"Create the Future " Design Contest sponsored by PTC® , COMSOL , and Tech Briefs Media attracts over 900 innovative product ideas from engineers and students in 50 countries.

New York, NY – A new invention could protect millions from contracting food-borne illnesses. The αScreen is a portable, rapid pathogen screener that could allow screening of up to 100% of food produced in processing plants, before it is delivered to the consumer. αScreen is highly accurate, can detect as low as a single bacteria, and is approximately 50 times less expensive than the established, currently used detection methods.

Monika Weber of New Haven, CT, a graduate student at Yale University, is the team leader on this design project. She and a select team of students at Yale University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science are responsible for the advancement of the design. Monika spent two years working on preliminary projects in bio-detection before the design for the αScreen was finalized.

After hearing the news that she was the grand prize winner of the “Create the Future” Design Contest, Ms. Weber replied, “Winning the Create the Future Design Contest was far beyond my expectations and I am really honored by receiving this award. I feel by winning this contest, it will give me the exposure needed to bring this product to market.”

The Create the Future Design Contest is sponsored by PTC , COMSOL , and Tech Briefs Media Group . The αScreen bacteria detection device was among the more than 900 new product ideas submitted in the ninth design contest, which was established to recognize and reward engineering innovations that benefit humanity, the environment, and the economy.

In addition to the grand prize, first-place winners (of Hewlett-Packard workstations) were named in seven categories:

Consumer Products

UVA+B Sunfriend  - A wristband that provides effective and inexpensive UVA and UVB monitoring.

Karin Edgett and Shahid Aslam

Electronics – sponsored by Digi-Key

iPecs Tech  - A tool to accurately measure human locomotion or gait parameters on users of lower limb prostheses.

Michael Leydet,
College Park Industries

Machinery & Equipment

Hybrid Rotor Compressor for Natural Gas Extraction  - A breakthrough natural gas compression technology that is 30% more energy-efficient than current compressors.

Jeremy Pitts and Pedro Santos,
OsComp Systems


XVIVO Organ Perfusion System  - Perfusion A mobile intensive care unit that can repair damaged organs ex vivo (out of the donor's body) for successful transplantation into a waiting recipient.

Chris Jaynes, Tom Taccini, and Tim Klug,

Safety & Security

AquaSonus Passive-Sonar Pool Alarm  - State-of-the-art digital signal processor pool alarm system designed to prevent child drowning accidents.

William C. Roberts, Bob Hoenig, and Paula Bailey,

Sustainable Technologies

TO:CMA Spherical Generator  - A generator that creates copious amounts of clean electricity out of ocean waves at costs below all major existing renewable energy sources.

Angel Francisco Martinez, Delia Beatriz Martinez, and Trupti Bulbule,
Cornell University


Aero-Shroud Oscillating Jet  - This technology could enable hypersonic passenger transport connecting Earth's cities, dramatically shortening travel times.

Rebecca Farr, Endwell Daso, Victor Pritchett, and Ten-See Wang,
NASA Marshall Space Flight Center

Finalists were selected by senior editors at Tech Briefs Media Group and judged by an independent panel of design engineers. Visitors to the contest Web site could vote on entries, with the 10 most popular designs awarded a SpaceNavigator 3D mouse from 3Dconnexion. Popular design winners and honorable mentions hailed from Canada, Mexico, Italy, and the Slovakia, in addition to the U.S. For more information, visit www.createthefuture2011.com 


COMSOL, Inc.  (Burlington, MA) provides software solutions for multiphysics modeling and simulation. Its flagship product, COMSOL Multiphysics, lets engineers and scientists build simulations that bring their design ideas to life. COMSOL's customers apply this technology to make cars and aircraft safer and more energy efficient, enhance the reception of our cell phones, search for new energy sources, explore the universe, develop medical equipment enabling more accurate diagnoses, and educate the next generation of scientists.

About PTC

PTC (Nasdaq: PMTC), The Product Development Company®, develops, markets and supports product development software solutions and related services that help companies achieve their product development strategies and optimize their processes. Using the company's tightly integrated CAD and enterprise PLM solutions, organizations are better able to create and manage product information throughout the lifecycle for optimal product development success. More information may be found at www.ptc.com 

About Tech Briefs Media Group

Tech Briefs Media Group  is publisher of NASA Tech Briefs, the largest-circulation design-engineering magazine worldwide and Defense Tech Briefs, the largest-circulation engineering magazine for the mil/aero market. The Tech Briefs Media Group product line has grown to include print/digital advertising, email/web products, virtual events, seminars & conferences, custom media and content related advertising. Combined, these products reach over 600,000 engineers and managers worldwide.

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the October, 2011 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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