Student inventors win and cash in with medical monitor, bike trailer

by Emily Chung, CBCNews.ca.

$20,000 isn’t your average science fair prize, but it is within the reach of students who come up with the right invention and enter it in the right student competition nowadays.

This weekend, that invention was a wearable, wireless medical monitor that measures a patient’s vital signs and transmits the data to medical staff.

A business plan to market the device won the top prize Sunday at the Enterprize Canada Entrepreneurial Championship in Vancouver. The plan was put together by Carleton University Ph.D. students Muhammad Arsalan and Atif Shamim and undergraduates Sumaira Haque and Anum Faizan, whose company, VSM Technologies Inc. beat out 11 other university teams from across Canada.

The plan had already earned the students $6,000 in an internal competition at their university in March and is now slated to be presented, along with of the six other top Enterprize finishers, on CBC TV's Dragon’s Den.

For students who aren’t sure they want to market their inventions, there are other contests with other prizes, but the winnings are more modest.

McMaster students Lindsey Kettel and Cory Minkhorst won $3,500 for inventing a collapsible bike trailer that won at the innovative design category in the Ontario Engineering Competition at the University of Guelph Saturday. Unlike existing folding trailers like the Wike and the ubu binner's cart, Kettel and Mikhorst’s invention remains attached to the bike as it folds away. The pair will have the chance at another prize at the Canadian Engineering Competition in Fredericton March 5-8.


Kettel and Minkhorst's trailer, shown both unfolded (top) and folded. (McMaster Engineering)