The 2013-14 school year was a very productive one for Lehigh's technical entrepreneurship master’s program. All it took was a giant cardboard velociraptors and fingerpaints that you could literally put on your fingertips.
The program first drew national headlines last fall thanks to a class project developed by Lisa Glover '13. Using chipboard, the tech entrepreneur student created a 15-foot velociraptor, later doubling as a Halloween costume for a campus party.
"When I walked into the room, everyone [literally] just stopped," Glover said.
Friends and admirers kept asking, "How can I get one? I thought, let me start with something small that anyone could fit in their house," she said. "Let's face it, not everyone has room for a 15-foot dinosaur in their kitchen."
In an effort to secure funding for a larger manufacturing scale model, Glover initiated a KitRex Kickstarter campaign with a modest goal of $8,000. It took only a few days to reach that goal, closing with over $110,800 in funding for over 4,500 kits and three orders for giant, custom KitRex costumes – the inspiration for her start-up.
Following graduation, Glover plans to continue growing her company, ArchiTrep, in the student incubator space at Ben Franklin TechVentures on Lehigh’s Mountaintop campus – an honor she earned as a first-place graduate student winner in the Baker Institute for Entrepreneurship, Creativity and Innovation’s EUREKA! Ventures Competition Series.
Another top winner in the EUREKA! series was Keith Martin ’13, ‘14G. During a summer creativity class, Martin developed an idea for a writing instrument that could fit on the tip of a user's finger. The prototype, comprised of wire, paper and a piece of lead, was an instant hit within the class.
And with it, "Finger Markers" were born.
"When I got the idea, I originally thought that someone else must have done it before," Martin said. "So I started to do some patent research and there was really nothing out there like it, so I just thought, 'let’s give it a shot.'"
The markers are designed to be used both as finger markers or held as a typical marker. The product is not limited to markers, but is also comes in other product styles, including pencils, crayons, paintbrushes, dry erase and styluses.
The idea earned him 2nd place in the Michael W. Levin ’87 Advanced Technology Competition of the EUREKA! Ventures Competition Series.
Martin and his team are currently working on the medical applications of the fingertip writing devices, focusing on the Finger Markers' use with both rehab and assistance. The markers make it possible for anyone who is unable to grasp a writing utensil to write using their fingertip instead. This could open doors for people with disorders including cerebral palsy, who were previously unable to write due to the difficultly of a holding a pen.
Both Glover and Martin credit the Technical Entrepreneurship program with helping them to get familiar with the creative process, as well as the business industry, which can help with future inventions, ideas and innovations.
"Coming from an engineering background, being in this program has helped me link the engineering side of my ideas and projects to the business side," said Martin. "With what I've learned in TE, I now have the knowledge to start a business whenever in my life."
- Lehigh Engineering: KitRex: 3D paper dinosaur an overnight success
- The Morning Call: Lehigh-saurus? Student hits it big with dino-making kits
- Lehigh Valley Magazine: To Teach and To Learn: Encouraging a Prehistoric Business
- Lehigh Valley Live: Lehigh University graduate invents fingertip markers for children, disabled
- 2013-14 Innovation's EUREKA! Ventures Competition Series
- Official Website: Baker Institute for Entrepreneurship, Creativity and Innovation
- Lehigh's Master's Degree in Technical Entrepreneurship (TE)