Apr 122011

Two University of Pennsylvania students who designed a wireless energy transmitter took the $5,000 top prize at Friday’s PennVention competition.

Ten teams of student inventors from the University of Pennsylvania who made it to the event’s final round pitched their ideas to industry professionals who were looking for feasible products that could make it to market.

Penn senior Meredith Perry got the idea for her team’s invention when she inadvertently left her laptop charger at home one day. The idea? Wireless charging stations. Like wi-fi, but for energy.

“You know, we were expecting, since we’re not electrical engineers, to be laughed at,” Perry said. “But every single person we’ve talked to has said ‘Wow, that’s clever, and we’d really like to explore that further.'”

Perry and roommate Nora Dweck, also a senior, designed a plug-in wall device to transmit ultrasound waves. The idea is to capture and convert those waves to electrical energy with a device that plugs in to USB ports or laptops. They say they have made a model that transmits energy for a few inches, but they need different equipment for the real deal. They are in the process of applying for a patent and plan to start looking for investors.

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