What is Idea To Prototype?

The Idea to Prototype (I2P) program, part of CREATE-X, offers undergraduate research course credit for you and your teammates to advance your ideas for a potential value creating product by performing basic research, analysis, building, and testing — leading to a proof of concept prototype. Think of it like undergraduate research — a deep dive on a problem for one to two semesters with a mentor. Grants for materials and supplies only are available. Faculty mentors are available if you don't have one. Open to all majors and interdisciplinary teams encouraged to apply.

Why should I apply to I2P?

Besides course credit and financial support, you will be well positioned to take the next step in your invention and entrepreneurship endeavors, such as competing in the InVenture Prize, taking the Capstone Design course with your idea to refine it further, or applying for Startup Launch.

What information is needed to apply?

Your team name, members, goals, progress, budget, mentor status, and why you want to do this! Gather this information before applying.

What are the expectations, deadlines, and deliverables?

You will set your goals and timeline for the semester, in partnership with your mentor, and work towards them. These goals typically involve the steps towards creating a physical prototype of your idea/invention.

What is the ideal number of teammates?

Anywhere between two to five people. Five is the maximum number allowed.

What majors and years can participate?

All current undergraduate students at Georgia Tech can participate in the program.

What is the selection criteria for teams into the I2P program?

Teams will be selected based on passion, innovation, marketability, and potential of producing a successful prototype.

Can a graduate student compete either individually or as part of a team with undergraduates?

Yes. Graduate students can participate in the course with a small variation. They will not earn credit or a grade as undergraduates do. Instead you will receive (and should put on your resume) a CREATE-X Idea to Prototype grant, which is the $500 materials and supplies grant. Please indicate graduate student status on your application. 

How many class credit hours will I receive?

Three credit hours, through the UROP courses in your school or department (i.e., 2699, 4699). Spots are offered by permit and the course can be taken up to two times (for six total credit hours).

Can I get reimbursed for my invention expenses?

Yes, as long as at least one member of your team is registered for the course and your team is represented at the mid-semester mingle and end-of-semester showcase, you can be reimbursed.

How much actual time should a student expect to put into this per week? 

As much as any undergraduate research project — at least eight hours/week. Hopefully, you will be more motivated since you will be working on your own idea!

What days/times is the course offered?

There is no set schedule. You will arrange your own meetings with teammates and mentor.

Will the course credit hours for I2P count towards my degree?

Probably. For engineering students, you may count up to six hours of undergraduate research credit towards completing your degree. Other students should check with their academic advisors.

Can OMSCS students participate in I2P?

Yes, up to 10% of I2P slots are reserved for online graduate students. Please apply and indicate on the application your degree program.

Can computer science majors earn junior design credit for taking I2P? 

Yes. Details can be found here. 

How do I find a faculty mentor?

Reach out to some of your professors and other faculty you know. You may easily find one! We suggest you send them an email to ensure they meet these criteria:

  • Can they work with your team 30 minutes per week?
  • Will they be able to suggest grades for your team at the end of the semester?
  • Do they care about you, your team, and your project?

These are the basic expectations of a mentor.

Can I have multiple mentors?

Yes, however, a group should have one primary mentor that can complete the previously mentioned expectations.

Do I have to wait until I register to work on my invention?

No, start working early and often!

Can I enter with multiple inventions?

No. Only one invention per student is allowed, regardless of team or individual status.

If I am a co-inventor with others who are not current Georgia Tech undergraduates, can I still compete with the invention?

Yes, if you fully disclose the contributions by all individuals during registration.

Are any inventions I come up with mine or do they belong to Georgia Tech?

Participation in I2P does not require students to assign their intellectual property rights to the Georgia Tech Research Corporation (GTRC). Provided that conception and/or reduction to practice of the invention did not result from work performed under a sponsored research agreement, significant use of Georgia Tech resources, or duties assigned to you as an employee of the Institute, your submission should be deemed as an Individual Effort under the Institute's Intellectual Property Policy.

It is also important for you to be mindful of intellectual property rights of any former or current employer if you conceived and/or reduced to practice your invention while an intern, co-op, or employee of a company.

Should you have any questions regarding any potential rights of GTRC and/or your employer, you are strongly encouraged to contact us prior to submitting your invention to the I2P program.

If I received substantial input from a professor or another Georgia Tech employee, can I participate in I2P?

The I2P organizers, Georgia Tech, and the GTRC want to ensure that the intellectual property rights of others are respected and the contributions of all inventors are recognized. Input from others, however, does not necessarily constitute an inventive contribution.

When you register, please indicate in the Intellectual Property section any professor, Georgia Tech researcher, other employee or anyone else who has contributed to your idea and explain their involvement. Those individuals may be notified of your submission.

Further, if you or a Georgia Tech employee with whom you are collaborating believe that an inventive contribution was made by the employee to your submission, a record of invention should be submitted to GTRC for review under the Institute's Intellectual Property Policy. The submission will be reviewed and, if appropriate, GTRC will favorably entertain a request to release the technology to the inventors. Upon request, and when deemed appropriate, GTRC may request outside patent counsel to assist in a determination of inventorship.

I came up with an idea while employed as a co-op/intern. Can I submit this invention?

Maybe. The employment agreement that you have with the company, if any, will dictate the disposition of any intellectual property related to your employment. Should you have any questions regarding ownership of your invention, you are strongly encouraged to contact us prior to submitting your application.

I have used some Georgia Tech resources in developing my invention. Can I participate?

Yes. Please indicate what resources were utilized so that the disposition of the intellectual property can be determined. Should you have any questions regarding the use of Georgia Tech's resources, you are strongly encouraged to contact us prior to submitting your application.

Our invention was developed as part of a project class. How does this affect our ability to participate?

This should not affect your ability to participate in I2P. Please indicate which class your idea resulted from during registration and the name of the course professor. The I2P organizers may verify the disposition of the submitted intellectual property with the Georgia Tech Research Corporation.

What if I find a number of patents and similar products while searching my idea?

It's normal rather than unusual to find patents disclosing ideas that may be similar or at least sound similar to yours. Do not be discouraged by this. It means that you will need to differentiate what you have relative to what is already out there. This may not be as daunting as it may at first seem. Similar comments apply if you discover a similar existing product, web application, etc. There is always room for improvement!

Does it make sense for a student to take Startup Lab after I2P?

Our courses can be taken in any order. Startup Lab provides the basics of startups including creativity, teaming, startup metrics, pivoting, and customer discovery while I2P focuses on creating a prototype. If you would like to learn more about whether your prototype from I2P would make a great product for customers, we encourage you to take Startup Lab. 

Can I enroll in I2P and CREATE-X Capstone in the same semester to work on the same project with the same teammates for double credit?

No, these are separate programs and double dipping is not true to the spirit of the respective courses.

What deliverables are expected for the Mid-semester Mingle?

Students should prepare two to three slides and present for two minutes about their progress so far during the semester. What problem are you working on and what is your proposed solution and progress towards it? Photos/videos are especially helpful.

What deliverables are expected for the Showcase?

In an Expo format, each team will get a table and can use that space to show off their invention to visitors (e.g., friends, judges, faculty). Use the space in the best way you can think of: prototype demo/poster/laptop with monitor/other displays — its up to you! Dress as you would like to be perceived.

Can the funds provided for I2P be used for computers or fabrication equipment?

Funds can only be used for materials and supplies for prototyping. Funds cannot be used for the purchase of laptops, tablets, phones, desktop computers, 3D printers or any campus widely-available fabrication equipment. 

If there is any confusion or ambiguity about the appropriateness of purchases, please email Daniel Constable at dconstable6@gatech.edu for approval before purchase or we reserve the right to deny reimbursement.

Can the funds provided for I2P be used for marketing materials?

Reimbursements cannot be used for graphic design, logo creation, printing services for business cards or collateral, any artistic services or materials that are not directly associated with materials and supplies for prototyping, etc. 

If there is any confusion or ambiguity about the appropriateness of purchases, please email Daniel Constable at dconstable6@gatech.edu for approval before purchase or we reserve the right to deny reimbursement.

Can the funds provided for I2P be used for advertising?

Yes, up to $200.

If there is any confusion or ambiguity about the appropriateness of purchases, please email Daniel Constable at dconstable6@gatech.edu for approval before purchase or we reserve the right to deny reimbursement.

If research on my topic isn't going to plan, are we allowed to pivot and research something else?

Yes, up to about six weeks.

If I register today, am I able to drop the class before Friday, the end of phase II registration, with no penalty?

Yes, but don't worry about it. There are more important things in life.

Is there an option to defer my spot in I2P to a different semester without reapplying?

If you decline to participate this semester, you must reapply for the next semester and your application will be re-reviewed.

What is the difference between I2P and CREATE-X Capstone?

In Capstone you will be on a team of four to seven, all enrolled in the course, and take the idea from problem to solution in one semester. There are weekly meetings, lectures, reports, presentations and prototyping. It’s a lot of work but you will make a lot of progress on your invention and know for sure by the end of the semester whether you want to continue with the project.

I2P is much more driven by the student with their mentor, like undergraduate research. There is no set schedule and just informal weekly reporting and a few short presentations. I2P is more of an “independent study” course.