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

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HemeChip for Early Diagnosis of Sickle Cell Disease

Votes: 3
Views: 10652


We have developed a Hemoglobin-Electrophoresis Biochip (HemeChip) that can rapidly, easily and conclusively identify the hemoglobin type in blood to diagnose Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) in newborns.


About 3 million people worldwide suffer from SCD, mostly in Africa, India and the Middle East, with an estimated 100,000 affected in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. SCD affects 1 in 375 newborns in the US. More than 800 children are born with SCD every day in Africa, and more than half of them die in childhood due to lack of diagnosis and early treatment. In the US, hemoglobin screening of newborns is mandated for early diagnosis, so that, monitoring and treatment can be started immediately, which has dramatically reduced SCD related mortality. However, this strategy has not been widely available in Africa and other third-world countries, due to limited resources.

Most common screening methods are electrophoresis and high performance liquid chromatography. In developed world, hemoglobin analyses can be obtained in 1-2 days. However, in third-world countries, hemoglobin testing can only be performed in central laboratories. Results can take 2-4 weeks, and this delay may be life-threatening; it may be impossible to reach the parents after they have left the health center. Therefore, there is a need for simple, rapid, and mobile analyses of hemoglobin types in newborn blood with which to diagnose hemoglobinopathies while the baby is still on-site.


Early diagnosis through new born screening in resource-poor settings can be achieved with a point-of-care screening method, such as the HemeChip presented here. A ‘HemeChip’ that can accurately identify hemoglobin type in a drop of blood will improve the way we screen, diagnose and initiate management of hemoglobinopathies in newborns.

Our ultimate goal is to reduce footprint of hemoglobin screening for newborns down to the size of a credit card via HemeChip, which can be easily carried in a pocket together with a smart phone for mobile analysis.


We utilized a microengineered design and microfluidic approach in HemeChip development. Microfluidic technology is a novel tool which allows small sample volume (<20µL, fingerpick/heelprick blood), portability, ease of use, and low power consumption.

The microchip system allows rapid manual assembly and is single use, to prevent potential cross-contamination between patients. HemeChip fabrication is suitable for mass-production, which is critical for translation of point-of-care technologies. At present, HemeChip material cost is <$5.00, and this cost is likely to decrease if mass-produced.

We will integrate a mobile imaging and quantification algorithm to achieve reliable and repeatable results even in resource-poor settings. The quantification algorithm will automatically plot intensity histograms along channels and highest intensity locations will be evaluated. Positions of healthy/sickle hemoglobin will be determined using the histogram plots, and results will be displayed on the screen.

Overall, HemeChip:

-  Works with minimal sample volumes (<20µL)

-  Is portable (pocket size)

-  Can rapidly analyze a drop of blood (<30min.)

-  Is cost-efficient (<5.00$)

-  Can be operated by minimally-trained personnel


This project is funded by Coulter-Case Translational Research Partnership and the Clinical and Translational Science Collaborative of Cleveland, UL1TR000439 from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) component of the National Institutes of Health and NIH roadmap for Medical Research. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.

  • Awards

  • 2014 Medical Category Winner
  • 2014 Top 100 Entries


Voting is closed!


  • Name:
    Yunus Alapan
  • Type of entry:
    Team members:
    Yunus Alapan, Case Western Reserve University
    Ryan Ung, Case Western Reserve University
    Megan Romelfanger, Case Western Reserve University
    Asya Akkus, Case Western Reserve University
    Connie Piccone, University Hospitals, Case Western Reserve University
    Jane Little, University Hospitals, Case Western Reserve University
    Umut Gurkan, Case Western Reserve University
  • Profession:
  • Software used for this entry:
    Solidworks, CorelDraw
  • Patent status: