Patricia Hallberg, President and Chief Operating Officer of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, said, "Collectively, these winners are an excellent example of what the Collegiate Inventors Competition encourages--curiosity and inventiveness that have led to ideas that could change our world. It's been an honor to recognize this dedicated, wide-ranging group."
Undergraduate winner Colette Shen, 21, has advanced hope for diabetics with her discovery of insulin-secreting cells. Her research focuses on prompting liver cells to release insulin in a synthetically-created environment, mimicking cell structures found in a healthy pancreas. Her work has the potential to aid those who suffer from type 1 diabetes. A native of Houston, Shen is a student at Harvard working in unique collaboration with her advisor, Carlos Semino of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Semino receives a $5,000 prize.
Also an undergraduate winner, Deborah Loxam-Kohl, 33, has created a machine that makes three-dimensional forms out of felt. Although industrial felting machines existed, Loxam-Kohl wanted to develop an automated method to produce a three-dimensional object directly from raw materials without cutting and stitching. Her machine has many industrial applications for making stereo speaker cones, panels to insulate against sound, vibration and temperature, cold weather clothing and accessories, sculptures and many other uses. Her machine transforms a 2,000-year old labor-intensive process into an elegant automated process. Her advisor at the Alberta College of Art & Design, Katherine Dickerson, receives a $5,000 prize.