On the heels of Stevens annual Senior Design Expo, this year’s Pitch Olympics, a segment of Research & Entrepreneurship Day, was held in May. All Senior Design project teams were considered to be part of the Pitch Olympics and ten groups moved on to participate. Each group that participated was required to prepare a two-minute elevator pitch presented by one designated representative of the team to a panel of judges.
This year’s top prize was awarded to Amanda Grimes, Nicole Migliore, Michael Mitchell and Joanna Sweetgall, a group of Biomedical Engineering students who presented H2prO, a portable, mechanically powered UV water treatment unit designed to provide safe drinking water for any individual, in any location, under any circumstance. An alternating current generator crank powers the UV bulbs, which, in turn, purify the water.
Michael, who represented the group in the Pitch Olympics, said that the team identified the need for this based on the number of people who travel around the world and contract illnesses from drinking water. The team wished to develop a cost-effective, simple, portable device to combat this issue and allow people access to clean, safe drinking water instantly.
“Our target market is wilderness enthusiasts, people who are traveling, and taking water out of a lake or a stream and are not sure whether the purification level is trustworthy or not,” said Nicole. “They can use our product to treat the water and make it safe for them to drink in any circumstance, in any situation, without an external power supply because it’s powered by a crank system. So it’s very easy to use for everyone.”
Dr. Vikki Hazelwood served as the team’s overall advisor. Michael said: “While Dr. Hazelwood pushes us to build a prototype, she also encourages us to envision our prototype translating to industry and production, and the potential applications it might have.” Inspired by this, the H2prO team is currently in the process of securing a provisional patent. The team’s clinical advisor was Dr. Robin E. Stutman, a New York-based infectious disease specialist.