Innovation Challenge 2017 Winners

The winners of the 8th annual Innovation Challenge competition were announced at a luncheon on February 28th. This competition features unique innovations developed by NDSU students and is presented by the NDSU Research & Technology Park. 137 students participated this year from 13 different majors.


Winners in each of the four tracks; agriculture, product, service and social innovation, receive $5,000, second-place teams receive $1,000 and third-place teams receive $500. There is also a People’s Choice Award of $1,000.



The Agriculture Track winner is a team called “Ag Innovations”. This team invented a tool that dynamically generates simple, accurate and unbiased recommendations for farm chemical application. The student innovators are Reed Lawrence, a senior business major from Bloomington, MN and Samuel Hanson, a senior crop and weed science major from Benson, MN.


The second-place team “Sustainable Sporting Goods”, is creating the next generation of high performance sporting goods sourced from agricultural products. The student innovators are Britt Helten from Devils Lake, ND, Ali Amiri living in Fargo, ND and Victoria Burkhart from Cummings, ND. All of then are graduate students in mechanical engineering.


The third-place team “PediCow”, is changing the way farmers can prevent lameness in their herds by reinventing the cow foot bath. The student innovators are Shawn Felling, a sophomore agricultural engineering major from Belgrade, MN and Austin Trustheim, a freshman agricultural engineering major from Braden, MN.




The Product Track winner is team called “Radio Frequency Pacemaker”. This team developed a fully wireless and battery-less pacemaker that can be implanted directly into the heart. The student innovator is Sajid Asif, a graduate student in electrical and computer engineering who lives in Fargo.


The second-place team “T&T Innovative Solutions” is developing a pack-n-go ramp for loading recreational and utility vehicles with a unique telescoping and folding design. The student innovators are Tyler Toepke-Floyd, a junior mechanical engineering major from Wishek, ND and Tyler Donner, a senior mechanical engineering major from Clara City, MN.


The third-place team “Vacuum Door Interactive” is creating the next generation of storytelling and adventures through a virtual reality experience. The student innovators are Santipab Tipperach, a graduate student in computer science and living in Fargo, Jon Bell-Clement, a senior art and zoology double major from Fargo, Austin Hayer, a freshman music major from Shakopee, MN and Prokshit Angandi a graduate student in construction management.




The Service Track winner is a team called “Single Cell Diagnosis”. This team developed a method of detecting pancreatic cancer cells in a single drop of blood. The student innovators are James Froberg, a graduate student in physics and Fataneh Karandish, a graduate student in pharmaceutical science.


The second-place team “Off the Grid” is developing an app to help people disconnect from their cellphones worry-free and shift from our cultures addiction and unwritten obligation to be constantly connected. The student innovators are Mathias Hennen, a junior graphic design and marketing major from Kimball, MN and Tanner Bjorlie, a junior mechanical engineering major from Fargo.


The third-place team “MicroVenture Imaging” is working to increase success in culture research through a relatively inexpensive, safe and efficient imaging system. The student innovators are Iain Wallace a junior math and computer science major from Park Rapids, MN, Collin Young a sophomore mechanical engineering major from Rogers, MN and Claire Wiseman, a sophomore zoology major.




The Social Track winner is a team called “NDSU Makerspace”. This team is working on creating a makerspace on campus that would allow students from all majors to meet and create together, promoting innovation and entrepreneurship. The student innovators are Theodore Zipoy, a sophomore industrial engineering major from Kimball, MN and Kyle Stapleton, a senior electrical engineering major from Hastings, MN.


The second-place team “Moonshot Mindset” is developing a partnership between NDSU and local K-12 schools to establish a mindset of innovation to improve STEM education and create competitive innovation in a global market. The student innovators are Lauren Singelmann, a junior electrical engineering major from Fargo and Jared Hansen, a graduate student in electrical engineering from Minneapolis, MN.


The third-place team “Passive House Design+Build” is adapting the design and construction of houses to be more energy efficient and reduce the energy burden for North Dakota residents. The student innovators are Alex Jansen from St. Cloud, MN, Dylan Neururer from Pillager, MN,  Aaron Warner from Prior Lake, MN,  Nick Braaksma from Bozeman, MT and Joshua Highley from St. Paul, MN.



“We are proud of the innovations these students have developed and we hope to see them continue to pursue their passion for entrepreneurship and new ideas.” – Chuck Hoge, Executive Director of the NDSU Research & Technology Park