A couple of RIT students put a terrific face on this topic and serve as a perfect illustration of how good these connections can be. Justin Hillery and Sean Petterson, seniors at RIT, have invented an important new product: a wearable vest that helps workers lift heavy loads safely, named “Strong Arm.” This technology addresses the number one cause of workplace injury in the US -- back injury.
Rochester has stepped up to recognize and support these inventors. They have been awarded first prize in the Rochester Regional Business Plan Contest, which donated $25,000, a year of free business incubator services, office space and $2,500 in marketing services. That is a significant contribution to a start up company!
The men also won a Student Achievement Award, a component of the Digital Rochester’s Greater Rochester Excellence & Achievements in Technology awards. In addition, the idea earned $75,000 from the New York State Business Plan Competition in Albany.
This is how innovation should be recognized. This is how new technologies are born and how a community can act to keep that technology, and its manufacturing, in the area. When universities, business, and government work together to help new ideas grow the entire community stands to prosper.
Congratulations to all involved. Thanks for helping our community!