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Award Recipients
2015
Revolve inverted configuration
Revolve inverted configuration
Revolve upright configuration
Revolve exploded view

ECHO LABORATORIES, REVOLVE

echo-labs.com

United States

A Proto Labs Cool Idea! Award was presented to Echo Laboratories, developer of the Revolve hybrid microscope. The Revolve combines two microscopes into one, transforming between upright and inverted views. Currently, in most scientific research laboratories, two separate types of microscopes—upright and inverted—are used. The Revolve also uses an iPad for an eyepiece. San Diego-based Echo Laboratories is using the Cool Idea! Award manufacturing grant for various parts from Proto Labs such as components for the microscope’s specimen stage, a motorised LED fluorescence module and a nose-piece bracket.

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Compliant Games
Compliant Games
Compliant Games exploded view
Compliant Games in use

COMPLIANT GAMES

angel.co/compliant-games

United States

A Proto Labs Cool Idea! Award has been presented to Compliant Games. A respiratory therapy system that’s a combination video game system and telemetry (transmitting and monitoring) instrument, Compliant Games helps paediatric and nursing home patients comply with respiratory therapy requirements, while providing clinicians with a low-cost instrument for the monitoring of those patients’ progress. With offices in Memphis, Compliant Games is using the Cool Idea! Award manufacturing grant for various custom prototype parts from Proto Labs such as injection-moulded airway tubes and other components.

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Wristify
Wristify
Wristify expoded view
Wristify

EMBR LABS, WRISTIFY

embrlabs.com

United States

A Proto Labs Cool Idea! Award was presented to Embr Labs, for its product Wristify. The thermoelectric wearable device actively cools or heats one’s skin for comfort by sending hot or cold pulses to a patch of skin on the wrist dozens of times per minute. Embr Labs is using the Cool Idea! Award grant for various custom prototype parts from Proto Labs such as CNC-machined aluminium enclosures and Santoprene bottom components. Embr Labs’ developers describe Wristify as a “stylish bracelet” that cools or heats the skin, similar to what happens when you dip your toes in a cold lake on a hot, sunny day, or when you wrap your hands around a hot cup of tea on a cold night.

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Hush smart earplugs
Hush smart earplugs
Hush smart earplugs exploded view
Hush smart earplugs

HUSH TECHNOLOGY, INC., HUSH

hush.technology

United States

A Proto Labs Cool Idea! Award was presented to Hush Technology, Inc. for their product—Hush, the world’s first smart earplug. Combining sound-eliminating foam and noise masking technology, the product keeps unwanted noise out while allowing important alerts in. Hush allows users to sleep through snoring, loud neighbours and a host of other noises that disturb sleep without blocking out necessary sounds — like alarm clocks or emergency phone calls. The grant has provided Hush Technology with Proto Labs’ 3D printing and injection moulding services.

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05 February — VentureBeat
19 April — Digital Trends
PocketLab
PocketLab
PocketLab exploded view

CLIFTON ROOZEBOOM, MYRIAD SENSORS INC., POCKETLAB

thepocketlab.com

United States

The device uses a wireless sensor and software platform to measure a number of different data fields that are then transmitted back to a computer or smartphone for analysis. PocketLab is inexpensive and intuitive making it particularly well-suited for students, teachers and professors working on science projects in need of solid analytical data. Its inventor, Clifton Roozeboom, plans to use his Cool Idea! Award grant on injection-moulded plastic casings that form the outer shell of the device as well as additional liquid silicone rubber components. The parts will serve an integral role in the protection and durability of end-use PocketLab devices.

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16 March — TechCrunch
Skyven solar panel system
Skyven solar panel system
Skyven solar panel system
Skyven solar panel system

SKYVEN TECHNOLOGIES, SKYVEN COGEN SYSTEM

skyventechnologies.com

United States

Skyven Technologies received a Proto Labs Cool Idea! Award for its development of a dual-purpose solar panel system that produces energy for both electrical power and water heat. The Texas-based company’s Cogen System integrates three technologies — traditional solar photovoltaic (PV), advanced concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) and solar water heating — into a single, multi-tasking solar panel. A network of panels can be installed on commercial and industrial rooftops, which then provides companies, hotels, factories and other large facilities access to more efficient electricity and water heating. Skyven founder, Arun Gupta, and his team used their service grant on various 3D-printed, CNC-machined and injection-moulded prototypes at Proto Labs.

