October 17-18, 2014

California NanoSystems Institute, Los Angeles

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A 24-hour competition to solve unmet medical needs.

The Inventathon is a 24-hour competition to create and pitch the best solution to a healthcare problem. It can be a mobile app, an embedded device, or a conceptual drawing. You can use whatever tools you want, and we will have mentors from during the competition to offer feedback. Open to all. No experience necessary.

Erik Reinertsen Opening Talk

2014 Needs List and Resources



Winners will receive prizes and opportunities to keep developing their solution. All prototyping must be performed for the 24 hours of the event (However, you can, and are encouraged to think of ideas and practice with the tools you'll be using beforehand). Teams must have 3 to 5 members. It's a good idea to choose team members with complementary skills.

See highlights from last year's event:

Tentative Schedule

Wednesday, October 15th

Tamkin Auditorium, B-level, Ronald Reagan Medical Center (Map)

5 pm | Kickoff event
6 pm | Mixer

Friday, October 17th

California NanoSystems Institute, UCLA (Map)

4 pm | Registration and Team Formation
5 pm | Welcome + Opening remarks
9 pm | Dinner

Saturday, October 18th

California NanoSystems Institute, UCLA (Map)

12 am | Team Update! Raffle + Midnight Snack
9 am | Breakfast Talk
12-2 pm | Lunch and Pitch Coaching
4 pm | Final Round Presentations (Open to Public)
6 pm | Reception + Awards (Open to Public)


I'm a science undergrad / grad / postdoc or medical student, how can I contribute?

A large component of the competition is thinking of a creative solution to a medical problem, and crafting a convincing pitch. Put your research skills to use!

I'm not affiliated with UCLA. Can I still participate or just come to see the final pitches? Can I observe the event even if I don't participate?

Participation in the main event is open to all who register. The final pitches are open to the public and will be held in the CNSI Auditorium. Sign up here!

What do I need to bring?

You should bring a laptop or any materials or prototyping tools you feel you need. Soldering irons and drones are prohibited. We will have WiFi, plug points, and food/drinks provided to all teams.

I don't know how to code!?

Don't worry! There is no experience necessary. You can join a team with those skills, or just represent your prototype in a different method (technical drawings, powerpoint, concept art). We will also have people on hand to show you how to use the Arduinos that we will provide. A large component of the Inventathon is thinking of a creative solution to a medical need, learning on the fly, and doing research.

What tools and resources will we have available to us?

We will have Arduinos, Epson Moverios, Makey Makeys, and a number of other hardware and sensors on hand for checkout during the competition. Checkout of hardware will be on an as-needed basis, and will only available for fully-formed teams.

What if I invent something cool that I want keep working on?

We want that to happen! There are a number of courses, resources, and opportunities available that we will announce shortly. Be aware that this event and the final pitches may be considered public disclosures. Sharing your idea with others is essential to validating it and gaining support, and this is a great time to learn how to do so without giving away your "secret sauce".

I want to volunteer!

Please drop a note to Sam at samanthale1001@gmail.com that you're interested and she'll be in touch. Volunteers are needed from on October 15, 17, and 18.

Will I need to create a team beforehand?

No! We will have a team formation period at the beginning of the event. You can show up by yourself, with a partial, or full team, ready to invent!

I don't have any ideas or I have this great solution for this medical need, but it isn't listed as a topic!

We would love to talk to you after the event to help make your idea a reality. However, for the event, we will provide a list of topics that teams must choose from. Entries that are not responsive to one of the topics will be disqualified!

I'm not sure if I can attend or not. Can I still register?

Yes, you can register, but be aware that if you do not show up during registration, your spot will be given away to others on the standby list. If you have any circumstances that prevent you from coming to registration (class conflict, club meeting, etc.), please email inventathon@uclaideas.com.

Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event?

No. We will have a registration list at the door, but be sure to pre-register to ensure a spot! We will use the registration and standby lists until capacity is met, so show up early!

I need my sleep. What happens if I sleep or nap during the event?

You will likely feel refreshed, and ready to get back to hacking / inventing. However, since you only have 24 hours, it's probably not a good idea to sleep during the whole event. We will provide caffeine, water, and snacks throughout the night!


Daily parking permits are available at UCLA in Lots 2 and 8 (map). Please note that you will have to pay for both days.

What if I have to leave partway through the Inventathon?

If you have to leave for bit or want to sleep in your own bed, that's fine! However, your entire team must be present during the check-in and pitches / judging to qualify for the competition. To qualify for the raffle, you must be present during the raffle announcement at midnight. Contact us beforehand if you have a conflict.

Where can I contact the organizer with any questions?

Please e-mail any questions about the Inventathon to inventathon@uclaideas.com.


Brought to you by:

Co-organized by:

This event is made possible by the following sponsors, supporters, and collaborators:

Photography provided by:

This project is supported by NIH/NCATS CTSI Grant # UL1TR000124.

About Us

For general questions and sponsorship inquiries, e-mail us at inventathon@uclaideas.com

Logistics and Coordination:

Shyam Natarajan
Samantha Le
Mariana Fontes
Martina DeSalvo
Sean Young
Claire Alvarenga
Roy Doumani


Alex Baklajian
Jeffrey Hsaio


Jemima Escamilla
Christina Vorvis
Ruyi Huang
Aleidy Silva
Amit Mulgaonkar