Researched by Hamdy Ibrahim, assistant professor in mechanical engineering, the project won $20,000 to be used to further his research.
A panel of local business executives and entrepreneurs judged the competition. The top three projects were chosen. First place won $20,000, second won $10,000 and third won $5,000.
Ibrahim said his prize money will be used to develop an implant prototype made from the metal alloy—perhaps magnesium and zinc—used to stabilize broken bones then break down.
“We need something physical. It’s going to be a challenge, but that’s more motivation to work on it,” he said.
Metals now used—usually titanium or stainless steel—don’t dissolve once their work is done, staying in the body for the life of the patient. In some cases, the body attacks the metal as a foreign object, causing infection and pain. In these cases, the implants must be removed surgically.
Six members of the UTC faculty competed in the competition.
Second place went to David Giles, associate professor in biology, for “Synergistic Treatment of Bacterial Infections,” the development of a treatment regimen that decreases the number of antibiotic/small-molecule combinations that can increase bacterial vulnerability and lead to infection.
Third place went to Farah Kandah, associate professor in computer science and engineering, for “A System and Method for Trust as a Service in Smart Cities and other Large-Scale IoT Deployments,” a system that monitors devices linked to Smart City software and provides better security against device failure, being hacked or both.
Other faculty members in the competition were:
- Zibin Guo, professor in medical anthropology, for “Applied Tai Chi,” a program of tai chi that can be used by people of all physical abilities, improving physical, emotional and social well-being.
- Erkan Kaplanoglu, associate professor in engineering management and technology, for “Developing Active and Passive Force Controlled Wearable Device for Upper Extremity Essential Tremor,” a wearable device for patients with essential tremor disorder, which causes involuntary and rhythmic shaking, and also investigates the efficiency of the device.
- Nagwan Zahry, assistant professor in communication, for “FoodConnect App: A User Centered Healthy Eating App,” an app that helps college students make healthy food choices, providing them with motivational, informational and social support.
Choosing the winner was difficult, said Jennifer Herrett-Skjellum, commercialization counselor in the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UTC. A selection process that was supposed to take about 15 minutes took more than 45, she noted.
- Cory Allison, CEO and co-founder of KelCor Inc.
- Quentin Lawrence, owner and CEO of Arete Business Solutions LLC
- Neha Mardi, innovation strategist at Southern Champion Tray
- Leigh McCormack, assistant vice president of data science strategy in Unum’s digital incubator