Wolfie Tank, Stony Brook University’s local version of the hit TV show Shark Tank, brought together local inventors to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges in the Student Activities Center Tuesday night.

The judges included the Vice Chairman of the Long Island Angels Network, Andrew Hazen, Stony Brook alumni and member of Anheuser-Busch InBev—a multinational beverage and brewing company which is also responsible for testing and commercializing new technologies and business models—James Keane, Intelligent Product Solutions Vice President of Business Development Derek Peterson, and founder of PTJ Consulting Paul Trapani.

From left to right: Hazen, Trapani, Keane and Peterson
From left to right: Hazen, Trapani, Keane and Peterson (Photo credit: Ronny Reyes)

“We received about 35 applications for this, but we could only pick seven people,” said Samiha Shakil, one of the event’s organizers.

Brian Ton was the first of these seven to present his idea, the Selen Glasses, which are glasses that come with electronic tinting. “They’re affordable, auto-adjusting glasses,” Ton explained.

Although Ton received positive feedback from the venture capitalists, Hazen suggested that Ton and his team look into the health risks of having a battery constantly near wearers’ heads.   

Benjamin Conard and his father, Christopher, followed with their air particle reducing vacuum cleaner attachment device, the Conard External Vortex Turbulence Attenuator. The CEVTA would allow for the capture of left over particles that escape into the air after vacuuming.

In an infomercial-like manner, Conard repeated, “Redundant cleaning is wasteful cleaning.”   

Stony Brook’s Homecoming Queen Ruchi Shah then presented her Mosquitoes Be Gone product, a non-toxic, low-cost repellent. The idea for the product came to Shah during a trip to India, where she learned about the prevalence of mosquito-transmitted diseases.

“I witnessed so many waiting in line for treatment,” she recalled.

Shah included charitable implementation into her business idea, which included donating some of the product to third-world countries, something that Keane thought was a great idea to include.

Nearly all the judges said they had tips and advice to give her after the presentations were over.

The Stony Brook Web and Application Development Club pitched their idea of an online freelance market-place for a local community, which is currently focusing on the Stony Brook campus itself.

“This is a great idea for student to make money on the weekends,” said Peterson, seeing the value in an open community work service.

Keane on the other hand thought that the club could build their app for an already existing site to cut out some of the work.   

Maxwell Fayans was up next, presenting his outline for the RipSense, a flashing bracelet for youths that would alert lifeguards and others if they were drowning. Packed with bright LEDs, Fayans commented on the RipSense’s 200-yard reach.

“We believe that it will become the norm and change beach safety,” he said after recalling the fear of seeing people drown while he was a lifeguard.

Two of the judges warned Fayans to look into the liability that might come with his product’s lifesaving style promotion.

Peter Small, an asthmatic and the founding director of the Stony Brook University Global Health Institute, pitched his idea for a sound recording device that could recognize and report someone’s coughing. The device would run on the background and inform the user to any irregularities and even pinpoint what might be wrong just from the type of cough it picks up.

Although the judges seemed interested in Small’s pitch, they were a bit taken back when Small’s decided to take a call in the middle of his pitch and even project the call on the mic so everyone could hear.

“How cool is that,” Small asked as he hung up the phone.

Nathaniel Hobert finished things off with Fantasy Prophet, a new fantasy sports site that’s meant to capitalize on the public mistrust in DraftKings and FanDuel. Hobert stressed the importance of marketing trust as he repeated a slogan of fairness throughout his presentation.

“I’m not convinced on how you would brand fairness,” Peterson said.

After the pitches ended, the room was open to networking and questions with the judges and presenters.

Wolfie Tank 2016 has been confirmed for Nov. 7, according to the event organizers.      


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