Koch Innovation Challenge winners advance to national competition


One team of Wichita State University students has emerged as a Grand Champion team in the 2020 Koch Innovation Challenge.

In the final pitch competition, teams recorded their three-minute elevator pitch and prototype demonstration and submitted the videos to a panel of judges. Team Wire Pullers was selected by the judges over four other teams with their invention: a magnetic device to make pulling wires through walls easier. Team members included Braden Botkin, a sophomore in engineering technology; Adam Brown, a freshman in engineering; and Nicholas Ridpath, a freshman in applied computing.

This is the fourth year of the Koch Innovation Challenge. Last year was UnderPressure with an all-mechanical, magnet-based tool for the visually impaired to help measure fluid levels when filling up water bottles or drinking glasses. The Swiftcan, a bottom-loaded trashcan with air vents, took the title in 2018. In 2017, the Out Cold pillow, a customizable pillow with air chambers, earned top honors.

The business pitch competition, sponsored by Koch Industries, is an annual competition supporting the WSU College of Engineering in fostering a culture of creativity, innovation, entrepreneurship and teamwork among students. Cross-disciplinary teams of new freshmen and transfer students studying engineering, art and design, business and other disciplines compete for funding and scholarships during the fall semester as they invent products and technologies in the first-year seminar course Introduction to Technology and Innovation.

As the Grand Champion, Team Wire Pullers will now advance to compete in a national elevator pitch competition this fall.


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