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2014
AMPY
AMPY
AMPY exploded view
AMPY in use

TEJAS SHASTRY, ALEX SMITH & MIKE GEIER, AMPY

getampy.com

United States

AMPY, a wearable device that captures and converts kinetic energy into mobile power for phone charging has received a Proto Labs Cool Idea! Award. The device can be strapped to a person’s arm, leg or hip, or carried inside a backpack or messenger’s bag, where it charges anytime movement is detected. 8,000 to 10,000 steps — a typical day of walking — gives the user another three hours of smartphone battery life, and an added 30-minute workout provides around 6 additional hours. The Cool Idea! Award provided the team with the tooling and subsequent low-volume injection moulded production run for the plastic AMPY clip and housings. The parts will be used in devices shipped for pilot testing as well as upper-level crowdfunding perks for contributors.

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Roambotics Jr.
Roambotics Jr.
Jr. exploded view
Roambotics Jr.

Roambotics, Jr.

roambotics.com

United States

The team at Roambotics captured a Proto Labs Cool Idea! Award for their autonomous personal robot with a unique set of security monitoring abilities. The compact robot named Jr. uses a freestanding wheel to independently traverse throughout a home or business where its audio sensors and four onboard cameras capture a near-360-degree view of an environment. If an intruder enters, the robot can notify a user of the break-in via text or email. Roambotics will use its Proto Labs grant for injection-moulded interior frames, wheel assemblies, tire treads, handles and bumpers, which will comprise more than half of the components on the robots rolling out for targeted pilot testing. As the Roambotics continues to develop Jr., new abilities will be integrated such as three-dimensional mapping of spaces, capturing spontaneous moments at social gatherings and health care monitoring of senior citizens.

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Thruster-100
Thruster-100
Thruster-100 exploded view
Thruster-100

BlueRobotics, Thruster-100

blue-robotics.com

United States

The Thruster-100, a compact, low-cost motor and propeller unit designed to make aquatic exploration more economically accessible, has received a Cool Idea! Award. BlueRobotics, the company behind the propulsion system, seeks to provide a more accessible entry point for hobbyists, educators, students and professionals. Proto Labs granted gratis tooling and subsequent production runs for the product’s plastic parts.

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Garageio
Garageio
Garageio exploded view
Garageio system

Alottazs Labs, LLC, Garageio

garageio.com

United States

Garageio, a system that allows users to control and monitor their garage door from virtually anywhere via smartphone, has received a Proto Labs Cool Idea! Award. The smartphone app communicates with the in-garage device to provide users notification on up to three garage doors when one is opened or closed, activity reports and an online portal to view when and who has accessed a door, alerts when a door is left open for too long, and enables users to open and close doors. Proto Labs provided gratis prototype casings and a subsequent production run of parts.

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02 December — Entrepreneur
2013
VOTO
VOTO
VOTO exploded view
VOTO in use

Point Source Power, VOTO

pointsourcepower.com

United States

Point Source Power’s VOTO, a handheld device that transforms heat into electricity for use in mobile phone charging or LED lighting, has received a Cool Idea! Award. The device seeks to bring affordable electricity to developing nations. Electricity is captured with the heat produced from an everyday item – a camping stove – and then stored in the onboard battery for later phone charging or LED lighting use.

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19 November — Co.Exist
FLOOME smartphone breathalyzer
FLOOME smartphone breathalyzer
FLOOME smartphone breathalyzer exploded view
FLOOME fits easily into a pocket

2045Tech, FLOOME

2045tech.com

Italy

Italian company 2045Tech has received a Cool Idea! Award for FLOOME, a smartphone breathalyser that provides users with accurate and reliable blood-alcohol readings. FLOOME’s patent-pending technology matches a vortex whistle with the same fuel cell ethanol sensor that is widely used in law enforcement breathalysers. The collected data is sent to a corresponding smartphone app where the user can view their blood alcohol content, get an estimate of when it is safe to drive, set an alarm to take a new test, view a graph of previous results, or call a nearby taxi.

