How U-M Entrepreneurship Graduates Are Developing Life-Saving Businesses

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When the most recent graduates of the U-M Master of Entrepreneurship program walked across the commencement stage last week, it wasn’t just a world-class entrepreneurship education they were carrying with them.

It was also the belief that business can make a positive difference in the world.

And here’s how a few of those graduates are hoping their new ventures can help save lives:

By developing undershirts that do more than catch sweat

Kabir Maiga, MsE ‘14, is working on MyoAlert, an entry into the quickly developing wearable tech space that looks to combat deaths from heart attacks.

MyoAlert seamlessly weaves ten electrodes into an undershirt that looks and feels normal, but has the potential to save lives by wirelessly communicating electrical signals from the heart to a companion smartphone app.

According to Maiga, heart-attack victims often delay seeking treatment for two to 12 hours because they do not recognize the symptoms. The thinking is that a standard undershirt that sends alerts to your smartphone about potential life-threatening changes to your heart rhythms could help victims identify the problem and help stop at least a portion of the 600,000 heart-attack-related deaths in the US each year.  

By upping the cool factor of wearing a helmet

Zach Hwang, Chun-Wei Hsu, and Andrew Muyanja, MsE ‘14, are working together on FrostGear, a company focused on making motorcycle helmets and other safety gear more attractive for riders during hot and humid weather.

FrostGear’s device uses a proprietary active cooling technology that retrofits into motorcycle helmets to provide riders with some much-needed air conditioning, a reduced risk of heat exhaustion and stroke, and a reason to actually wear a life-saving helmet when it’s uncomfortably warm outside. 

By heating up competition in the battery industry

Dan VanderLey, John Hennessy, and Long Qian, MsE’14, of Elgus Technologies were recently named the Entrepreneurs of the Year by the U-M Center for Entrepreneurship. That’s no small feat itself, unless you consider that their battery separator membrane could someday be inside every smartphone, jet plane, and electric vehicle in the country.

Their membrane, which keeps battery electrodes from touching and short circuiting, is thinner, is less expensive, and can withstand more heat than other separators on the market. Which means it can extend your iPhone’s battery life and has a strong chance of decreasing the number of battery fires at 36,000 feet.

Read more about the work of all three of these teams in Master of Entrepreneurship helps students avoid start-up blunders.
Learn more about our Master of Entrepreneurship program.