Collegiate competition names hog invention as finalists


(This article has been revised to correct the competition location.)

NORTH CANTON, Ohio — The Collegiate Inventors Competition will be in Alexandria, Virginia, Nov. 3. This annual competition rewards innovations, discoveries and research by college and university students and their faculty advisors.

Among the finalists is a team with an invention to aid in pig farming, SwineTech. It was developed by University of Iowa team members; Matthew Rooda and Abraham Espinoza and their adviser, Thomas Hornbeck.


More than 116 million newborn piglets were accidentally crushed to death by their mothers on hog farms in 2016, resulting in billions of dollars lost.

The SmartGuard system monitors the pitch, loudness and duration of squeals and determines whether a piglet is in distress or just squealing as piglets normally do.

When a piglet is in distress, the device sends a vibration to a wearable patch on the mother, prompting her to stand and free her piglet.


This year’s finalists and their inventions provide a glimpse into the future of American innovation and emerging technological trends, from wearable power generation to water decontamination.

Finalists will travel to Alexandria, Virginia, to present their inventions to a panel of final-round judges composed of National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees and United States Patent and Trademark Office experts.

Finalists will showcase their inventions and interact with thousands of USPTO patent and trademark examiners, sponsors, media and the public at the Collegiate Inventors Competition Expo.

The Nov. 3 expo is free and begins at 11 a.m. in the USPTO Madison Building, Lower Atrium, with the awards ceremony immediately following at noon.


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