Two MIT graduate students each won $15,000 prizes in a national invention competition that honored new ideas in healthcare, transportation, food and agriculture, and consumer devices.
In the “Cure it!” category, Carl Schoellhammer won a $15,000 award from Lemelson-MIT National Collegiate Student Prize Competition for his inventions that use the gastrointestinal (GI) tract to deliver medicines pain-free to patients.
In the “Drive it!” category, Josh Siegel ’11, SM ’13 won for his innovative hardware device that enables users to access real-time data from all their cars’ sensors and actuators to use in practical applications.
Schoellhammer, a doctoral candidate in the MIT lab of Professor Robert Langer and Daniel Blankschtein, submitted two inventions. The Microneedle Pill (mPill) is an ingestible capsule that introduces a drug directly into the GI tissue painlessly despite the small, protruding micron-scale needles. His second invention, the Ultrasound Probe (uProbe), enables the fast, local delivery of therapeutics to the GI tract by using low-frequency ultrasound to physically drive medication into tissue painlessly.
Siegel, a PhD candidate in the MIT Field Intelligence Lab, focuses on the use of automotive data to optimize vehicle efficiency, performance, and reliability. His invention, Carduino, collects data from car systems to predict vehicle failures, provide remote control of vehicle functions, and crowdsource information like traffic data and road conditions. He founded CarKnow, a startup focused on using vehicle data in new ways, and he holds a patent for a road-condition smart messaging system.
The competition, supported by the Lemelson-MIT Program, builds on the legacy of the Lemelson-MIT Student Prize. The annual $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize was awarded to MIT Professor Sangeeta Bhatia in 2014 for her work on miniaturized technologies with health applications.