Ruba Borno and Tzeno Galchev, electrical engineering graduate students,
have gained invaluable insight into what it takes to commercialize
research. Partnering with U-M MBA student Rishiraj Das, they have
developed a business plan which they have used to enter and win several
Bornoís work takes environmental energy, specifically energy from
evaporation, and converts it to electrical power, while Galchev
concentrates on transforming kinetic energy, such as vibrations, into
Borno hopes to encourage others in the pursuit of bio-mimicry, or
bio-inspiration. She is inspired by looking at how nature has already
solved engineering-type problems, and feels we should try to solve
problems using what nature has already done for us.
Tzeno described the competitions as a foray into the world of
entrepreneurialism, which he feels is more closely tied to the
scientific world than the business world. ďYou donít know where youíre
going, or where youíre going to get, or how youíre going to get there,
but youíre doing it, and itís always an adventure, and itís always new.
Thatís why it appeals to us as scientists.Ē
Recent wins include first place in the Colorado Cleantech Venture
Challenge and the FuturTech Quick Pitch competition here at U-M.
Additionally they took 2nd place, the Williamson Award for Outstanding
Business and Engineering Team, and the Erb Award for Sustainability at
Michigan Business Challenge.