– A Florida Tech student design team won one of only 14 advanced E-team grants awarded nationwide by the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators
Alliance (NCIIA). The student teams, recognized at the NCIIA’s annual “March Madness for the Mind” event, earned the grants for their product ideas, which
can launch new businesses.
“This is the first such award won at Florida Tech. “There are hundreds and hundreds of applications for the grants annually and only 14 were awarded this
year,” said Dr. Ken Ports, College of Engineering faculty member and team advisor.
The Florida Tech team of five undergraduate electrical engineering majors and one business administration undergraduate, earned an $11,500 NCIIA grant for
their product, an interactive guest paging system. The system is a restaurant pager that allows the customer to play games, view the menu and check on the
estimated wait time while waiting to be seated.
The system is a hand-held pager with video screens and buttons wirelessly connected to a base station. It comes equipped with a touch screen, mouse,
keyboard, pager-charging bay, software to update the menu and a transceiver. The team will continue to develop their product as they prepare to market it
to a restaurant chain.
Tulane University, Brown University and the University of Illinois were among the other NCIIA grant recipients.
The NCIIA is an initiative of The Lemelson Foundation, a private philanthropy established by one of the country’s most prolific inventors, Jerome Lemelson
(1923-1997), and his family. The foundation supports the belief that invention and innovation are critical to American higher education.