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Alumnus Set to Compete in Innovation Competition at Georgia Tech

Jack Hutchinson '20 and InVenture teammates at Georgia Tech pose with invention

Jack Hutchinson '20 is gearing up to take part in Georgia Tech's InVenture Prize competition, as he looks to fulfill his lifelong entrepreneurial aspirations.

The InVenture Prize competition is a faculty-led contest for undergraduate students and those who recently completed their Bachelor of Science at Georgia Tech. Students can work independently or in teams to develop and present inventions, which experts will judge. The competitors introduce their inventions in the preliminary round, and the judges' scores determine who will advance to the quick-pitch semifinal round. Six finalists are then selected to advance to the final round, shown live by Georgia Public Broadcasting on March 15.

Jack's team, Ouro, is among the finalists. Team members created a desktop injection molding machine optimized to use 3D printed molds, as opposed to conventional CNC-milled metal molds. The 3D printed molds can be produced 50 times faster and for 1/100th the cost of their traditional counterparts, allowing users to quickly and inexpensively iterate between production parts, accelerating the product development process and making injection molding technology accessible to smaller businesses and independent makers. The machine also has the capability to drastically improve the efficiency of local, smaller scale manufacturing, allowing for a shorter average distance between producer and consumer, reducing the carbon impact and supply chain challenges of overseas manufacturing, as well as easing the process of returning recycled plastic to a facility capable of turning it into something new.

"This idea began as a personal project I was working on about a year ago," said Jack. "I thought it would be fun to build a small injection molding machine, but due to the high cost of traditional injection molds, I realized I needed to explore other options. Familiar with specialty 3D printing materials from my work as a 3D printing master at the Georgia Tech Invention Studio, I thought to try to make molds out of a strong, temperature resistant material using 3D printing. It was nice because I could make new molds really quickly and for about 1% of the cost of traditional molds. At the time, I thought this was just neat. While I was working at Tesla over the summer, I mentioned this project to my manager, who said something to the effect of, 'Yeah, if you could make new parts in low quantities as fast as you say you did, that would be a service incredibly competitive to what we currently spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on.' That was kind of the 'Eureka' moment where I realized this could be something big, so I refined the machine design and entered the InVenture Prize with two friends of mine who I knew could assist with creating presentation materials and fabricating machine parts." 

According to Jack and his Team Ouro members, winning the InVenture Prize would validate years of hard work and development, propel decentralized and sustainable manufacturing to new heights, and affirm that the world is ready to move past manufacturing limitations that we have always accepted, and embrace the prospect of accessible, flexible and sustainable manufacturing.

"I am, and always have been, a product of my influences," said Jack. "I feel really fortunate to have been influenced by some wonderful teachers and mentors at NSA who taught me how to think critically, lead others and pursue what I love. Their influence was incredibly helpful as I grew as an engineer at Georgia Tech, turning the soft skills I developed into hard skills that are directly applicable to engineering and problem solving."

The first place winner or winning team, which is decided by expert judges, will receive $20,000. Georgia Tech's Office of Technology Licensing will also support one U.S. patent filing, up to a maximum of $20,000 in total cost. The winner or winning team will then get automatic acceptance into the next cohort of CREATE-X's Startup Launch program, which is a 12-week summer program for Georgia Tech students and alumni who want to launch their projects from idea stage into fully functioning and viable startups. This includes an additional $4,000 in seed funding, legal assistance, access to the CREATE-X collaborative workspace, 1:1 faculty-led coaching and access to a network of field-specific mentors and experts.

The second place winner or winning team, which is decided by expert judges, will receive $10,000. Additionally, Georgia Tech's Office of Technology Licensing will support one U.S. patent filing, up to a maximum of $20,000 in total cost. The second place winners will also get an automatic interview for the next cohort of CREATE-X's Startup Launch program.

The People's Choice Award is given to the fans' favorite invention, as determined by online and text voting during the televised final round. The winner will be announced live once polling closes. The People's Choice Award winner will receive $5,000 and an automatic interview for the next cohort of CREATE-X's Startup Launch program.

You can read more about the other teams, judges and hosts on Georgia Tech's website.

Best of luck to Jack and Team Ouro! Go Saints!



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