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Engineering Prototyping

2019 Francis College of Engineering Prototyping Competition

This competition has commenced for this year. The $50K Idea Challenge application is now open until February 12, 2020! Don't miss out and Apply Online today!

This program is supported by the Francis College of Engineering and the DifferenceMaker program.

 The Competition

Do you have a great idea? Are you wondering if it can be turned into a real product that customers would buy and use? If so, then this is for you: a competition to push you to think about an idea and bring it to life. Welcome to the 2019 Francis College of Engineering Prototyping Competition!

What is the difference between this competition and other innovation and entrepreneurship competitions on campus? This competition is more than just generating an idea; it is about generating a product - whether it is a mechanical/electrical device, a software application, or an integrated system. After all, ideas are great but we want you to build it! We will provide the resources to make it happen, so you can make a difference!


Applicants must be students (graduate or undergraduate) at UMass Lowell and at least one team member must be from the Francis College of Engineering. Students are encouraged to form interdisciplinary teams with all team members taking part in developing the Proposal and Prototype. Also, teams should identify a faculty advisor from Engineering.

 Important Dates

  • Registration Opens - September 25, 2019
  • Registration Deadline - EXTENDED to Wed., Oct. 30 at 5 p.m.
  • Executive Summary Due - November 12, 2019 at 5 p.m.
  • A Poster (download and use this poster template) due by email to: (Note: in the email, set up an appointment to print your poster and attach it) - December 2, 2019 at 5 p.m.
  • PowerPoint presentation Due - December 2, 2019: PPT Template
  • Final Competition Day - December 4, 2019 from 3-9 p.m. (Saab Center, ETIC Atrium, North Campus)

 Registration / Application and Deadlines


Executive summaries will be submitted online in the TeamMaker platform. Teams submitting plans past the deadline will not be included in the Competition.

Available Resources

Teams that submit a proposal by the deadline are eligible to submit receipts of expenses incurred in their prototype design. A maximum of $100 will be reimbursed, with valid expenses including material costs, equipment rental, etc. Note that student teams must approach Engineering faculty and/or technical staff for the use of laboratory facilities (if necessary) in their designs and prototyping. Additionally, all registered teams will be invited to attend DifferenceMaker events during the semester to learn relevant skills and techniques, from idea generation to writing a business plan.


  • $2,500 award for 1st place team
  • $1,500 award for 2nd place team
  • $1,000 award for 3rd place team
  • $500 award for the people's choice award (crowd voting)
  • New this year! $1,500 award for the Best Biomedical Device, sponsored by Professor McCarthy


  • Should I Enter My Design? Ask Professor, Hunter Mack, Francis College of Engineering DifferenceMaker Faculty Fellow - email:
  • Email the DifferenceMaker Program:
  • Other Questions? Please contact Diane Reichlen, Francis College of Engineering Program Coordinator by email:

 2018 Winners

  • First Place Awardof $2,500 went to Benji Ball, which is a Baseball training tool that will be composed of a bat and ball with the ball having multiple sides, each side showing the different outcome of an at bat. The bat has a bigger barrel since this game/training tool is designed for children and special needs kids to be able to learn the game of baseball in a fun and simplistic way. He already have the first prototype made from a manufacturer in China.
  • Team: Gavin Donohoe, Benjamin McEvoy and Tristan Naboicheck
  • Second Place Awardof $1,500 went to AirAlign, which is developing a soft robotic suit to assist with bad posture.
  • Team: Dennon Audette, Alexander Barr, Nick Deane, Daniel Gurfinkel, Frederick Higgins, Micheal Hoppe, Alex Infantino, Joseph McDonald, Patrick Pang and Kevin Truong
  • Third Place Awardof $1,000 : SASS, one of our winning 2018 Idea Challenge teams! SASS provides reliable GPS tracking and communication with a timed checking system to make sure the adventurer is always safe..
  • Team: Cameron Edmonds, Matthew Pelland, Curtis Sargent, and Jackson Seal
  • Best BioMedical Device Awardof $1,500, sponsored by Professor Stephen McCarthy, went to Envivo Med, which aims to use sustainable, 'smart' polymers coupled with micro electromechanical systems to further simplify the process and provide a less expensive yet precise way of drawing blood.
  • Team: Siddhant Iyer
  • People's Choice Awardof $500 also went to Team AirAlign

Thank you to the 2018 judges!

Finals Judges:

  • Rajia Abdelaziz ’16, Francis College of Engineering
  • Cindy Conde ’87, ‘91, Francis College of Engineering
  • Mark Saab ’81, ‘13, Francis College of Engineering
  • Jack Wilson, President, Emeritus, University Distinguished Professor

Preliminary Judges:

  • Doug Browne ’85, Francis College of Engineering
  • Carol Devellian ’85, Francis College of Engineering
  • Mark Dyment ’86, ’87, Francis College of Engineering
  • Matt McBride, Associate Director, Development, Francis College of Engineering
  • Dan McCormick ’83, ’84, ’91, Francis College of Engineering
  • Dave O’Brien ’80, Francis College of Engineering
  • Rich Rossetti ’83, Francis College of Engineering
  • Michelle Veilleux ’93, FAHSS, Professor and DifferenceMaker Faculty Fellow