A first-year engineering student from the University of Texas at Austin won the Arrow Electronics People’s Choice Award at the 2021 Collegiate Inventors Competition. The annual competition, which honored five collegiate teams for their cutting-edge research and discoveries, was held virtually Oct. 14.
Finalist teams (six undergraduate and six graduate), consisting of 20 students from 13 colleges and universities across the United States, presented their inventions in a virtual format to an esteemed panel of final-round judges composed of the most influential inventors and innovation experts in the nation — National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF) Inductees and United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) officials.
“As our world’s challenges continue to grow in complexity, we increasingly need to look to the next generation of innovators to meet these problems head on,” said NIHF CEO Michael Oister. “We are proud to recognize and celebrate this latest group of collegiate inventors who are committed to creating a better future for us all.”
UT Austin freshman Siddharth Thakur captured the People’s Choice Award (and a $2,000 prize) for developing a remote-controlled search-and-rescue robot. The Firebot is a wirelessly managed, thermally insulated, obstacle-climbing robot that can locate people trapped in burning buildings. Firefighters can deploy Firebot near an entrance and remotely steer it using a joystick and laptop displaying live video, thermal imagery and sensor data, which warns of potentially hazardous situations. Firefighters can use a two-way speaker to lead conscious victims out, or a siren and GPS map to allow them to quickly find and rescue unconscious victims, helping to mitigate risks and save lives.
In addition to winning $5,000 to $10,000 cash awards for their inventions, honorees also receive mentorship and advice from NIHF inductees, as well as “acceleration certificates” from the United States Patent and Trademark Office, which the students can use to move their projects along the patent process faster. A team from Harvard University won the undergraduate first prize for a new drug delivery system to treat ear infections, while the first-place graduate winner was a team from Stony Brook University, which developed a cleaning solution for utility-scale solar installations.
Established in 1990, the Collegiate Inventors Competition is a program of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, and is sponsored by the USPTO and Arrow. In addition to cash awards, the winning teams also receive an opportunity to meet with a NIHF Inductee for mentorship and advice, and a USPTO Patent Acceleration Certificate.
About the Collegiate Inventors Competition
The Collegiate Inventors Competition encourages and drives innovation and entrepreneurship at the collegiate level. A program of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, this competition recognizes and rewards the research, innovations and discoveries by college students and their advisers for projects leading to inventions that have the potential of receiving patent protection. Introduced in 1990, the competition has awarded more than $1 million to students for their innovative work and scientific achievement through the help of its sponsors. For more information, visit invent.org/collegiate-inventors.
About Arrow Electronics
Arrow Electronics (NYSE:ARW) guides innovation forward for over 180,000 leading technology manufacturers and service providers. With 2020 sales of $29 billion, Arrow develops technology solutions that improve business and daily life. Learn more at FiveYearsOut.com