The Entrepreneurship Program
The Grove School of Engineering of the City College of New York

2011 Kaylie Prize Winners

Two student teams were chosen as winners of The City College of New Yorks first annual Kaylie Prize for Entrepreneurship. CCNY alumnus and award benefactor Harvey Kaylie, EE 60, announced the surprise decision, which was made by a five-member panel of judges, following final presentations by five teams on Tuesday, May 10.

Stoke Innovation took top honors. Composed of four graduate physics students and an undergraduate electrical engineering major, it is developing an affordable, non-invasive device for instant cancer detection through light analysis. Team members are

Dr. Robert Alfano, distinguished professor of science and engineering, is the team adviser.

The group developed a low-cost, compact, modular system to beam light at tissues via thin bundles of fibers and collect it within the same bundle for non-invasive diagnosis of various diseases. The instrument measures the Stokes shift, a difference in light measured between a standard and the target tissue or material.

Initially their business model was constrained by the need for a $10,000 piece of equipment. Consequently, the cash-limited students designed an alternative device costing less than $800. We were forced to innovate due to financial circumstances, said Mr. Scholtz, the team leader.

Dynamic Braille, an all-freshman team, captured second place with their low-cost electronic Braille interface. Team members are

Dr. Ilona Kretzschmar, associate professor of chemical engineering, is the team adviser.

Their entry used opposing electrical charges to distort a thin polymer film. The team envisions a field of Braille cells, each made up of six tiny pins that would touch the film from below to create a raised pattern of dots to form Braille letters. The resulting e-reader-like device for the blind could display a page worth of refreshable digital text, much as a Kindle or Nook functions for the sighted.

As a team of freshmen, this has opened a huge door for our careers, said Mr. Cortez. Both teams secured financial support and housing for the summer to further develop their products. In addition, they will work in CCNYs new InnoLab, a Silicon Valley garage-like workspace created to support such efforts.

The students tremendous performance shows that whatever limits you have, its always possible to find a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, said Mr. Kaylie before announcing the winners. The competition has added a new dimension to the students education and elevated the school, he added.