University News

Creativity and Ingenuity on Display at Product Innovation Showcase

Published: December 13, 2017 | Categories: Engineering, Business, All News
students with project

On Wednesday, December 6, Western New England University Colleges of Business and Engineering held their annual student Product Innovation Showcase in Rivers Memorial Hall. Entrepreneurial teams of engineering and business students, participating in a...

On Wednesday, December 6, the Western New England University Colleges of Business and Engineering held their annual student Product Innovation Showcase in Rivers Memorial Hall. Entrepreneurial teams of engineering and business students participating in a cross-disciplinary course, collaborate to develop marketable products. Each year, a few of the product concepts are submitted for patents and may get commercialized. The engineering students develop a limited functioning prototype of the invention, and the business students develop a preliminary marketing strategy and business plan – all within one semester.

“I’m excited to see how innovation is such a part of multiple disciplines across the University, it is not just a part of the Engineering College,” explained University Trustee Allison Werder, who served a judge, and was the former president of “There are a lot of different skills being applied in these products, and that is quite impressive.”

“This course forced us to work collaboratively as a team, to understand how all our design and marketing challenges affect each other, and then develop a unique and useful product,” explained senior Brooke Labrie, a General Business major.

The Showcase event featured 20 product innovations ranging from new water sensing technology that will automatically close windows when it begins raining, an adjustable crib to relieve back strain, and a rubber-duck that sounds an alert when the water reaches temperatures that are to high or to low.

VIP investors are each given $1 million dollars of “Western New England University” currency to invest in the product innovations that demonstration the most commercial viability. Investors were encouraged to consider the following factors; the quality of the prototype, the product’s usefulness and benefits, the target market strategy, an explanation of financial questions for production costs and revenue projections, and the professionalism of team members at the Showcase.

“It's invigorating to see how the University takes such a proactive approach to engage the students, to broaden their mindsets, and teach them to reach for the limits,” explained Raymond L. Berry, who served as a judge and is the president and general manager of White Lion Brewing Company. “To see the students working in teams, and actually bringing some of their ideas to fruition, is outstanding. I’m confident some successful businesses will emerge from this room.”

More than 50 business leaders and faculty members served as investor-judges, including:
Rick Sullivan L’84, Western Massachusetts Economic Development Corporation
Jay Leonard, Co-founder of Valley Venture Mentors 
Cari Carpenter, Executive Director, Harold Grinspoon Foundation
Jim Angelos, Founder, Inspireworks Enrichment
Ray Berry, CEO, White Lion Brewery
Dr. Stephen Brand, Director of Global Leadership, Bay Path University
Bill Cole, CEO, Tiger Web Designs
Dana Barrows, Executive, Northwestern Mutual 

First Place - Shake Whey: A fully automated shake bar for health clubs and gyms. Team: Ahmed Izzulbeen, Ashley Benedict, Joe Cavallon, Hillary Naranjo-Mejia, and Connor Kennedy.
Second Place - Vital Band: A wellness band for elderly or ill that tracks vital signs and sends updates and alerts to caretakers. Team: Maureen  Sheeran, Meg Ilnicky, Brian Arnesen, Pat Sands Nasser, Al Aumari, and Alex Goralczyk.

View more photos of the 2017 Product Innovation Showcase.

Commercial and Auto - OTTO: Automatic, programmable mixed-drink dispenser for restaurants.
Team: Iestyn Norton, Nick Suchocki, Chris Howell, Dan Egren, Ed Nemchinsky, and Tom Kozak.
Family Matters - Digi Duck: Thermometer alarm for bath water in a floating duck.
Team: Amanda Schoen, Jake Gaboury, Alyssa Sargent, John Clark, and Alec Guay.
Modern Living - Hot Headed Showerhead: Showerhead that heats water instantly. Team: Steven Kerr, John Thomas, Marcus Frank, Adam Pollack, Joe Letendre, and Kendra Desroches
Healthcare and Fitness - Shake Whey: A fully automated shake bar for health clubs and gyms.
Team: Ahmed Izzulbeen, Ashley Benedict, Joe Cavallon, Hillary Naranjo-Mejia, and Connor Kennedy.

View more information about entrepreneurship opportunities or senior design projects at Western New England University.

A brief description of all 20 innovation products: 

Commercial & Automotive
OTTO Drink Mixer, an automatic, programmable mixed drink dispenser for restaurants.
Rain Saver, a water sensing technology that automatically closes car windows when it rains.
Speedy Nuts, a multi-lug nut removal tool that can speed up the tire changing process.
Safety Sense, a hearing protection device that allows the user to alert coworkers when it is safe to approach, and the user of an approaching coworker.
Fire Sight, protects valuable assets from water damage with a fire sprinkler system that targets the exact location of the fire.

Family Matters
Adjustable Crib, an automatically adjusting cribs, relieving back stress and strain.
Cool Control, portable cooler carrying chassis to make your day at the beach less burdensome.
Digi-Duck, thermometer for bath water that alerts users if the water temperature is unsafe.
The Goodboy, electronic collar preventing pets from removing stiches and monitors the pet’s health.
Thermomma Duck combines easy-to-read digital display, LED lights, and a musical speaker to alert users if the water temperature is too hot or too cold for children during bath time.

HEALTHCARE and Fitness
AutoBlanket, blanket that covers a person automatically, for elderly or disabled unable to adjust a blanket.
Posterior Protector, for wheelchair bound who need help to move in order to avoid chair-pressure sores.
Quik-Dispense, automated pill dispenser, designed to help patients increase medication adherence.
Shake Whey, is an automated shake bar for patrons of gyms and health clubs.
Vital Band, a wellness bracelet for elderly that tracks vital signs, issues updates and alerts to caretakers.

HOME and MODERN Living
Hot Headed Showerhead, a revolutionary shower head that will gives instant hot water and saves money.
Rain Check, a water sensing technology that automatically closes your home windows when it rains.
Rigid Power, a safe and effective locking outlet cover to prevent cords from pulling out of the outlet.
Shelf Mate, a multi-featured night stand featuring a light, clock and charging ports.
Ultimate Suitcase, a transformable suitcase that allows for several size configurations to fit travel needs.