Inventors Adam Jensen, Rosalyn Stoa and Katherine Mikhail review a prototype of their drinkware designed for people with tremors.(Photo Courtesy of UW-Green Bay)
GREEN BAY—A team of former UW-Green Bay students can now officially add inventor to their resumes.
In December, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recognized the work of Adam Jensen, Rosalyn Stoa and Katherine Mikhail for inventing a cup to aid sufferers of hand tremors. The invention was developed as part of a WiSys innovation event while they were students at UW-Green Bay.
“It is truly an accomplishment to receive a U.S. patent and it is extra special to us at WiSys that this idea came from students,” said WiSys President Arjun Sanga. “Innovation is an integral part of the student experience at our UW regional comprehensive campuses, as exemplified by this accomplishment at UW-Green Bay. We find that by providing undergraduate students with a forum to apply the knowledge gained in the classroom, they develop creative solutions to challenging problems.”
The invention first came to light as a submission to the innovation competition known as WiSys Innovation in Aging in 2018. The event encouraged students to improve their innovation skills by addressing an issue affecting aging populations.
Muscular tremors are commonly associated with neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and stroke. They can produce involuntary shaking in an individual’s hand that make it difficult to manage everyday tasks such as eating and drinking.
In response, Jensen, Stoa and Mikhail designed a cup with a battery-operated gyroscope (a device used for measuring and maintaining orientation and angular velocity) that would stabilize and accommodate minor hand tremors—thus allowing the consumption of liquids more freely.
The invention took first place in the competition, which WiSys held jointly with UW-Green Bay. Susan Gallagher-Lepak, dean of the College of Health, Education and Social Welfare, helped start and grow the event on campus.
"Congratulations to these bright innovators,” said Gallagher-Lepak. “The innovation competition gives students an opportunity to grow their skills in idea development, collaboration, and public speaking. It's a high-impact experience for students that can set them on a new trajectory as we are seeing with this team."
Not long after the event in 2018, WiSys accepted the invention into its technology portfolio and has been working diligently to secure the intellectual property protection, support the development of the technology further and identify industry partners suitable to license the drinkware (For information on accessing this technology, contact WiSys at [email protected]).
WiSys works with faculty, staff, students and alumni of Wisconsin’s 11 regional public universities to help great ideas—born on these campuses—reach the wider world.
“This is one of those ideas,” said WiSys Manager of Intellectual Property and Licensing Tony Hanson. “Whether it is helping to patent inventions like this special cup, supporting interesting research by faculty at The Farmory, or working with local stakeholders to launch WiSys VentureHome-Green Bay—where entrepreneurs can find everything their startup needs under one roof—WiSys is proud to support UW-Green Bay’s innovators.”
In February, WiSys Innovation in Aging will continue under a different name and format, WiSys Innovation On-Ramp at UW-Green Bay. The change will allow the students to explore a broader range of innovations—that if novel enough could someday be patented with WiSys’ help. For more information on WiSys Innovation On-Ramp, visit wisys.org/onramp.
WiSys is a nonprofit organization that works with faculty, staff, students, and alumni of the UW System to facilitate cutting-edge research programs, develop and commercialize discoveries and foster a spirit of innovative and entrepreneurial thinking across the state.