2024 Contest Now Accepting Entries!

Submit your best new product ideas for a chance at $25,000, other great prizes, and global recognition. If you already are registered, log in to access the entry form. Otherwise, click here to get started.

Help build a better tomorrow

Since Tech Briefs magazine launched the Create the Future Design contest in 2002 to recognize and reward engineering innovation, over 15,000 design ideas have been submitted by engineers, students, and entrepreneurs across six continents. You can also join the innovators who dared to dream big and build a better tomorrow by entering this year’s contest.

Read About Past Winners’ Success Stories

Over the past 20 years, many innovators have used the recognition afforded by the contest to advance the development and marketing of their technologies. We highlight some success stories of past winners who have brought their inventions to the marketplace.

Click here to read more

A ‘Create the Future’ Winner Featured on ‘Here’s an Idea’

Spinal cord injury affects 17,000 Americans and 700,000 people worldwide each year. A research team at NeuroPair, Inc. won the Grand Prize in the 2023 Create the Future Design Contest for a revolutionary approach to spinal cord repair. In this Here’s an Idea podcast episode, Dr. Johannes Dapprich, NeuroPair’s CEO and founder, discusses their groundbreaking approach that addresses a critical need in the medical field, offering a fast and minimally invasive solution to a long-standing problem.

Listen now

Thank you from our Sponsors

“At COMSOL, we are very excited to recognize innovators and their important work this year. We are grateful for the opportunity to support the Create the Future Design Contest, which is an excellent platform for designers to showcase their ideas and products in front of a worldwide audience. Best of luck to all participants!”

— Bernt Nilsson, Senior Vice President of Marketing, COMSOL, Inc.

“From our beginnings, Mouser has supported engineers, innovators and students. We are proud of our longstanding support for the Create the Future Design Contest and the many innovations it has inspired.”

— Kevin Hess, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Mouser Electronics

Follow Create the Future

LIFE PACK – Hypothermia Prevention Floatation Device

Votes: 40
Views: 19759


On June, 14th 2003, 11 of 17 passengers died when they were cast overboard in Tillamook Oregon. The Taki-Tooo was a small passenger vessel that capsized just offshore. Note: in this disaster, drowning didn’t cause the deaths, but hypothermia and shock of cold Pacific Northwest ocean temperatures were the true causes of death.

People generally believe they are good swimmers and they find life jackets to be bulky, inconvenient, and uncomfortable. Although recommended, the Coast Guard does not monitor the wearing of a life jacket. Even with floatation gear, when a person who is not prepared for the cold falls into cold water (temperatures of 52 degrees or less) the shock of the cold alone can be fatal. Cold shock trauma can induce large gasps, hyperventilation, rapid heartbeat, and increased blood pressure. Also worth noting, is that most people who die of hypothermia do so in the first few minutes from failure to breathe or to sustain their heart. Even when an overboard passenger manages to survive the first two or three minutes, they will have to contend with the opposite effect of their heart slowing down and eventually stopping altogether.

We have transformed an item normally carried on one’s person into a floatation device designed to offer protection from cold-water temperatures. Statistically, most adults put life jackets on children but not on themselves. This inspired us to design the LIFE PACK so the wearer can hold a child hands free in water.

The LIFE PACK is the first of its kind dual bag floatation device incorporating an inner thermal lined compartment, which holds a heat generating super-corrosion technology sleeve. (This slim lightweight disposable Magnesium particle impregnated sleeve is also currently in use as flameless ration heaters (FRH).) This heat-generating element creates an exothermic reaction which allows its wearer to maintain hypostasis for several minutes even in dangerously cold water. This can buy emergency responders additional valuable response time in a marine rescue.

In just 12 minutes the standard FRH sleeve’s temperature can reach 60 degrees Celsius (enough heat to bring a liter of water to a boil). Heat is generated because the FRH contains magnesium metal impregnated material that when mixed with water, forms magnesium hydroxide, and hydrogen initiating the giving off of excess energy. Adding water breaks molecules bonds, and energy is released when the atoms re-bond to form new molecules. The corrosion is the process of the magnesium metal reacting with the air and water. But where usually the exposure to air would form a film preventing further oxidation of the magnesium, the salt eats away at the forming rust coating thereby allowing the water to continue to react directly with the metal and speeding up the corrosion process.

It is our hope that flameless heat technology is incorporated into emergency floatation gear and becomes widely available.

LIFE PACK - Life saving preparedness for you and your loved ones.


  • Awards

  • 2012 Safety & Security Category Winner
  • 2012 Top 100 Entries


Voting is closed!


  • Name:
    Dwight & Jane Cushman
  • Type of entry:
    Team members:
    Dwight Cushman
    Jane Cushman
  • Profession:
    Business Owner/Manager
  • Number of times previously entering contest:
  • Dwight & Jane's favorite design and analysis tools:
    Photoshop, Solid Works
  • For managing CAD data Dwight & Jane's company uses:
  • Dwight & Jane's hobbies and activities:
    Reading, Writing & Inventing
  • Dwight & Jane belongs to these online communities:
    VOAD - Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster
  • Dwight & Jane is inspired by:
    Nature, Universal Design
  • Software used for this entry:
    Photoshop, Illustrator
  • Patent status: