This past Friday, March 21, 2014, Structur3D Printing visited the William G. Davis Computer Research Centre at the University of Waterloo for the 5th annual Nanotechnology Engineering capstone design project symposium. There were 21 different design projects that Charles and myself, Andrew, were able to check out during the day ranging from Nanocrystalline Cellulose speakers and colour changing bathing suits to magnetic paper.  The students have been working on these projects for over 3 terms and this was their chance to demonstrate them to the public. 

Click here to read the abstracts of the 21 different projects being demonstrated in the areas of Nanofluidics and Biotechnology, Nanoelectronics and Photonics, and Nanofunctional Materials.

Structur3D printing offered a brand new award this year for the 2014 cohort of Nanotechnology Engineering students, a $200 prize awarded to the team with the most entrepreneurial project.  

We judged this award in three important categories:

  1. the pitch - could the team effectively communicate the problem, was the problem worth solving, and their solution was solid;
  2. the branding - did the team use some effective marketing ideas like a brand name or tagline to round out the project (a shout out to Chromapearls for having matching attire); and
  3. the entrepreneurial drive - this included a surprising amount of teams that had filed a provisional patent on their designs as well as intentions to carry on the project after graduation.
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With the caliber of projects so high, making the final decision of one team was very difficult.  The group that did win was Sierra: the next generation biosensor.  The team - consisting of Alison Lee, Chelsea Marr, and Krishna Iyer - made an innovative sensor using gold nanoparticles, fibre optics and LEDs.  The customized prototype Sierra had on demonstration was even made by 3D printing and rapid prototyping, cool. Congratulations Sierra!

From L to R: Hany Aziz (Professor and symposium coordinator); Andrew Finkle (yours truly); and team Sierra - Krishna, Alison, and Chelsea. Congratulations Sierra!

Our innovative sensor combines fibre optics and LEDs with gold nanoparticles to create a novel biosensor. Our sensor uses the interaction of light around nanoparticles to detect the concentration of certain molecules in a solution. Unlike today’s expensive biosensors, our design offers a versatile product with rapid performance that anyone can use anywhere. It has huge commercial potential in medical diagnostics, drug discovery, and environmental monitoring.
— Team Sierra