One UVM graduate student pitched a personal dirigible that could be assembled from a kit, costing less than $10,000. Another innovator, a surgeon and health statistician, pitched a prototype for a backless chair-rocker. Both, along with seven other inventor-makers from around Burlington, pitched their ideas to UVM’s Instrumentation and Modeling Facility in a bid to win up to $5,000 in support to advance their prototype.

Dubbed “Pitch It, Fab It!” and headed toward its fourth round in March/April 2016, Friday’s event aimed at helping innovators develop and practice a short product pitch and earn tangible support toward the development of a working prototype. So far, five previous winners earned support for prototypes that range from a plastics shredder to a secure stove-top cutting board for cramped kitchens.

This month’s winners nearly doubles the crop of early-stage ideas working toward a beta prototype. They are:

Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 3.58.10 PMHologram Learning Kit
A Winooski High School student braved the waters of her elder competition and came out ahead with a request for support to advance her idea for a better – larger, more clear – hologram rig that can be effectively used in a classroom setting to explore models and other three dimensional objects.
$500 in support awarded.

Diaphragmatic SeederScreen Shot 2015-11-24 at 3.49.48 PM
Local organic farmer and Generator member Rob Rock pitched a novel adaptation to the conventional row seeder, applying a concept from photography (the variable aperture iris in a lens) to the requirements of a rugged farm implement.
$750 in support awarded.

Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 3.41.39 PMOpen Source Robot Platform
Generator and kids robotics educator Christine Braun and her partner-colleague Kevin Braun successfully pitched their idea for a low-cost, open source CPU that could be used to power any number of robotic devices, including standard store-bought kits.
$500 in support awarded.

Dual Slide Staining ChamberScreen Shot 2015-11-24 at 3.42.41 PM
UVM biology undergrad Michael McLane (2016) has run so many tissue sample staining procedures that he’s grown weary – and leery – of the inefficiency and waste. So he worked with Vermont Rapid Prototyping to literally develop a better method.
$750 in support awarded.

Other ideas entered into the prototyping pitch competition include:

A big thank you and congratulations to everyone who took the time to sign up and share your ideas! We hope that, even if this round of Pitch It, Fab It! was not successful, you’ll both find a way to drive your prototype at Generator, and consider re-entering a better honed, more refined pitch in the next round. Look for it in March/April 2016.

Pitch It, Fab It! is a partnership of the University of Vermont Instrumentation and Modeling Facility with support from the Office of the Vice-president for Research, the equity crowdfundraising portal Designbook, and Generator.