Static mixer and caffeinated mint among top winners of Qualcomm innovation competition

By Lexy Brodt, UW-Madison, College of Engineering

Lincoln on Bascom HillThe first-place winner of the Qualcomm Innovation Competition on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus is a device that mixes chemicals within a pipe.

While a static mixer doesn’t sound very glamorous, it could be a big deal for people who need to mix everything from cells to powder. The design, Remex, was developed by students Eric Ronning, Brian Pekron and Will Doniger. Mechanical engineering senior Ronning is a perennial inventor who launched a career as an entrepreneur when he developed the “ReHand,” a 3-D printed hand for amputees, in 2012.

In its fifth year, the competition, sponsored by global semiconductor company Qualcomm Inc., challenges UW-Madison students to develop new products or technologies and marry those ideas with market-ready business plans. The Remex team earned the top prize and $15,000 in the 2015 competition, which occurred Apr. 22-23.

With its Remex, the trio has participated in a variety of other competitions, gaining new knowledge about the product and building an understanding of the business behind product manufacturing and promotion.

Ronning came up with the idea about two years ago while taking a class with Kuo K. and Cindy F. Wang Professor of Mechanical Engineering Tim Osswald, in which he was learning about mixing processes. About a year ago, Ronning, Pekron (nuclear engineering) and Doniger (materials science and engineering) started to work seriously on the project.

Since then, they’ve taken part in the national Collegiate Inventors Competition (CIC) and the Wisconsin Energy and Sustainability Challenge. From the latter, they won the Dvorak Energy Innovation Prize. Read more …

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