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.

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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

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The Polariton Interferometer - a Novel Inertial Navigation System

Votes: 31
Views: 25027

Have you ever been routed incorrectly by your Global Positioning System (GPS)? The fact is that many of us would be lost without GPS navigation. However, this technology is not fail-safe, as it relies on a combination of signals from a complex satellite and ground station network. This is problematic in aerospace and defense, as GPS signal jamming is prevalent. Other technologies, such as Inertial Navigational Systems (INS), can operate independently from GPS satellites, but rely on GPS satellites to correct measurement errors. These errors are oftentimes due to limitations of an interferometer device within the system, known as a gyroscope.

By utilizing the quasiparticles known as exciton-polaritons, a new patent-pending gyroscopic device named the Polariton Interferometer provides measurement sensitivities far superior to competing optical technologies currently found in INS, such as the ring laser gyroscope. Aerospace and defense vehicles that utilize this unprecedented measurement sensitivity will have the ability to operate completely independent of GPS satellites and ground station networks.

The Polariton Interferometer will enable aerospace and defense technology to maneuver with precision while remaining immune to jamming, remove orientation vulnerability to inclement weather conditions, and provide a stealthy INS as it cannot be detected by radar. Unlike the optical interferometer, the Polariton Interferometer’s measurement sensitivity is not proportional to the area which it occupies. This is beneficial, as it allows production of a far more sensitive device that occupies much less space than the bulky optical interferometer.

The design for the Polariton Interferometer works by pulsing a special, controlled state of light through discrete micrometer-sized optical components. Next, this altered light passes through a thin film microcavity where the polariton condensate, or matter waves are formed. These waves induce an interference pattern that allows the rotational rate of the device to be detected as the measurement output.

The performance capability of this new technology is independent of scale and readily manufactured as a photonic integrated circuit, achieved on a microchip smaller than a dime. These microchips contain discrete optical components that are made using a direct laser-writing technique. Dielectric layers of the thin film microcavity are manufactured by sputter deposition, and the polymer layer is spin coated. The rotating gyroscopic interference pattern is detected using a charge-coupled device.

By implementing the generic foundry manufacturing process, production cost will be in the hundreds of dollars, which is substantially lower than the cost of comparable technologies. Such technologies include the atomic interferometers, which rival the Polariton Interferometer in sensitivity, but require temperatures that are too cold and expensive for realistic operation.

Cost efficiency is yet another way that the Polariton Interferometer will lead the Global Inertial Sensor market. This market, driven by gyroscope and technological advancements in INS, is projected to reach $8.5 billion in 2018. The low production cost, and patent-pending status positions the Polariton Interferometer to be a strong competitor in the Global Inertial Sensor Market.

Superior gyroscopic measurement sensitivity, compact size, and cost efficiency make the Polariton Interferometer the clear choice for aerospace and defense organizations.


  • Awards

  • 2014 Aerospace & Defense Category Winner
  • 2014 Top 100 Entries


Voting is closed!


  • Name:
    Frederick Moxley
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