An Innovative Inno/Vention

If you strolled around the campus over the last few months, you were bound to see posters and screens proclaiming “Thinkers Wanted!” The ad was the brainchild of the organizers of Inno/Vention, an annual challenge to NYU–Poly and NYU students from across the globe to prototype and pitch commercially viable ideas for real-world problems.

Inno/Vention is always an exciting major event on campus, but this year’s edition was even bigger and better. For the first time ever, Inno/Vention joined forces with the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Association’s SparkStart, resulting in a multistage competition that had everyone on the edge of their seats at each turn.

On February 26, for example, a crowd gathered in Pfizer Auditorium, on NYU-Poly’s Brooklyn campus, to watch the Power Pitch--where judges decided which teams would make it to the next level. Among the many great ideas presented were UrbanEden, an automated, modular aquaponic system that would enable any space--vertical or horizontal--to be easily and cost-effectively converted to a high-yield organic farm; the Smart Band, a wearable emergency medical device in which real-time biometric monitoring is coupled with automated emergency communication protocols; and the Heat Nomad, a pouch that automatically heats water and that its creators imagine being used in refugee camps or field hospitals.

From left to right: members of the Bot Factory team Bharat Jain, Carlos Ospina and Nicolas Vansnick

From left to right: members of the Bot Factory team Bharat Jain, Carlos Ospina and Nicolas Vansnick

Josh Soussan is the team leader on a project called Aegis, which would allow handguns to be disabled by radio transmitter when brought into a school or other such environment. “[Aegis] will not alter the weapon’s functionality at all, unless the firearm is within range of [a] signal emitter,” he explained. “With the recent massacre in Newton, Connecticut, we believe that this is the next crucial step in providing a safe environment for children in schools.”

Antonio Pellegrino, an NYU-Poly student and EIA board member who helped inaugurate SparkStart and who continues to be involved in the competition--despite the demands of running his own successful business--believes that participating is an invaluable experience. “It’s one thing to have an idea,” he said. “You could have an idea for a submarine that can fly to the moon, but that wouldn’t be very practical. Here at Poly, we’re engineers and builders, and SparkStart and Inno/Vention can help you actually take your idea to market.”

Inno/Vention participants not only have their eyes on the market—but also on the goal of changing the world!

For a complete list of winners visit