Daniel Schwartz, UW professor and chair of chemical engineering, kicked off the fourth annual UW Environmental Innovation Challenge, held Thursday at Seattle Center, by urging students to tap their inner "pitch-meisters."
The students did not disappoint. A presenter sporting a tie and dress shoes rolled a solar-powered electric bike on stage. Another carried a hunk of rubber and mustered the enthusiasm of a used-car salesman to pitch an idea for rubber lane dividers. One maker of a smartphone-controlled LED promised office workers everywhere could use it as “a direct replacement for the buzzing, flickering, hated fluorescent tube.”
“The students are tackling bigger problems, and I think they’re being fearless about it,” said Connie Bourassa-Shaw, director of the UW Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “When you actually have to build a prototype, it’s an incredibly difficult process.”