Penn Students Vie for Top Prizes in Annual Invention Competition: PennVention

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Media Contact:Jordan Reese | | 215-573-6604April 10, 2008

PHILADELPHIA –- The Weiss Tech House, a student-run hub of technological innovation at the University of Pennsylvania, announced today the 11 student inventions that will compete in the fourth annual PennVention competition.

This year’s finalists will compete for more than $60,000 in cash and services and a chance to formally launch their products into the marketplace. The year-long competition concludes with an inventor's fair held in the Wu and Chen Auditorium of Levine Hall at the University of Pennsylvania on April 11, 2008.

The finalists, chosen for ingenuity and commercialization potential, are:

Bayesian Diagnosis Pro: A web-based, medical decision support software tool for health care professionals based on Bayesian networks.

Galloway Designs: A hand-worn traffic safety tool designed to increase the visibility of traffic control personnel in dark settings and to improve the communication of traffic commands to drivers.

Illumination Diagnostics: A breast cancer diagnosis kit that will be offered as a chemical compliment to screen mammography for the quick, accurate and cost efficient detection of early-stage breast cancer.

Crave Mobile: A SMS/WAP-based mobile social network leveraging the Facebook platform to create a unique and powerful tool for people to stay engaged and in communication with others as well as the information that is important to them while on the go.

OpticSense: A non-invasive blood glucose monitor that accurately measures glucose concentration in real-time through blood vessels in the retina without the pain associated with pin pricks or implants.

OSHealth: Strives to be the global industry standard for health metrics and corporate wellness program metrics. They help employers identify strengths and weaknesses in their employees’ health and empower them with the knowledge to make changes.

Proteza: A prosthetic accessory that is worn on the residual limb of a transtibial (below-knee) amputee with technology that alleviates discomfort and prevents the skin breakdown commonly referred to as a pressure sores.

Snack Caddy: An innovative solution to the challenge of serving food outside.

Solar Focusing Photovoltaic Device: A small-scale solar concentrator. It employs high intensity PV cells to efficiently harvest solar energy. It is intended to be sold to individual consumers, farmers, and landowners. It is the next step towards distributed energy generation.

SWITCH-A-ROO: A convenient method of operating electrical outlets wirelessly.

YoYouWantTo: A web-based way to find people in your real-life communities to do things with. Focused on spontaneous and informal offline activities such as getting lunch between classes, studying for an exam, or seeing a magic show.

Open to all Penn students, the PennVention competition teaches students how to turn a good idea into a commercial product through three distinct rounds. Participants gain access to the feedback and guidance of more than 40 industry experts as they learn about patenting issues, product design and manufacturing.

“Past PennVention winners have been able to incorporate businesses, secure venture capital funding and successfully take their products to market,” said Anne Stamer, director of the Weiss Tech House. “We are extremely proud of our past winners and very excited about the potential of this year’s 11 finalists.”

Leading up to the Invention Fair, each finalist will receive one-on-one product development mentoring from Bresslergroup, $250 in cash to assist in building a prototype and a chance to apply to the Weiss Tech House Innovation Fund for a grant of as much as $1,000.

At the finals, a panel of expert judges will award more than $60,000 in cash and prizes sponsored by: QVC, Inc., Bresslergroup, Lowenstein Sandler PC, Paramount PDS, Tierney Communications, Cisco Systems, and a new Social Innovation award from Meltwater Group.

For more information about PennVention, please visit