The Cade Museum for Creativity & Invention awarded SPKL, LLC of Tampa with $34,000 on Thursday for winning the 12th annual Cade Prize with its new rbSEE blood flow monitor.
Out of a field of 21 entries, Atlanta-based EcoaTEX won second place and $13,000 for a sustainable, nanoparticle textile dyeing process that will save considerable amounts of water.
Two Gainesville companies took third and fourth place. Aurita won $8,000 for a three-dimensional tool designed to help fight cancer and Versatile Sensor Technology received $5,000 for a rapid COVID-19 test that can detect the virus in saliva.
Versatile Sensor Technology also won the People’s Choice Award, netting an additional $1,000.
The fifth place, $3,000 award went to ResonanceDX, Inc., for a rapid test to diagnose and treat septic shock.
First place winners Ashwin Parthasarathy and Karthik Sriram recently formed SPKL, LLC through a connection at USF, where Parthasarathy works as an assistant professor and Sriram earned his master’s degree in biomedical engineering in 2007.
But the two men actually meet in Chennai, India, where they grew up as childhood friends before following different paths to USF. Now, they’re working together on the startup SPKL, LLC.
Their blood flow monitor is a non-invasive, wearable device that continuously measures blood flow, filling a gap in current medical technology.
“I’d like to think we can make it so common that everyone has a blood flow device,” Parthasarathy said in a USF article. “We’d like to make it as common as a thermometer.”
The Cade contest focused on research in the Southeast that addressed the categories of Agriculture/Environmental, Healthcare/Biomedical, IT/Technology, Energy and a wild card.
In total the museum gave away $64,000 to five different companies, and this is the second year the contest has included entries from Georgia and Alabama.
“Funding and recognition from winning the prize is a catalyst for nascent companies,” Richard Miles, committee chair for the Cade Prize, said in a press release. “It will be exciting to see how this year’s life-changing inventions will make a difference when they come to fruition years from now.”
The museum hopes to keep opening the contest to more states in the Southeast.
The Cade Museum Foundation started in 2004 by Dr. Robert Cade, the lead inventor of Gatorade, and his family to build the Cade Museum for Creativity & Invention in Gainesville.