InVenture Prize 2020

InVenture Prize 2020

By Joshua Stewart March 10, 2020 • UPDATED MARCH 12, 2020


The 12th edition of the InVenture Prize — sometimes affectionately called American Idol for nerds — comes to its dramatic conclusion March 11 with the televised live finals. 

After six months of developing and refining their ideas and two rounds of eliminations, six teams have emerged to pitch one last panel of judges: a group of entrepreneurs with nearly a half-dozen startups among them. The fast-paced finale will decide who gets $35,000 in prize money, help with patent filing, and a spot in a startup accelerator through Georgia Tech’s CREATE-X program.


Meet the 2020 InVenture Prize Finalists and Explore Their Ideas:


Team Aerodyme has created a self-deploying device for the rear of tractor-trailers that stabilizes airflow and cuts drag force by 10%. Unlike other solutions, it requires no effort on the part of the driver. The device has a speed sensor that will engage Aerodyme at highway speeds. When it’s not in use, the device retracts. After initial testing, the team also has started development on an updated design that can be mounted along the sides of a trailer, allowing it to be installed on trailers with roll-up doors. Trucking companies spend upward of $100 billion on fuel every year in the United States, so increasing fuel economy has the potential to save billions of dollars every year and eliminate hundreds of tons of carbon emissions.


There are review sites for almost everything: restaurants, products, even professors. Team Canary has found a gap in the market, however, thanks to their experiences as students looking for internships and co-op placements. So, they’ve created a website that collects anonymous reviews of those on-the-job learning experiences to help students avoid a wasted summer making copies or getting coffee. The platform asks reviewers specific questions about how meaningful their work was, the kinds of projects they completed, and even the hours they put in each day. The site quickly amassed more than 100 reviews in its first weeks. Now, the team has partnered with the Center for Career Discovery and Development to share Canary with all students.


For the nearly 5 million Americans suffering from treatment-resistant depression, the drug ketamine has emerged as a powerful option. The drug can be highly addictive, however, so doses must be tightly monitored by doctors. Team Nasolution has created a device that delivers a precise dose of the drug via nasal spray and can be remotely monitored by healthcare providers. That means patients don’t have to go to their doctor’s office for treatment, which is currently the standard practice. The device measures a precise dose and makes it available at the appropriate time from a tamper-proof vial. Wireless connections allow doctors to remotely monitor patient compliance. The device also shows potential for other medicines delivered via nasal sprays, a fast-growing segment of the pharmaceutical industry.


Students in a rush for a quick bite between classes often have to take their chances with long lines at some of the most popular spots on campus. Queues aims to change all that through a mobile app that offers real-time insight into the wait times at food options around Georgia Tech. The data is collected by app users and by tablets at the end of lines asking one simple question: How long did you wait for service? Queues devices have been deployed in West Village Dining Commons, Starbucks in Clough Commons, and other popular spots on campus, and the team is processing more than 5,000 responses per month. Using a custom algorithm, Queues also learns traffic patterns at those restaurants, helping food service clients develop a clear picture of demand and staff accordingly.


Students work everywhere: Coffee shops, the library, almost anywhere there’s a seat and a power outlet. Truth is, lots of professionals do the same. But what to do when they need a refill or a bathroom break? The choice often is to ask a nearby stranger to keep an eye on their laptop and other belongings or pack up and hope they can find a spot when they return. Team Watchdog’s solution is a small device that sits atop those belongings. If it’s disturbed, the hockey puck-sized device will emit a loud alarm, drawing attention to the would-be thief. Users activate and deactivate Watchdog with a simple radio-frequency identification fob they can keep on their keychain.

W8R Systems

W8R — pronounced “waiter” — is a system of overhead tracks and robots that delivers food directly to the tables of waiting customers in restaurants. Patrons share their phone number when they order and interact with the system by text: one text to tell W8R which table they’ve chosen and one final text after the food is delivered to tell the system to return home. Team W8R has installed a prototype in Georgia Tech’s Highland Bakery to deliver breakfast, soups, sandwiches, and lattes directly to hungry students. The idea is for the system to work alongside employees, freeing them up to do the things humans do best — engage with customers.


Video: Evan Atkinson, Steven Norris, Brice Zimmerman
Editor: Brigitte Espinet
Design: Katya Kouznetsova