Student Success Story: Randall Family Big Idea Competition, 1st Price

Student Success Story

Randall Family Big Idea Competition, 1st Price

By Yash Mokashi, CMI Fellow

The Center for Medical Innovation would like to congratulate Bioengineering Graduate Student (MBA/ MS- Medical Product Engineering), Nick Scangas, and his team on achieving 1st place (General/IT Category) in the 2014 Randall Family Big Idea Competition and being awarded $20,000

The team, made up of: Nick Scangas - MBA/MS- Medical Product Engineering, Emmanuel Taylor - PhD. Electrical Engineering, Dean Rosnewald - MBA/MIB, Jai Kumar - BS Neuroscience, and Abhishek Agarwal – MBA pitched their idea for the SolarCell at the Big Idea Competition.

“The experience of the Big Idea Competition was one of the best experiences of my life. The team experience at the competition was literally life changing” said Dean. The skills required to work in a team and the ability to collect ideas and turn them into a novel innovation are nurtured in the courses at Medical Product Engineering program. These skills helped Nick Scangas excel in the competition and along with his team win the first price. 

The motivation for the SolarCell idea was to eliminate the need for diesel generators and connectivity to the grid which requires trenching sometimes up to a mile. Currently, there are no solar powered cellphone towers in the USA. The only method of powering cellphone towers is not only detrimental to the environment but also increases cost of setting up cellphone towers. What makes the SolarCell approach novel is in that the connections between the solar panels, batteries and IT equipment all operate using DC power. Compared to the AC power distribution systems that dominate the electric grid, DC is more efficient in this application and leads to huge cost savings. The team proposed mounting the panels directly onto the towers or having the panels in a pavilion besides the tower. 

Following is a video prepared by the team for the competition: