Football players use a variety of methods to extend the “tack” or stickiness of their gloves, which typically wears down after only a few days’ use. So far, these methods have proved ineffective in restoring gloves to peak performance. Researchers from Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, including Professor Srinivasa Raghavan, Ph.D. candidates Kevin Diehn and Chanda Arya, and undergraduate student Karl Engel, teamed up with former tight end for the UMD football team Matthew Furstenberg to develop a special material that would effectively extend the durability of gloves. Their invention, GripBoost, is a quick-drying polymer-based gel, similar in consistency to hand sanitizer, that is biodegradable and non-toxic, leaves no residue after a catch, and meets league requirements. GripBoost has already received positive feedback from UMD’s football team for restoring gloves to peak performance after application.
“This invention is a testament to the creativity of the students. They have jumped through many hurdles to get to this point,” says Professor Raghavan. He also notes the important role that entrepreneurship played in this project through Matt Furstenburg, who garnered the support of the Dingman Center for Entrepeneurship to start off the research. One of the Ph.D. students involved in the project, Chanda Arya, echoes Professor Raghavan’s sentiments regarding the strong support system that the researchers relied on during their work, "In my opinion, this invention was really made possible due to the outstanding support for Entrepreneurship from the University, especially Dr. Raghavan, who gave us the necessary freedom and guidance to apply our chemical engineering background to a really cool problem."
In 2013, the Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC) received 154 invention disclosures from the university renowned faculty. Ten of these inventions were selected as finalists for the Invention of the Year Awards, based on their impact on science, society, and market potential. Winners will be announced on April 29, 2014 at the Celebration of Innovation and Partnerships event.
About OTC: The University of Maryland created OTC in 1986 to provide expert guidance, support, and assistance in safeguarding intellectual property, encouraging research, facilitating technological transfer, and promoting collaborative research and development agreements with industrial sponsors. Visit their website for more information.
April 4, 2014