, department of mechanical engineering, 2005; Heidi Koschwanez, graduate student, biomedical engineering, Duke University; Christina Li, graduate student, biomedical engineering, Duke University; Carolyn Nohejl, graduate student, biomedical engineering, Duke University; Vivek Sasikumar, MBA student, Duke University

  • Second Place, $6,000; Second Overall: Resensys, Inc.

    Resensys Inc. develops remote, wireless, distributed sensors that persistantly monitor the structural health of bridges, massive commercial and residential buildings, and other civil infrastructures. Resensys’ sensors are easy to install, ultra-energy-efficient, and environmentally friendly.

    Team: Dr. Mehdi Kalantari, alumnus, department of electrical and computer engineering, 2005

Faculty and Graduate Student Division:

  • First Place, $15,000: Intelligent Packaging Systems

    Intelligent Packaging Systems manufactures flexible polymer coatings that change color upon the detection of foodborne bacteria such as E. Coli, Salmonella, or Listeria. IPS’s coatings can be incorporated into any existing food packaging, providing both producers and consumers of a wide variety of foods, such as beef, poultry, pork, fruits, vegetables, juices and dairy products, with a reliable method of identifying contaminated products.

    Team: Daniel Janiak, graduate student, department of materials science and engineering; Dr. Peter Kofinas, professor, Fischell Deparment of Bioengineering TRAFFAX Inc.

  • Second Place, $2,000: TRAFFAX Inc.

    TRAFFAX Inc. designs, produces and licenses equipment and systems to measure the flow of vehicle traffic and pedestrians based on technology that detects and monitors electronic emissions from consumer electronic devices. The TRAFFAX technology overcomes disadvantages of existing systems in that it is accurate, inexpensive and protects individual privacy.

    Team: Dr. Stanley E. Young, Center for Advanced Transportation Technology, associate research faculty, department of civil and environmental engineering; Philip J. Tarnoff, director, Center for Advanced Transportation Technology, department of civil and environmental engineering; Nicholas Ganig, student, department of electrical and computer engineering

Undergraduate Student Division:

  • First Place, $10,000: LDTech

    LDTech is developing the Liquid Desiccant Waterfall (LDW), a visually appealing, low-energy dehumidifier that pulls moisture from the interior of a house and releases it outside in the atmosphere. The technology provides comfort, cost savings and energy savings, as well as a reduction in mold, mildew, bacteria, and dust mites, in a beautiful and dramatic symbol of green technology.

    Team: Anthony Ajayi, accounting/information systems; Randolph Ballard, electrical engineering; Elliot Dixon, finance; Erwin Garcia, civil engineering; Robert Garrison, accounting/finance; Shirley Haden, american studies; Andy Han, information systems; Willie T. Montgomery Jr., american studies; Stanley Ohaka, computer

    science; Tyler Sines, mechanical engineering; Trevor Young, economics/public policy

  • Second Place, $2,000: SymViva Technologies

    SymViva Technologies is developing advanced transdermal insulin patch technologies to replace the use of hypodermic needles in treating diabetes. Using research on ultradeformable carriers like Transfersomes®, SymViva Technologies plans to commercialize vesicular delivery technology in an insulin delivery patch that is safe, easy to use, and inexpensive to produce.

    Team: Keran Lu, chemical and biomolecular engineering; Dr. Nam Sun Wang, professor, department of chemical and biomolecular engineering

Judges for the event were Henry Ahn, Program Manager, Technology Funding Programs, Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO); Warren Citrin, Co-founder and Board Member, Gloto Corp.; Ray Dizon, Managing Director, Maryland Venture Fund; Wei-Wu He, General Partner and Co-founder of Emerging Technology Partners LLC; Mark Kass, Member, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo; Karl Renner, Principal, Fish & Richardson P.C.

Sponsors for the event included: Fish & Richardson P.C.; Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo; Maryland Technology Development Corporation; Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.

The UM $50K Business Plan Competition promotes the commercialization of innovative ideas and University-created technologies by offering faculty, students, and alumni prizes for the best new venture plans. The competition emphasizes learning by offering one-to-one coaching for finalists, as well as the experience of presenting ideas to an experienced panel of judges.

The UM $50K Business Plan Competition has historically awarded a total of $385,000 in prizes to faculty, students, and alumni to launch innovative new ventures. Companies active in the Competition have generated millions in revenues, grants and awards. Past winners include Chesapeake PERL Inc., AnthroTronix Inc., Affiliate Classroom, and Squarespace Inc.

May 15, 2008


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