NE teams dominate Esch pitch competition

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Congratulations to Nanotechnology Engineering’s iuvoderm, KnowStroke and Scope for their wins at the Norman Esch Entrepreneurship Awards for Capstone Design competition. These teams of fourth-year students brought home three of the six $10,000 prizes on offer at this annual pitch competition that recognizes innovative Capstone Design projects.

Hillman Leung, Tiana Colantonio, Adrianus Matthew Sukuramsyah and Jonathan Wu won with their low-cost, easy-to-use wound dressing to help heal diabetic foot ulcers. One quarter of the 450 million people who suffer from diabetes worldwide will develop a chronic foot ulcer. Iuvoderm, a drug-infused antimicrobial hydrogel that needs to be applied only once each day, will make it easier for them to successfully heal their foot ulcers.

The KnowStroke team, comprised of Ahmad Lakhani, Eniko Zsoldos, Methely Sharma and Matthew Pley, won with the nanotechnology-based sweat sensor they designed to help prevent heat-related illnesses, such as dehydration and heat stroke. They combined their innovative sensor with a series of off-the-shelf sensors to create a wearable device that noninvasively determines a person’s hydration levels and informs the user when they are at risk of developing a heat-related illness.

Alisha Bhanji, Ishan Mishra, Holden Beggs, Fernando Peña Cantú and Zhenle Cao from team Scope won for their electrically tunable lens for smartphone cameras. Smartphones use multiple cameras and lenses to mimic optical zoom. This expensive strategy is unattractive, scales poorly and relies on lossy digital cropping. Scope’s liquid crystal lens with electrically tunable focus works in a series to achieve optical zoom without movement. Such a system is cheaper, smaller and more scalable than market alternatives and can also be used in communications technology, industrial imaging and scientific metrology.

Every year since its launch in 2014, the Esch Foundation has distributed up to six awards to Waterloo Engineering students. The Norman Esch Entrepreneurship Awards for Capstone Design supports the development of students receiving training in the interdisciplinary applications of Engineering Sciences.

This year, to accommodate restrictions introduced to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, the fifteen finalists pitched their ideas via five-minute videos, rather than the customary three-minute in-person presentations followed by a Q&A period.

For more about the six winners of the 2020 Norman Esch Entrepreneurship Award for Capstone Design pitch competition, read Innovating at the annual Esch awards.


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