Newswise — Popular television personality Nate Ball of the PBS program Design Squad, will host the 2008 ASME Innovation Showcase (ASME IShow) to be held Oct. 31, in Boston.

An inventor and champion of engineering, Ball will join with ASME to celebrate technical ingenuity as reflected in the design innovations of the ten collegiate teams selected to participate in the ASME IShow competition. ASME IShow, now in its second year, provides a forum for students to present their innovative product designs to a panel of judges, while demonstrating the product's potential to impact commercial markets.

Ball, a mechanical engineering graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and co-founder of Atlas Devices, LLC, has been the energetic and engaging host of the award-winning Design Squad, produced by PBS station WGBH-Boston.

Design Squad, now in its second season, introduces teenage cast members and viewers at home to engineering-based design, testing, and problem-solving through fun and exciting challenges. For its debut season, Design Squad was recently awarded the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award, one of the highest honors in electronic media. As the Peabody Board noted, "Design Squad is a true delight " educational television in the best sense of the term. This series, directed at viewers ages 12 to 17, works because it recognizes and appreciates the intelligence of its intended audience."

"Nate Ball is a wonderful example of the non-traditional career path that an innovative engineer can take," said Elizabeth Kisenwether, assistant professor and director of the Engineering Entrepreneurship minor at Pennsylvania State University, and chair of the 2008 ASME IShow committee. "Nate is proof that you can combine creativity, engineering and passion to deliver a product that people need."

The ten contestants in the 2008 ASME IShow are Baylor University (a technology that develops particle board and other products from coconuts), Johns Hopkins University (a vestibular system for audiologists and other health providers), Johns Hopkins Institute (a gastroenterological device that eases abdominal surgery), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (a robot that aids in medical biopsies), Pennsylvania State University (a communications system that links doctors and other medical providers to people suffering illness in developing countries), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (mine detection device), University of California at Berkeley (solar water heater and arsenic remediation device), University of California at San Francisco (nanotechnology-based drug delivery system), and Virginia Military Institute (low-frequency seismic detector).

In the time leading up to the competition, the teams will be matched with entrepreneurs and mentors, who will assist the students in refining their products as well as developing a strategic business plan. Awards totaling $20,000 in seed funding will be presented to the top three teams during the 2008 ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition to be held Oct. 31-Nov. 6, at the Sheraton Boston Hotel.

"From the start, the ASME IShow has been expanding the boundaries on what a professional engineering society can do for engineering students and for the engineering profession," added Kisenwether. The ASME IShow was founded in collaboration with the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance and the Idea to Product competition at the University of Texas, Austin.

Founded in 1880 as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, ASME is a not-for-profit professional organization promoting the art, science and practice of mechanical and multidisciplinary engineering and allied sciences. ASME develops codes and standards that enhance public safety, and provides lifelong learning and technical exchange opportunities benefiting the global engineering and technology community.

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