Winners Announced For Schurz Innovation Challenge

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The Hydro Grow LLC team (from left-to-right) Scott Massey, Jimmy Carlson and Ivan Ball. (Image courtesy of the Purdue Research Foundation) The Hydro Grow LLC team (from left-to-right) Scott Massey, Jimmy Carlson and Ivan Ball. (Image courtesy of the Purdue Research Foundation)

Three Purdue University students took the top prize at the school's annual Schurz Innovation Challenge. The Hydro Grow LLC team showcased its automated device that grows plants using hydroponic pods. The student-founders say the methods help plants grow at an accelerated pace.

They are looking to begin production on the Hydro Grow next month, in hopes of selling the system that consists of a tower enclosed in glass that holds the hydroponic pods.

Senior mechanical engineering technology major and Hydro Grow Chief Executive Officer Scott Massey says "we want to eliminate consumers' dependence on grocery stores by providing them an aesthetically-appealing appliance that grows enough organic produce to meet their needs. It's hard to pick a market for this. There's the food industry, the hydroponics industry, the electronics industry; it's a diverse area that crosses a lot of different markets."

The Viratect team came in second place for its disease diagnostics platform used at the point of care that can also be used to predict disease outbreaks throughout the world. The Moisture Sensor Networked to Smartphones team was third. Its smart phone app is designed to measure grain moisture for farmers in developing countries.

The competition is sponsored by Mishawaka-based Schurz Communications Inc. It is organized by Purdue Foundry.

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