Prototype Fund Winners Announced

March 12, 2012 — Boston, MA

Two students and one alumnus are one step closer to seeing their vision become a reality.  Tom Olsen, a 2011 graduate of the College of Engineering; Preston Turk, a freshman business major; and Robert Hertig, a senior engineering major; have been chosen to receive Prototype Fund grants to help bring their ideas to life.

The Prototype Fund is administered jointly by the Center for Research Innovation, IDEA: Northeastern’s Venture Accelerator and the Entrepreneurs Club, and helps defray the costs of producing prototypes for their ideas. “We were all very impressed with the caliber of applications we received for our inaugural Prototype Fund awards,” said Tracey Dodenhoff, Director of the CRI. “These three individuals are introducing very real and timely solutions with great market potential.”

Robert Hertig, along with team members Ben Carter and Peter Maltzan, have watched the interest and popularity of vinyl records soar over the past several years, but have been disappointed by the lack of low-cost, high quality record players.  Their solution: the Orbit, a vinyl record player that speaks to the audiophile looking for that warm vinyl sound in a stylish and affordable player.  Hertig was awarded $2,498 to produce 5 alpha prototypes that will help his team evaluate the design and bring them closer to a production-ready.

Tom Olsen is no stranger to the CRI — he already has a provisional patent on his technology for a non-rotating wind energy generator (NRWEG), and now he has a $2,500 Prototype Fund grant to help build it.  Currently, the most common method of generating electricity from wind energy involves rotating wind turbines, but Olsen’s design is more compact, portable, less visually obtrusive and easier to maintain.

Preston Turk, a photography enthusiast, has long been battling the problem of carrying multiple lenses and switching them during shooting.  His idea ditches the old bulky camera bag in favor of a wearable product that uses two lens mounts to accessibly hold lenses while protecting their delicate surfaces.  Turk was awarded $700 to help build a prototype for the accessory.

The three winners will receive their awards at the Entrepreneurs Club meeting on Tuesday, March 20, at 6 p.m. in 150 Dodge Hall.

Applications for the next round of Prototype Fund grants are currently being accepted and are due on or before March 31, 2012.  To apply or for more information, visit the Prototype Fund‘s website.


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