ASME Selects Three Innovators for Inaugural Idea Lab Class

NEW YORK, NY, Oct 4, 2022 – The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) has selected three innovators for the inaugural class of its Idea Lab incubator, a new program that extends the reach of the ASME Innovation Showcase (ISHOW) hardware accelerator platform. ASME received nearly 200 applications for the first round of Idea Lab from aspiring social entrepreneurs in 40 countries. Idea Lab is open to individuals and teams who have identified a pressing social and/or environmental challenge they think could be addressed through a hardware-led innovation that, once developed and scaled, will have a positive impact on vulnerable populations.

The innovators in the inaugural 2022-23 ASME Idea Lab class are:

Matthis Herrera

HatchTank (Helotes, TX, US) with its “PikePower water turbine” – founder Matthis Herrera and Byron Hairston, project lead, are modeling an electricity turbine and generator system that can be fully submerged in naturally flowing water streams, including rivers, tidal, and deep ocean currents. With this innovation, they hope to help address the need for a renewable baseload energy source that keeps pace with growing electrification needs and carbon reduction goals.

Taya Voronko

FLOW Period, LLC (New York, NY, US) with “The Flow menstrual cup cleaner” – co-founders Taya Voronko, Daniela Durón García, and Andrew Parda are developing a device to clean and sanitize insertable menstrual cups, empowering women to choose a cup for its environmental and cost saving benefits compared to other less sustainable period products.

Komal Shah

Ikshana Healthcare (Bengaluru, Karnataka, India) with its “Ikshana wearable urinary incontinence solution” – Komal Shah, founder and design development lead, Manish Arora, Ph.D., co-founder and technical development lead, and their team are committed to helping the 200 million people worldwide who suffer from urinary incontinence. The Ikshana solution will use a novel adaptive stimulation method to significantly improve the effectiveness and efficiency of treatment over existing solutions in a convenient, discrete wearable device.

Learn more about what inspired each of these innovators here.

The goal of the Idea Lab engagement is to support innovators from the conceptual phase through the production of a low-fidelity prototype suitable for the next phase of technology development, the focus of the ASME ISHOW accelerator. The inaugural class of Idea Lab innovators will be engaged in the program for six to 18 months, depending on their stage of development, technical knowledge, and mentorship needs. They will receive a range of benefits, including guidance through the design process, assessment and a tailored curriculum, access to design services, design and engineering software/tools, positioning innovators for potential funding to cover prototyping expenses. They will spend an average of six to eight hours per week split between flexibly scheduled meetings and self-paced learning modules. Mentors include industry professionals with expertise in research, design, engineering, business development, and more. Idea Lab innovators will work closely with Engineering for Change Fellows who will help coordinate activities throughout their technology development journey.

With the addition of the Idea Lab incubator, ASME moves “upstream” to aid budding social entrepreneurs in developing and implementing their social impact hardware concepts from the pre-prototype stage and filling the pipeline for future ISHOW participants poised to bring those innovations to the communities who need them. The prestigious ISHOW international accelerator of hardware-led social innovation has enabled more than 200 startups from 30 countries to solve critical quality-of-life challenges for underserved communities worldwide. ISHOW alumni have developed affordable and sustainable hardware solutions addressing many of the challenges outlined by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, including access to healthcare diagnostics, clean energy, water, sanitation, and affordable agricultural innovations to help end hunger and food waste.

“Idea Lab helps us reach even more engineers who are interested in social entrepreneurism, but need guidance and support at the earliest stages,” says Iana Aranda, director of ASME’s Engineering Global Development sector that houses Idea Lab and ISHOW. “The Idea Lab curriculum integrates the ISHOW tested and validated methodologies that can bring vital solutions to market. This program portfolio also provides opportunities for engineering mentors and business leaders who are passionate about innovation and sustainability to support entrepreneurs in this important work.”

Keith Roe, former president of ASME and current chair of the philanthropy committee, and his wife Elizabeth “Brownie” Roe made a significant donation to help launch the program. They invite others to join them in investing in Idea Lab, “so life changing innovations don’t get stalled on the drawing board.” Potential partners and mentors can learn more about Idea Lab on the website.

About ASME

ASME helps the global engineering community develop solutions to real world challenges. Founded in 1880 as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, ASME is a not-for-profit professional organization that enables collaboration, knowledge sharing, and skill development across all engineering disciplines, while promoting the vital role of the engineer in society. ASME codes and standards, publications, conferences, continuing education, and professional development programs provide a foundation for advancing technical knowledge and a safer world. In 2020, ASME formed the International Society of Interdisciplinary Engineers (ISIE) LLC, a new for-profit subsidiary to house business ventures that will bring new and innovative products, services, and technologies to the engineering community, and later established the holding company, Global Knowledge Solutions LLC. In 2021, ASME launched a second for-profit subsidiary, Metrix Connect LLC, an industry events and content platform to accelerate digital transformation in the engineering community and an agent for the Mechanical Engineering brand of media products.

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About the ASME Foundation

The ASME Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, supporting an array of programs in three core pillars: engineering education, career engagement, and global development. With the goal of empowering tomorrow’s technical workforce, the ASME Foundation advances equitable access both to professional opportunities and to engineering innovations that improve quality of life.

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