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Inventors pitch products at PUC’s Big Sell event

CollGarciCalumet Township was part team students who came up with ideRide-on-Time an app thwould let parents students know how far

Collin Garcia of Calumet Township was part of a team of students who came up with the idea of Ride-on-Time, an app that would let parents and students know how far away from their home the school bus is. They were one of five finalists in the technology division. | Karen Caffarini~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: May 1, 2014 6:17AM



MERRILLVILLE — Doctoral students who found a way to make smart phone batteries last longer, an inventor who devised a compact heavy-duty sawhorse and a group that developed an infant survival kit for poor regions were the top three winners Saturday at the fourth annual The Big Sell Entrepreneurs in Action competition.

The competition, sponsored by Purdue University Calumet at the Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza, gives cash prizes and support to the top two winners in three categories: social and environmental, technology and general.

Fifty finalists ranging from local high school students to professors and inventors from around the world pitched their ideas to an audience and four judges. The audience was able to cast votes, as well.

“Like every year, we have people from all over the place this year, from a doctor from Chicago to high-schoolers. The whole concept is to mix it up. That’s why we have three categories,” said Dushan Nikolovski, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship Success at Purdue Cal.

Schererville residents David Rinconeno and Darren Conner took second place in the general category with their “Honker Doodle,” which they described as a superior gutter hanger that installs in two easy steps and prevents damage to the house that could happen if gutters are improperly installed.

“It doesn’t break any shingles and can save contractors about an hour’s time installing gutters,” Conner said.

Collin Garcia, a student at Calumet New Tech High School and a Calumet Township resident, didn’t take home any prize for his Ride-On-Time bus tracking app, but he and his fellow collaborators did make it to the top five in the technology category.

“When we made it to the top 50 we thought, this could actually happen. People could use it,” Garcia said.

He said the app would track school buses so students and parents would know how far away it is from their bus stop.

First-place winner in the technology category was Commonsense, a patent-pending technology invented by doctoral students at Purdue University in Lafayette that would help the smart phone user attain maximum efficiency of the phone’s battery.

Seva Corps, invented by a group from Ann Arbor, Mich., took first place in the social and environmental category. An air-activated chemical mattress costing about $10 would provide a low-cost means of transporting an at-risk infant to a health care location in a safe environment, preventing hypothermia.

The Centipede Sawhorse, a heavy-duty, compact and portable work-support system that the developers say has caught the attention of one major home improvement chain, took first place in the general category. It was developed by two men, one living in New Mexico and one in Illinois.



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