LFM, SDM Students on Winning, Finalist 50K Teams

ESD students on four of seven teams

May 27, 2004

Four teams that included ESD students made it to the finals of MIT’s 50K Entrepreneurship Competition and on Wednesday, May 12, 2004, it was announced that one of them, Active Joint Brace, was the winner and another, Liquid Piston, was a runner-up.

Active Joint Brace aims to create an affordable, wearable, unencumbering exoskeleton that augments physical capability by working in tandem with existing musculature. Team members include Shashi Kant, SDM’04 and Mira Sahney, LFM ’05. The project was founded by Kailas Narendran and John McBean under the supervision of Prof. Woodie Flowers.

LiquidPiston is developing a novel combustion engine based on patent pending Liquid Piston(TM) technology, that promises a 50% increase in fuel economy and a 90% reduction in NOx emissions. Team members include Vik Sahney (LFM ’05), Jennifer Andrews (MBA ’05), Brian Roughan (MBA ’05), and Alec Shkolnik (Artificial Intelligence PhD).

In an email to the LFM-SDM community, Dennis Mahoney, Director of the SDM Fellows Program, and Don Rosenfield, Director of the LFM Fellows Program, wrote, “to see that the Active Joint Brace team has both an SDM and an LFM students on it, as well as a number of other LFMs and SDMs on other teams, was gratifying. We recognize that this is a team effort, but it’s your individual leadership, energy and creative thinking that made this all happen. We take some considerable pride in the fact that you so ably demonstrate the type of students who are a part of the LFM and SDM programs.”

Other 50K finalist teams with ESD students included:

  • LumArray, which is building a desktop printer for nano-scale chips that is mask-less, faster and cheaper than actual alternatives. Team members are Rajesh Menon PhD Nano Structures; Amil Patel EE MS; Derek Beck, SDM ’04; David Michaud, SDM ’04; Sashi Somavarapu, SDM ’03; Sandro Catanzaro, SDM ’04
  • MuLaser, a fabless supplier of pulsed microchip lasers for long-haul optical data communications. Team members are Sam Weinstein and Badari Kommandur, SDM 03, and Felix Grawert, EE PhD. 

Professor Daniel Hastings, ESD Co-Director, observed "the relatively large number of ESD students on these teams is a reflection of ESD’s graduate-level academic programs centered on developing engineers who want to lead engineering."