This founder wants to turn anything that moves into an energy source
Jessica O. Matthews recalls that on the night of her aunt's wedding in Lagos, Nigeria, the power suddenly went out. "They brought in a diesel generator to keep the festivities going," she says. "I started to cough and got dizzy." The experience stuck with her and ultimately led her, as a junior at Harvard, to invent Soccket, a soccer ball that captures kinetic energy and stores the power in an internal generator that can light a room or charge a cell phone. Soccket, along with a jump rope called Pulse, generated more than $6 million in revenue last year for Matthews's company, Uncharted Play. The products are typically purchased by governments and large corporations that brand them, and distribute them in Africa, mostly through NGOs. Now, Matthews's wildly ambitious goal is to "democratize on-demand power for everyone" by rebranding her company as M.O.R.E. (motion-based, off-grid, renewable energy), an energy company that's creating a microgenerating system that can harness the kinetic energy of just about anything that moves. On deck: a baby stroller that generates enough power to charge a cell phone.
Note: All data as of 5/23/16
Bacteria are no match for this startup's germ-killing lights
When Colleen Costello was a junior at Rochester Polytechnic Institute in 2011, her grandmother was admitted to the hospital after she slipped and fell. "She was supposed to stay overnight, but the next morning we were told that she had a MRSA infection. She ended up staying for over a week," says Costello. "I naively assumed that people get better when they go into a health care facility." According to the CDC, one in 25 patients gets a health care-associated infection every day. MRSA is a particularly nasty type of infection because its bacteria are resistant to most antibiotics. A biomedical engineering major, Costello approached her friend James Peterson, a mechanical engineering student. Together, they began exploring ways to prevent infection by disinfecting health care facilities (Paterson is no longer with the company). The solution: a new kind of LED white light that disinfects indoor spaces by attacking a molecule specific to bacteria, mold, and fungi. Unlike the disinfecting UV light traditionally used in hospitals, Vital Vio's lights can be left on all the time, because they cause no harm to humans.
Note: All data as of 1/31/16