Wayne State Engineering team takes Grand Prize at Erie Hack

Contact: Kristin Palm
Date: May 18, 2017
Phone: (313) 483-1326
Email: kpalm@wayne.edu


Wayne State Engineering team takes Grand Prize at Erie Hack
Michigan Engineering team takes 4th at international water innovation competition

The Cleveland Water Alliance, in conjunction with numerous partners from throughout the Lake Erie basin, presented $100K in cash and prizes to four winning teams at the Erie Hack Competition and Water Innovation Summit today.

The $40,000 cash grand-prize winner of the Erie Hack, a tech-driven international water innovation competition and accelerator program, was Micro Buoy, a team out of Wayne State’s College of Engineering. Its creation is a nano-sensor, contained in a buoy, that can detect environmental contaminants in the water. In addition, the team receives $10,000 in support services.

Other winners are:
4th: Purily, University of Michigan: $5,000 cash + $1,500 support services
3rd: Water Warriors, University of Akron: $10,000 cash + $5k support services
2nd: Extreme Comms Laboratory, University of Buffalo: $15,000 cash + $10K support services

The four teams, along with five others, presented innovative solutions to Challenge Statements provided by CWA that solve problems around Lake Erie such as algal blooms and urban pollution.

“What an amazing demonstration of innovation and talent,’’ CWA executive director Bryan Stubbs said. “This shows that if a platform such as Erie Hack is provided, innovators will step forward.”

The winners, which were selected by a panel of distinguished judges, including entrepreneur Jeff Hoffman, co-founder of priceline.com, and Brian Zimmerman, CEO, Cleveland Metroparks, bested a series of competitions to make it to the finals.

“Erie Hack has given us a very big platform to make this sensor,’’ said Micro Buoy team member Nirul Masurkar. “Now we’d like to implement this in the real world.”

The competition capped off a two-day Water Innovation Summit held at the Global Center for Health Innovation in downtown Cleveland. It featured well-known water and innovation experts, such as Jay Famiglietti, senior water scientist at NASA’s jet propulsion laboratory, and IBM Global Water Leader Rebekah Eggers.

The Erie Hack was an opportunity to drive innovation in the water technology sector and engage young people in the creation of the emerging “Blue Economy.” The event was hosted and sponsored by The Cleveland Water Alliance in collaboration with Digital C as well as local champions, startup incubators and accelerators, and funders from each of Lake Erie’s major metropolitan areas [Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit, Windsor, Erie, and Toledo]. Key partners include NASA GRC, the University at Buffalo, Kent State University, Case Western Reserve University, IBM, GE, Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, Cleveland Metroparks, Wayne State University, the University of Toledo, TechTown Detroit, LaunchPad Incubation at the University of Toledo, Thinkbox, HIMSS, Great Lakes Science Center, WEtech Alliance, Innovation Collaborative in Erie and the Blackstone LaunchPad in Buffalo.

Key sponsors include the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, Cleveland Division of Water, AT&T, GLOS and HIMSS Innovation Center. Significant support also comes from The George Gund Foundation, The Joyce Foundation, The Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, The Cleveland Foundation and the Burton D Morgan Foundation.

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