Mechanical engineering graduate student wins national innovation showcase
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Jessica Menold was selected as one of three winners at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Innovation Showcase (ISHOW) USA 2016.
The Penn State mechanical engineering graduate student entered the contest on behalf of Amparo, a company that is redefining prosthetic care to make it accessible to more amputees. More specifically, Menold and her team are developing a prosthetic socket that is easier and cheaper to make than current options.
Amparo will split $50,000 with the other two winning teams: Calliope and PayGo Energy. Calliope’s Buoy is a smart home device that gives real-time, detailed water usage information, while PayGo Energy’s smart meter technology couples to an LPG cylinder to enable micro-asset financing and pay-as-you-go functionality.
The Amparo team plans to use their share for more rigorous testing of their socket and some initial work for clinical trials in Brazil.
However, being connected to the ASME network, said Menold, is worth far more than the prize money.
“It feels like ASME is here to support us in any way they can, and as a really young startup to have that confidence in your business from such a large organization is incredible,” said Menold. “This competition really highlighted my own gaps in startup knowledge, and now I have a plan and know what I need to learn and who I need to speak to. I think a part of being a (successful) startup means that you have to be willing to admit when you don't know things, and at ASME they’ve made it really easy to work through those knowledge gaps.”
Menold said the other ISHOW competitors provided insight that will be invaluable for Amparo moving forward.
“Many of them are further along in business development, so having the opportunity to speak with them and get their advice on which grants, investors and competitions Amparo should pursue was incredible,” she explained.
ASME ISHOW offers social entrepreneurs the opportunity to demonstrate their products that offer the potential to remedy environmental, economic and social problems afflicting the globe. The competition was held April 28 in India, May 26 in Kenya and June 16 in Washington, D.C.