Team Oscar at 2024 Esch Competition
Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Emerging innovations: students pitch cutting-edge ideas at Esch Competition

Teams from Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering had great success at this year’s 2024 Norman Esch Competition for Entrepreneurship Award for Capstone Design, presented by the Conrad School of Entrepreneurship and Business. Twelve of this year's Capstone Design teams pitched their innovative ideas to a team of industry leaders for their share of investment funding.   

After much deliberation and encouragement from the audience, keep reading to find out how MME teams fared in the pitch competition. 

Collage of Team Kite at 2024 Esch Pitch Competition


Team Kite has invented a novel Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) that can inspect high-voltage power line insulators and makes year-round monitoring of critical electrical infrastructure easy. Kite was awarded $5,000 for their invention.   

Collage of Team OSCAR at 2024 Esch Pitch Competition


OSCAR fuses GPS data with thermal and optical camera data to autonomously navigate to drowning victims in daytime and nighttime scenarios. OSCAR broadcasts its location to nearby ships and rescue units using a standard automatic identification system, helping search and rescue teams quickly locate the victim to maximize the chance of survival. The team took home $12,000 for their life-saving innovation.   

Collage of Team SpinStop at 2024 Esch Pitch Competition


Focused on safety, SpinStop helps to make helicopter rescue operations more efficient and safer by stopping the uncontrolled spin of hoisted payloads. This device can rescue any payload to existing helicopter hoists and generate counter-torque to stabilize the payload when a helicopter is hoisting. This remarkable team was awarded $12,000 for their invention. 

Collage of Team Hawaii Robotics at 2024 Esch Pitch Competition

Hawaii Robotics  

Hawaii Robotics received a $12,000 award for their custom robotic system, which performs bimanual manipulation to help with flexibility and customization in manufacturing environments. The system is set up with teacher arms and a student who records tasks through a camera and feeds data into an action transformer that generalizes these tasks.   

Collage of Team Symphonic at 2024 Esch Pitch Competition


Students from Symphonic have created a wearable silent communicator where the user wearing the device can mouth what they want to say, and the device does the dictation and vocalization for them. This device is perfect for people who have problems vocalizing—no matter what that may look like. Symphonic took home $12,000 to continue developing their project. 

Congratulations to our senior students on their successful pitches! To learn about more engineering teams, read on in A decade of winning ideas