2024 Contest Coming Soon!

Get your neurons fired up – the 2024 Create the Future Design Contest will open for entries on March 1. Submit your best new product ideas for a chance at $25,000 and other great prizes.

In the meantime, get up to speed on last year’s winners, honorable mentions, and most popular entries here.

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

A Paradigm Shift for SMT Electronics: Micro-Coil Springs Interconnection For Ceramic and Plastic Grid Array Packaged Integrated Circuits

Votes: 0
Views: 11807

Micro-coil springs provide flexible electrical interconnections and allow significant movement in the x, y, and z axes to counteract the thermal expansion and dynamic forces between a microcircuit and a printed circuit board. Micro-coil springs are able to withstand harsh thermal and vibration environments significantly better than the current state of the art (see table below for performance comparisons).

NASA Value: Marshall engineers have developed a novel interconnection structure for the integrated circuit packages used in aerospace avionic designs. Micro-coil springs (MCS) replace ball or column grid arrays (BGA/CGA), preventing connection breaks due to thermal and vibration stresses.

Partnership Mechanism: Four months after approaching Topline Corporation at the APEX Expo, NASA Marshall signed an exclusive license agreement with the company for the micro-coil technology.

Status: NASA has filed the Patent Protection Treaty. Topline is filing foreign patent protection in several countries and plans to sell the product worldwide. Topline/Marshall are collaborating on advancing surface mount technology (SMT).

Expected Results/Benefits: Topline assists thousands of customers to define and refine their SMT and microelectronics assembly processes. The micro-coil technology will substantially increase interconnection flexibility, offering longer life to these electronics.

Performance Comparisons: Test vehicles have been thermal cycle tested (-55/+125oC, 15 minute soaks at extremes = approx. 1 hour/cycle) and vibration tested at 5g, 8g, and 10g. Note: In order to determine characteristic life, thermal cycle testing of the MCS in the plastic package will continue until 63.2% of the 32 channels (20 channels) have failed.

  • Awards

  • 2014 Electronics Category Winner
  • 2014 Top 100 Entries


Voting is closed!


  • Name:
    Jim Hester
  • Type of entry:
    Team members:
    Jim Hester, Mark Strickland
  • Jim is inspired by:
    The desire to use my engineering and manufacturing knowledge, skills, and abilities to improve life for all of us.
  • Software used for this entry:
    Inventor Fusion, ANSYS Workbench, AutoCAD, Pro Engineer
  • Patent status: