Innovation Challenge Ideas

IDEA 1: Promote donation of stimulus funds

Julie Lee, Executive Assistant to the Provost & Vice Provost

“A lot of us have been able to work from home, earning a paycheck, during this pandemic. I'm feeling guilty about using the $1,200 (stimulus check) from the government. That is why I'm donating to those in need. I'm sure there are hundreds and even thousands of people that could do the same, which would help stimulate our economy and slowly bring things back to normal. Plus, most importantly, it is more blessed to give than to receive.”

IDEA 2: Collaborative Facebook group to deal with pandemic issues

Mike Dalecki, Professor of Sociology

“Early on, I wanted to develop a place people could go to for ideas on how to deal with the social, fiscal and practical elements of the coronavirus pandemic. To that end, I developed a Facebook group to serve as a compendium of individual ideas, as well as other sources, for supporting ourselves and others during the pandemic.”

​IDEA 3: Intubation box to protect doctors and nurses

Eric Russell, Student, Mechanical Engineering Major

"Intubating patients causes all sorts of contagious material to be sent out across the room and across the people who are intubating them. My design is a clear acrylic box with arm holes in it that you place over the patient, which allows a doctor to intubate the patient without the room or the workers being sprayed with infectious material.”

IDEA 4: Better protective masks for the general public using hydrogels

Ozgur Yavuzcetin, Associate Professor, Physics

“Hydrogels are relatively new polymers used commonly in super water absorbent medium, which can absorb 200-300 times their weight. Incorporating hydrogels or sodium polyacrylate as a filtering medium in face masks (used in disposable diapers, non-toxic), could reduce infection rates by absorbing water content from bioaerosols and acts as a two-way barrier. The hydrophilic electrostatic surface charges of hydrogels, could inhibit the electrophoretic mobility of viral particles.”

This innovator is seeking interested partners for further development. Contact WiSys Regional Associate Tony Hanson at [email protected] for more information.

IDEA 5: Software to collect and analyze treatment datasets

Arghya Kusum Das, Assistant Professor, Computer Science and Software Engineering

"In response to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, many healthcare organizations have started clinical trials to develop preventative vaccines or therapeutic drugs. However, these trials are sporadic in nature and limited by geographical boundaries, number of enrollments, intervention model, demography, etc. An unbiased and holistic study with all these sporadic clinical trials across the globe can expedite the drug/vaccine discovery process and also improve the reliability of the medicine.”

IDEA 6: Library program for the underserved to access coronavirus resources

Matthew Leikness, Student, Accounting Major
UW-La Crosse 

“There are currently massive groups of underserved individuals who cannot access (federal coronavirus response) benefits due to various complications. I would like to combat the struggles of underserved individuals by creating a program that reopens computer access at public libraries by appointment.”

IDEA 7: Neighborhood connection hub

Kevin Tharp, Professor, Information and Communication Technologies

"Social isolation is a huge problem. We feel disconnected from each other. The idea is to create a neighborhood communication board. This will feature a joke of the day, every day, but it can also be extended as a place where people can donate home grown vegetables and other resources for the neighborhood.”

IDEA 8: Connect students to meditation app

Stephen Williams, Student, Marketing Major
UW-La Crosse 

"I would like to support mental wellbeing in this time of crisis. In difficult times it is important to clear the mind of stress and anxiety—and to focus on productive thoughts. Meditation is a proven relief to mental stress. I suggest the university connect with a meditation app called Insight Timer. Most students cannot afford such a service. Access to this app will be a huge blessing for all of those who are suffering with stress and anxiety.”

IDEA 9: Nose piece for medical mask comfort

Katrina Hendrickson, Student, Technology Education Major

“One of the common issues I have noticed with medical personnel is the strain masks weight on their noses. I propose an idea to create a nose piece where the mask can clip on the nose piece and protect their nose from wear. The current way they are protecting their nose is bandaids, but they hurt when removed from a sensitive area such as your nose—blister form on the nose and cheeks. The product will help prevent the blisters and allow the mask to sit comfortably on their face.”

IDEA 10: Volunteer request app/website

Trang Tran, Student, Computer Science Major

“I would like to create an app or website that allows people who are more vulnerable to request help from others. People can sign up to help on a volunteer basis. A pick-up and drop-off system can also be implemented so that people who live close to each other with the need to order/pick up essentials from the same place can form a group and take turns to pick up and drop off to avoid crowding stores or restaurants."

IDEA 11: System to mold personal protective equipment from recycled water bottles

Jodi Prosise,Chair and Professor, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering

“Our team proposes to design a system that can be constructed out of simple materials found in any community to injection mold respirator-style face masks out of recycled water bottles. A prototype system has been created based on an open-source alternative plastic recycling system, but we will further develop the system to include simple instructions and alternative materials so that anyone can build their system even with limited resources.”