Invent-Off Participants

Team Orange

Mike Senese - Captain

Hometown - San Francisco, CA
Occupation - Executive Editor for Make Magazine
Expertise - Fabricating, Electronic Prototyping, Coding, Design

Mike Senese. Fabricator, coder, designer.
As the executive editor for Make Magazine, Mike is a self-described jack-of-all-trades when it comes to making.


His passion for invention manifested at a young age and inspired him to study computer science in college. He quickly found that the curriculum didn’t match his curiosity. He left to pursue invention guided by his creativity and imagination. And that has lead him to where he is today.


“I’ve never been taught the constraints so I don’t know they exist.”


In addition to his work at Make Magazine Mike hosts Science Channel’s engineering show Catch It Keep It with Zach Selwyn and also runs the DIY project blog DOIT. In the past, he co-hosted Fuse television's Rock and Roll Acid Test, and has appeared in various episodes of Discovery Channel’s How Stuff Works, as well as Spike’s 1000 Ways to Die.


A master of DIY and creativity-first invention Mike is sure to lead his team to find a unique and exciting approach to the challenge.

Claire Griffin


Current Title
Mechanical Engineer who just graduated from Stevens Institute of Technology

Tech Cred
Teaching assistant, competition drone builder, creator of no less than 5 robots – Claire clearly went above and beyond her course work at Stevens Institute of Technology. She was also a part of a team that built an energy efficient solar home as a part of the Solar Decathlon – a biannual, global competition hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Trey German


Current Title:
Founder of Polymorphic Labs

Tech Cred
What do you do if you have 10+ years of computer engineering experience at a major tech company? Well, if you’re Trey, you quit your job and start your own business. His new company, Polymorphic Labs, is developing a Bluetooth motion sensor the size of a quarter that can be used for just about everything. His goal is to create DIY electronic contraptions that improve daily life.

Team Blue

Ian Ingram - Captain

Hometown - Los Angeles, CA
Occupation - Artist, Technologist & College Professor
Expertise - Robotics, Art, Digital Design & Fabrication


Ian Ingram. Roboticist, technologist, artist. With master’s degrees from MIT and Carnegie Mellon in science and fine art, Ian is an uncommon entity in the world of tech.


Ian’s passion is to integrate with the environment around him. He builds mechatronic and robotic systems that borrow facets from animal morphology and behavior, from the shapes and movements of machines and from our stories about animals. These systems often are intended to cohabitate and interact with animals in the wild.


“I’m particularly interested in what really defines a robot. What it means to be a robot versus just a machine.”


Ian’s artwork and his inventions have been exhibited internationally, including at the Andy Warhol Museum; the Museum of Modern Art of Toluca, Mexico; Art Chicago; the Yada Gallery in Nagoya, Japan; Popular Science Magazine; with a recent solo show at Nikolaj Kunsthal in Copenhagen.


The intellectual, artist and fabricator – there’s no telling what Ian’s team will come up with but whatever direction they go you can rest assured it’s going to stand out.

Mike Ogrinz


Current Title
Maker, Author, Developer

Tech Cred
Not all of us have day jobs as a Senior VP of a major worldwide corporation. And even fewer do all that while being a major part of the maker movement like Mike Ogrinz. While working his way through the corporate ranks Mike has designed, coded, built and facilitated in every realm of the maker community. In 2008 Mike wrote “Mashup Patterns: Designs and Examples for the Modern Enterprise.” And today he is a co-organizer and maker at the annual Westport Mini Maker Faire, Connecticut's oldest and largest event focused on innovation and STEAM.

Hannah Sarver


Current Title
Master’s Degree, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science - Robotics and Embedded Systems

Tech Cred
Hannah is a software engineer who’s very passionate about what she does. She’s a coder who loves to build cool things, but also believes she can inspire other people to try out engineering. Hannah teaches kids about circuits and currently studies at UC Berkeley for a Masters Degree.


Saura Naderi

Hometown - San Diego, CA
Occupation - Qualcomm Thinkabit Lab Engineer, Career Development Specialist at Qualcomm
Expertise - Fabricating, Design, Educator, Artist.

Saura Naderi has made it her job to show how fun inventing is - she is the lead engineering instructor and designer of the Qualcomm Thinkabit Lab. The Thinkabit lab provides a hands-on approach to teaching kids coding and engineering. She works closely with local education and community organizations to develop programming with the ability to engage, entertain and educate middle schoolers.

Prior to joining Qualcomm Saura worked at UCSD where she developed the myLab program to inspire passion in engineering for kids of all ages. Saura finds unique ways to unlock kids’ creativity and inspire them to learn how to turn their ideas into inventions. One example is the “Robotic Hats Project” where her students used Arduino microcontrollers to create robotic hats with the ability to move, illuminate and activate.

Saura’s achievements include being a speaker at TED San Diego and receiving the Athena Pinnacle Award for Education.

As a judge Saura will represent both Qualcomm and the inventor’s perspectives as she reviews the capabilities and potential of the inventions.

Jason Silva

Hometown - Los Angeles, CA | New York, NY
Occupation – Host of “Brain Games” and Host and Creator of “Shots of Awe”
Expertise – Futurist, Filmmaker, Philosopher, TV personality

What does that mean to be a self-professed wonder junkie and a futurist? To Jason Silva, it means he’s dedicated his life to exploring and celebrating technology and innovation in all its forms.

In addition to creating his own web series “Shots of Awe” which explores topics like creativity, innovation, metaphysics and futurism Jason is the host of the Emmy-nominated series Brain Games, which airs on the National Geographic Channel. He also created a web series called “Future of Us” for AOL which explores exponential technology and its connection to the future of humanity.

Jason has also been featured as a speaker at TEDGlobal, and Google’s Zeitgeist Conference.

As a judge Jason, whom the Atlantic has described as “a Timothy Leary of the Viral Video Age,” will bring a philosopher’s perspective to examine how the inventions might impact the future.

Cheryl Heller

Hometown – Pittsburg, PA
Occupation - Chair of the MFA program in Design for Social Innovation at the School of Visual Arts in New York and Founder of CommonWise, a social innovation design lab that launches and scales ethical enterprises.
Expertise – Social Impact Design and Strategy

Designer, business strategist and advisor - Cheryl Heller has a long and prolific career that has led her to specialize in the idea of innovation for good.

She’s the Founder of the design lab CommonWise, which brings together designers from different specialties to co-create new ideas and bring them to life. She also created and serves as the Program Chair for the “Design for Social Innovation” MFA program at SVA.

“I believe that the act of creation, and real innovation, are beyond labels, and can take place anywhere people take the time to understand the context of a challenge, and are willing to think about things in a new way.”
— Cheryl Heller, in Smithsonian Magazine, 2007

Cheryl is the former Board Chair and current Advisor to PopTech, a Senior Fellow at the Babson Social Innovation Lab, and the Lewis Institute, on the Innovation Advisory Board for the Lumina Foundation, and serves as an advisor to DataKind. She has also written for many publications on the subject of social innovation design and creativity. She created the Ideas that Matter program for Sappi in 1999, which has since given over $12 million to designers working for the public good. She also advised Paul Polak and the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum on the exhibit, “Design for the Other 90%.”

As a Judge Cheryl will apply her extensive knowledge of design and innovation to help determine the social impact and humanitarian potential of the inventions.