Photo Credit Jan Garrison
Reviving an old model
March 20, 2019

What was old is new again according to the winners of the Miclot Business Competition Sunday afternoon.

Judges Dr. Jim Arnold, Andy Miclot, and Hallie Grant chose Slide, a case with three interchangeable batteries for cell phones, as the best business concept and the winner of the $5,000 prize.

Luis Franco ’22 (Culiacan Rosales, Mexico), Beau Barich ’22 (Fishers, Ind.), and Xinrui Shi ’22 (Palo Alto, Calif.) said the concept builds off an old idea when cell phones first became pocket-sized. The new design reduces the size of the batteries and case, making it more convenient. The initial package would include the phone case, three batteries, and a storage case/charging station. The package would retail for $80 to $90, and additional batteries could be purchased if needed.

The size and versatility of the batteries makes Slide marketable. The batteries would be small enough to fit in a backpack or a shirt pocket and the user would have the choice of taking one, two, or three batteries when they leave.

The case would not be as heavy as other cases that have the batteries built in. One battery could be in use while the others are charging. And the case would include a headphone jack, something current plug-in batteries don’t.

Using the 3-D printers at the Paul Pigott Center for Advanced Technology and Design, they made a model of the storage case/recharging station and the three batteries. The estimated cost of production would be approximately $35, which would come down as production ramps up.

The first runner-up spot and $1,000 was awarded to Smart Sensor, a pill dispenser concept design by Ava Dauer ’20 (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Analisse Zuniga ’20 (Laredo, Texas). Smart Sensor would have a cell phone application attached to it that would alert the person if someone tried to open the stainless steel container.

Dauer and Zuniga said six million people age 12 and over have taken prescription medications for non-medical use. A total of 80,000 deaths are annually attributed to drug overdoses. The Smart Sensor would keep prescription medications safer and, if opened by someone not authorized, would notify you that it has been tampered with.

It would also send notifications to caregivers if an elderly relative has not taken their medications after a set number of hours or days. The containers would be waterproof and come in two sizes for holding a single prescription or multiple pill bottles.

The second runner-up position and the winner of $500 was the Remote Renewable Automobile Charging Station concept by Jacob Page ’20 (Granger, Ind.). Page said plug-in hybrid cars face a major hurdle because of the lack of charging locations – especially in small towns and rural areas. The development of remote renewable charging stations would help open those markets.

The charging stations would have batteries charged by solar panels on top. They would be transported to different locations by semis and dropped off or set up in a fixed location. People would be connect their electric vehicles and pay a charging fee using their smartphones. Charging would take approximately 30 minutes, he said.

The cost would be approximately $42,000 per charging pod. The exterior space could double as billboards that could be sold to advertisers. Page said the market should be strong since 65 million electric vehicles are expected to be on the road worldwide by 2040.

The other six concepts were:

  • CompassionConnect by Henry Stewart ’19 (Indianapolis): a non-profit concept that would connect people struggling with mental health issues with others, including former patients, doctors, and other healthcare providers.
  • ARTour by Caleb Barrett ’20 (South Bend, Ind.): a virtual reality application that would provide assistance to students and others in taking unguided tours of college campuses, providing directions and the history of different locations and buildings.
  • Sancy by Elbek Nazarov ’19 (Fort Wayne, Ind.): A computer application that would allow travelers to plan their trips based on crime data for different parts of cities and countries. Hotel and restaurant recommendations would be made by the safest places to go.
  • Reminder+ by Dong Gwan Lee ’21 (Seoul, South Korea): A mobile application that could serve as a combination calendar, memo pad, and screen notification system to help people stay organized.
  • ERIS by Tom Ni ’19 (Shanghai, China), Peter Xie ’20 (Chicago), Michael Liu ’19 (Beijing): The Emergency Response Information System would monitor a person’s vital signs and transmit those wirelessly to emergency responders, which would help speed up the treatment process.
  • HotHat by Evan Lu ’21 (Beijing), Ethan Lamstein ’22 (San Rafael, Calif.) and Jonathan Tominac ’21 (Cicero, Ill.): a special heated hat that would be rechargeable. The lining of the hat would be made from sodium acetate that generate the heat.

After the judges deliberated, Arnold told the students said their concepts were “extraordinary” and the judges could tell a lot of work and time went into the concept. He added that three teams that won should now take their concepts and refine them for The Next Launch.

The Next Launch, a regional business competition entering its third year, is sponsored by The Ron Rubin School for the Entrepreneur. Teams from Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio will be vying for a top prize of $25,000. This year’s event will be conducted at Culver on April 24.

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