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Twelve teams. One winner. It must be March Madnessof the Mind! The National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance will pit a dozen teams of young inventors against one another. Previous years’ Excellence and Entrepreneurship teams have brought improved crutches and mushroom-based insulation panels to market. This year’s teams break down along two rough lines: from-scratch inventions, like Johns Hopkins’ SurgyPack, which reduces pre-surgical bowel-packing time up to 50 percent, and those that repurpose existing inventions, like Caltech’s process for turning discarded mountain bikes into all-terrain wheelchairs in developing nations. They’ll all have to measure up to the InvenTeam from Clarksburg High School in MoCo, whose Torch Cord computer cables solve a problem few people have to visualize in the abstract—squeeze one and the whole thing lights up so you can see where it’s going. No more unplugging the whole computer by mistake when you only need to move your monitor!

THE CONTEST STARTS AT 1 P.M. AT THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AMERICAN HISTORY, 14TH ST. AND CONSTITUTION AVE. NW. FREE. (202) 633-1000.