With the goal of promoting new and innovative discoveries to solve challenges or needs, the McKelvey School of Engineering created the Discovery Competition in 2012.

This special opportunity provides engineering undergraduate students the forum to explore their entrepreneurial interests with support from mentors, to use their creativity to develop solutions for real-world problems and to compete for financial resources that could help turn their ideas into businesses.

Due to the current COVID-19 emergency, the Discovery Competition for Spring 2020 has been canceled.

  • The Discovery Competition is an annual experience for WashU undergraduate students.
  • The competition includes multiple rounds held during the fall and spring semesters.
  • At least $25,000 will be awarded to the winning team(s) each spring semester so the competition winner(s) can continue developing prototypes and ventures.
  • The competition is fully funded by alumni donors.
  • Students interact with mentors, advisers, judges and other students through several events.

Resources for current teams


2019 Teams


  • Nick Cornejo, student majoring in mechanical engineering with a minor in computer science

  • Michael Greer, student majoring in computer engineering with a minor in robotics

  • Jack Leshem, student majoring in computer science with a second major in finance

Flex.Ai is a cloud-based platform designed to improve the life of all physical therapy patients. With advanced computer vision algorithms using posture recognition, the Flex.Ai app tracks a patient in real time and gives them feedback throughout each exercise. Through the use of automated reminders and progress tracking, patients with Flex.Ai will recover quickly and properly.


  • Joe Beggs (CEO/ engineer), student majoring in biomedical engineering
  • Sai Dodda (clinical coordinator), student at St. Louis College of Pharmacy
  • Allie Frank (clinical coordinator), master's student in occupational therapy
  • Glen Kleinschmidt (engineer), BS/MS student in biomedical engineering
  • Chris Sleckman (engineer), BS/MS student in biomedical engineering

HIVE’s technology is a method to monitor intravenous medication compliance, specifically OPAT (outpatient parental antimicrobial therapy). The goal is to provide accurate, real-time data to physicians and insurance companies including but not limited to: when the patient takes their medication, how many times a day the patient takes their medication, and how long the patient takes their medication. The key aspect of its technology is that it will not require any additional steps by the user. OPAT costs about $300 per day, which is approximately 10 times cheaper than inpatient care. OPAT however, suffers from a 25% unplanned readmission rate overall, with 9% of the 25% being recorded as due to non-compliance. The group’s market will be the physicians and pharmacists who re-admit noncompliant patients, and those who spend time checking in on patients in an attempt to ensure their compliance.


  • Sam Margolis, student majoring in computer science
  • Anton Salem, student majoring in systems science & engineering
  • James Swingos, undergraduate student at Harvard University

MediBand focuses on medication compliance. The team is working to make medication management easy through a low-cost IOT bracelet that manages a patient’s prescriptions right on their wrist. Its technology serves individuals who are prescribed time-sensitive medication by integrating their medication into a consistent part of their daily lives. The team is seeking funding to build a low volume of bracelets (~50) that we will give to prospective users to further explore market needs.

Dose To Go

  • Thao Cao, student majoring in biomedical engineering
  • Noah Goldstein, student majoring in computer science
  • Christopher Sheffels, student majoring in mechanical engineering with a minor in materials science & engineering

Dose To Go is a smart vaccine patch designed to ensure accurate, localized, and pain-free vaccine delivery to be administered at home. This vaccine patch integrates a bioreactive base, which allows for temporal progress tracking, accurate drug delivery confirmation, and automatic linkage to user's online health record for convenient vaccine record.