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Everpurse exploded view
Everpurse exploded view
Everpurse
Everpurse

Dan & Liz Salcedo, Everpurse

everpurse.com

United States

Everpurse, a handbag that features an integrated smartphone charging system, received Protomold injection moulding services as a recipient of the Cool Idea! Award. The system includes a wireless charging dock with an internal battery bank built into the wall of the purse, and an inductive charging mat that the handbag can be placed upon when not in use to charge the internal battery bank. The Cool Idea! Award provided Everpurse with the moulds and parts needed to help fulfill their Kickstarter orders and Proto Labs’ fast turnaround time assured quick time to market.

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Flipout Tantrum
Flipout Tantrum
A few of the Flipout Tantrum’s many positions
Flipout Tantrum Parts

Joel Townsan, Flipout, Tantrum

flipoutproducts.com

United States

Flipout Screwdrivers has received a Cool Idea! Award for the Tantrum, an electric screwdriver designed for tight spaces. The Tantrum can be configured into 168 positions, giving access to spaces inaccessible to traditional power tools. The Cool Idea! Award provided tooling and a subsequent first production run of injection molded parts in preparation for the product’s Kickstarter campaign.

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23 May — Design Solutions
An early prototype of Maze-O
An early prototype of Maze-O
Maze-O fosters spatial reasoning and fine motor skills
Assembled Maze-O

Maze-O

facebook.com/Maze.O.Toy/info

United States

Maze-O, a colourful plastic maze building set received injection moulded parts for initial working prototypes as a recipient of the Cool Idea! Award. Maze-O fosters spatial reasoning and fine motor skills in a fun way. The sets received via the award were used to market the toy to potential distributors at New York City’s Toy Fair 2013 in February.

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ReMotion prosthetic knee joint
ReMotion prosthetic knee joint
ReMotion prosthetic knee joint
ReMotion prosthetic knee joint in use

D-Rev, ReMotion Knee

d-rev.org/index.html

United States

D-Rev received a Cool Idea! Award for their ReMotion Knee, a low cost prosthetic knee joint for above-the-knee amputees living in developing countries. The ReMotion Knee allows these individuals to walk stably on the uneven or unpaved terrain typical of the developing world. D-Rev was awarded Proto Labs services to produce knee joints for use in field testing.

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2012
iPourIt RFID reader holder
iPourIt RFID reader holder
iPourIt exploded RFID reader holder

iPourIt

iPourItinc.com

United States

iPourIt’s system that allows bar patrons to pour their own tap beer and wine received Protomold injection moulding services as a recipient of the Cool Idea! Award. iPourIt employs proprietary technology that provides customers the ability to fill their glass with the exact amount desired on their time, rate the drink, find nearby taps, reserve pints ahead of time, and even buy rounds for friends.

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22 October — RFID Journal
SOLOSHOT motorised base
SOLOSHOT motorised base
SOLOSHOT motorised base and remote armband
SOLOSHOT exploded view

SOLOSHOT, INC. SOLOSHOT

soloshot.com

United States

SOLOSHOT, an object tracking system that combines with virtually any camera to track a single subject and capture video from up to 1500 feet away received Protomold injection moulded production services as part of their Cool Idea! Award. Ideal for sports enthusiasts looking for high-quality video footage of themselves, the SOLOSHOT employs remote and base units that are in constant radio communication, allowing the user to move anywhere within range and keep the camera focused on themselves.

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23 October — Make Parts Fast
09 September — Kiteboarder Magazine
Assembled IN3G Télétact
Assembled IN3G Télétact
IN3G Télétact exploded view of parts

IN3G, Télétact

France

Télétact, a device created by French company IN3G connects to a standard white walking stick brings additional navigational aid to visually impaired individuals by employing infrared detection and vibration feedback has been named a Cool Idea! Award recipient. The Télétact device uses sonar technology to detect obstacles in advance and relays that information back to the user in a way that gives them a better understanding of their environment. As a Cool Idea! Award recipient, Proto Labs provided IN3G with injection moulding tooling plastic parts for field trials of the device via the Protomold injection moulding service.

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15 August — Develop 3D
The Quadshot exploded view of parts
The Quadshot exploded view of parts
The Quadshot in action

Transition Robotics, Inc.

transition-robotics.com

United States

Transition Robotics, Inc. received a Cool Idea! Award with the Quadshot, an open-source, remote-controlled aircraft that combines the functionality of both a helicopter and an airplane. Equipped with gyroscopes, accelerometers, and microprocessors – originally developed for smart phones – the Quadshot is capable of high speeds and impressive aerobatics. The Quadshot can be purchased fully-assembled and ready to fly, or in one of three packages that encourage users to modify the electronics and software to custom-fit their desires.

