GPS Robot Wins Grand Prize at PennVention Competition

Radiosconde RecoveryRadiosconde Recovery A new robot that could assist climate-change researchers has won the grand prize at the annual PennVention competition.

The PennVention competition is for student inventors at the University of Pennsylvania's Weiss Tech House.

Warren Jackson and his team of engineering students won $5,000 cash to develop Radiosonde Recovery, an autonomous, GPS-based robot that retrieves equipment at near orbital levels.

Winning TeamWinning TeamThe PennVention competition seeks to teach students at the University of Pennsylvania to develop their ideas into innovative, problem-solving technologies. It awards thousands of dollars and in-kind services to help launch these products to market.

Talking about the winning invention, Jackson said "Each day thousands of radiosonde devices are attached to weather balloons, but less than 20 percent are recovered. Our robot would guide radiosondes back, allowing researchers to use higher quality devices and collect better data."

Quicker KickerQuicker KickerThe prize for second place went to Innovative Protein Technologies to develop a fully automated solution for western blot protein analysis, the procedure used to confirm diseases like HIV and lyme disease. UPenn's varsity football kicker, Derek Zoch, won third place for the Quicker Kicker . It's a mechanical football holder that allows kickers to incorporate speed and movement into their practice.

Other prizes awarded were:

  • $2,500 in cash and a meeting with a QVC Inc. buyer to Ultra Slim Card & Key Holder, a device that allows for one-handed access to cards and keys.
  • $2,500 worth of product-development services from Bresslergroup to Radiosonde Recovery and Quicker Kicker.
  • $1,000 in selective laser sintering services from Paramount PDS to Ultra Slim Card & Key Holder.
  • Legal services from Lowenstein Sandler PC to Radiosonde Recovery, Quicker Kicker and Fodius, a beneficiary-notification service that alerts people to entitled financial assets upon someone's death.
  • Communications and branding services from Tierney Communications to Fodius.
Last year's winner, MuscleMorph, successfully went on to win the Wharton Business Plan Competition and Fortune Small Business Magazine's Battle of the Business Plans. Other winners like the Humanistic Robotics and SunSak have now incorporated businesses and launched products to market.

The Weiss Tech House is an extracurricular hub of technological innovation at the University of Pennsylvania that helps students create, develop and commercialize innovative technologies. For more information, you can visit

Michelle Blu
Featured Blogger