A wireless console that interprets your car’s check-engine lights and a color-coded technology that indicates wear and tear on industrial belts are the top-winning big ideas in the fourth annual Ideas Challenge. In the challenge, hosted in May by the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship, 10 student teams from across campus took away $13,000 in start-up cash that could help make their products and processes a reality.

Senior engineering technology majors Matthew Johnston, Kurt Richardson, Jud Chilton and Cody Thurston took first place—and $3,000—for their Expandable Vehicle Information System. EVIS is a Bluetooth-enabled dashboard console that can interpret your auto’s malfunctions and give steps to correct them as well sound alerts from rear bumper sensors.

Users of industrial belts in medical equipment, automobiles and petroleum fields usually have to halt work and measure the tension on a given belt to be sure their machines are running smoothly. The team of senior industrial distribution majors Adam Krazer and Kevin Wood took the second place prize of $2,000 with their idea to show strain in industrial belts through a color-changing top layer of the belt.

More than 170 students in 40 teams competed in the challenge, greeting panels of mock investors and industry experts with five-minute “elevator pitches” detailing their ideas and the potential commercial viability of their plans. Students were coached with entrepreneurial mentors in four workshops and drill sessions prior to the May 3 event.

Lynntech underwrote the Ideas Challenge, with some prize money and T-shirts sponsored by Paragon Innovations and PKF Texas.

Each of the remaining top 10 teams earned $1,000. For more on those winners, visithttp://www.tamu.edu/tamunews/News/stories/06/050906news-2.html.