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28 September — Make Parts Fast
6dot Braille labeller
6dot Braille labeller
6dot Braille labeller exploded view of parts
Household items embossed with the 6dot Braille labeller

6dot

6dot.com

United States

6dot received Protomold injection moulding services as a recipient of the Proto Labs Cool Idea! Award for their lightweight, handheld Braille labeller. The portability and intuitive nature of the labeller enables those without sight to better navigate their everyday environments. Additionally, since early Braille literacy has a positive correlation to employment among the blind and visually impaired later in life, 6dot hopes their device, that even young children can manage, will have an impact on improving the Braille literacy rate.

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13 March — Interempresas
17 February — Design World
17 February — Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal
2011
SkyLight with smartphone
SkyLight with smartphone
SkyLight
SkyLight exploded view of parts

ANDY MILLER & TESS BAKKE

www.skylightscope.com

United States

SkyLight, a device that connects any smartphone to any microscope, was created by Andy Miller and Tess Bakke to help transform global healthcare, telemedicine, science education and research capabilities. With SkyLight, people around the world are able to share images and videos via their smartphone. Healthcare workers in a third world country can capture and send diagnostic images to a trained expert able to make a vital diagnosis. As a Cool Idea! Award recipient, Proto Labs provided SkyLight with CNC machining for prototyping, followed by injection moulding tooling and accompanying plastic parts.

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05 January — Mashable
03 January — Medical Design Technology
02 January — Make Parts Fast
QuicKaddy
QuicKaddy
Matt Nestor

MATT NESTOR, QUICKADDY

www.quickaddy.com

United States

Matt Nestor received Firstcut CNC machined prototype parts as a recipient of the Proto Labs Cool Idea! Award for his QuicKaddy Hex Key case. The case allows a hex key to be quickly pulled straight from the case without having to move other hex keys in the process since there are slots, not through holes, which are typical of most cases currently on the market. The keys are held in place by powerful magnets located in the body of the case. Nestor’s design allows tools to be organized and accessed faster and easier than existing hex key cases, saving the user time and increasing productivity.

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RoughRider wheelchair
RoughRider wheelchair
RoughRider side panels

WHIRLWIND WHEELCHAIR INTERNATIONAL, ROUGHRIDER

www.whirlwindwheelchair.org

United States

Whirlwind Wheelchair International’s lightweight and rugged RoughRider® wheelchair was awarded a Cool Idea! Award and received Protomold injection moulded parts for the key side panels needed for an initial U.S. launch. The RoughRider was originally designed for those with disabilities in developing countries as a low-cost, highly durable wheelchair that can handle rough terrain with ease. The RoughRider combines a revolutionary long wheelbase with a unique, high-impact/high-flotation wheel to allow users to safely descend curbs and short flights of stairs and to easily traverse obstacles in their path.

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09 December — Core77
30 November — Fast Company
r-one robots

RICE UNIVERSITY, R-ONE

mrsl.rice.edu

United States

Rice University received Protomold injection moulded prototyping and production services as part of their Cool Idea! Award for their “r-one” robotics project, designed to aid undergraduate engineering students research multi-robot systems at a low cost. The robots, developed by Professor James McLurkin and his students, have the ability to communicate with the user and with one another using an internal computer, motors, lights and sounds.

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23 November — Electronic Design
15 November — Core77
TruFlavorWare
TruFlavorWare
Don Ladanyi

DON LADANYI, TRUFLAVORWARE

www.truflavorware.com

United States

Don Ladanyi of Westlake, Ohio, was awarded Protomold injection moulded prototyping and production services to help launch his line of flatware, TruFlavorWare®, developed specifically for chemotherapy patients. TruFlavorWare is non-metallic, organic, taste-inert flatware, designed to make food taste better by eliminating the aversive “taste-reactive” electro-chemical reactions caused by metal knives, forks and spoons. Ladanyi’s product brings particular relief to cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy by removing the bitter metallic aftertaste that often occurs when trying to eat with standard metal flatware.

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Read the Case Study
30 September — IdeaMensch
26 August — Invention Addict
23 August — Fast Company