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Invention of the Year

2016 Winners

Information Science Category Winner:

 Charles Thomas Harry, vice president for cyber and analytic solutions at Orbis Operations and Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM) research scholar, and Nancy Gallagher, CISSM director and a research professor at the School of Public Policy, have created a method to qualify and quantify cyber disruptions by taking into account three characteristics: scope, magnitude, and duration. These three dimensions can be measured and graphed to compare the disruptiveness of various cyber events in order to better understand the implications of the disruptions.

"Using a common language and risk assessment methodology can help government officials, private sector executives, and academics understand each other’s different concerns, evaluate tradeoffs, and cooperate to ensure that critical infrastructure is protected against high-consequence threats," said Gallagher.

Life Science Category Winner:

John T. Patton, associate professor in the Department of Veterinary Medicine at the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, is developing a recombinant oral vaccine capable of inducing protective responses that restrict the growth of rotaviruses and noroviruses in the gut. This innovation will not require physicians to introduce another vaccine into the childhood immunization regimen, as the combined rotavirus-norovirus dual vaccine can be administered in place of the current rotavirus vaccine.

"My goal is to have the combined rotavirus-norovirus vaccine approved for routine use in the U.S. childhood immunization program, replacing the currently used rotavirus vaccine," said Patton. "An effective combined rotavirus-norovirus vaccine could be expected to reduce the impact of norovirus disease as measured by need for treatment or related costs by as much as 80-90 percent."

Physical Science Category Winner:

Steven Anlage, physics professor and Center for Nanophysics and Advanced Materials researcher, Frank Cangialosi (B.S. '16, computer science; B.A. '16, economics), Tyler Grover (B.S. '16, mathematics, physics), Scott Roman (B.S. '16, physics, materials engineering), Liangcheng Tao (B.S. '16, electrical engineering), and mechanical engineering and mathematics student Andrew Simon have discovered a potentially viable solution that will allow energy to be transmitted to a moving target using time-reversed electromagnetic signals. A power source sends weak signals over a variety of trajectories. These signals converge at one instant to deliver a large burst of power only on the target location that will use the energy to charge the battery of a mobile device.

"Our wireless power transfer invention could transform society by eliminating the last tether that binds us to the grid, and eventually phase out the words ‘recharge’ and ‘power cord’ from our vocabulary," said Anlage.