Six Wichita State teams advance in Koch Innovation Challenge

Six Wichita State University teams were selected as semi-finalists in the university’s sixth annual Koch Innovation Challenge Angel Round on Dec. 3.

Those six teams of Wichita State students advance to the Grand Champion competition in May. Each team is given $500 in investment capital to use for prototyping materials during the second semester, and each student is awarded a $1,000 Koch Innovation Challenge scholarship. A faculty innovation mentor will work with the teams as they pursue their big-idea venture.

The members of the Grand Champion Team will be awarded a travel grant to attend the Collegiate Entrepreneurs' Organization Conference during their third semester, and they will compete there in the elevator pitch competition.

The Koch Innovation Challenge, sponsored by Koch Industries, is an annual competition that supports the College of Engineering in fostering a culture of creativity, innovation, entrepreneurship, and teamwork among students. The College of Engineering organizes the Koch Innovation Challenge from its Introduction to Technology & Innovation Freshman Seminar general education course, which includes students from all majors across campus.

The goal is to prepare students to become real world-ready graduates with an entrepreneurial mindset.

Powerhouse Box earned the 2021 Grand Champion Team honor with a low-cost, highly durable, and portable solar power bank solution for remote areas and campgrounds.

Other Grand Champion ventures from past years include a magnetic device to make pulling wires through walls easier for homeowners and professional A/V installers, a mechanical device to gauge water temperature for the visually impaired, and a bottom-loaded trash can that simplifies the process of removing the bag.

Teams moving to the Grand Champion Competition

  • Everwhen, a parking assistant app to help drivers quickly locate an open parking spot on campus. Team members: Carly Overacker, Grant Johnson and Jon Colamedici.
  • ELEMENT, a remote-controlled defroster shield to easily remove ice from windshields. Team members: Dylen Trecek, Nehme El Ters, Warren Balthazor and Wesley Horner.
  • Spoon Savor, a cooking tool to reduce messes in the kitchen. Team members: Claudia Diaz, Cooper Larsen, Izzy Panakos and Madelyn Stilwell.
  • Open Color, a wearable camera that turns color into ­sounds for the visually impaired. Team members: Mason Garten, Noah Carter, Kobe Simmons and Wiley Hutcheson.
  • Safe Heater, a battery powered portable heat source for cold-weather camping. Team members: Drake Mann and Noah Osborne.
  • Dual-Shock Wallet, a convenient wallet for multiple ID cards and RFID key fobs. Team members: Adam Key, Ben Taxdahl, Ridge Estes and Craig Belto.

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