University of Wisconsin-Madison student inventors are vying for more than $28,000 in prizes during UW's Innovation Days (http://innovation.wisc.edu/innovationdays/) competitions Thursday and Friday.
The annual event, held at the UW-Madison Engineering campus, features 16 unique inventions by 21 students. There's a wide range of inventions at the competition this year, including a baby formula dispenser, a device for growing and harvesting algae for biofuels, and — of appeal, perhaps, to Wisconsin hunters — is a tree stand that can be carried in a backpack and assembled for quick use. Recent engineering grad Luke Stedman says his "TreeREX" tree stand is light and transportable like a climbing stand, but much safer.
"So basically this uses a fiberglass telescoping pole to lean the stand up against the tree and then when you pull a cord it releases the platform that you sit and stand on. There's a rope ladder coming off that platform and when you climb it it uses the hunters weight, you know your weight, to clamp the jaws to the tree and affix the stand to the tree."
Also hoping to win the judges' favor and some prize money are Steve Ledvina and Stephen Hanson, both sophomores. Their product, Ledvina says, is called the "Chi Band."
"The full name is the Chi Band stress management system. It's a watch that has a heart sensor, a skin temperature sensor, so just a temperature sensor and then it measures sweat levels using a galvanic skin electric levels measures the electrical activity across the skin."
Ledvina says the product tracks when a user is stressed over a given period of time so they know specifically when and where to make lifestyle adjustments. Winners of the annual Innovation Days competitions will be announced on Friday afternoon. UW-Madison says several past competition winners have gone on to create businesses.