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ASU students to earn awards for innovations that can change the world

March 01, 2013

Arizona State University students with a passion for invention will share in prizes, including a $10,000 award, during the Innovation Challenge Awards Ceremony on March 4, for creative projects that make a difference in local and global communities.

The event features keynote speaker Jane Chen, co-founder and CEO of Embrace, a social enterprise that aims to help the 20 million premature and low birth-weight babies born every year through a low-cost infant warmer. Chen is also a TED fellow.

“It’s a pleasure to welcome a role model like Jane Chen to an event that showcases the fantastic work that ASU students are accomplishing that make a real difference in the world,” said Michelle Lyons-Mayer, assistant director, Memorial Union, Changemaker Central. Program sponsors of the event are Perkins Coie, DPR Construction, John Dorsey and Tallwave. The event sponsor is the ASU Edson Student Entrepreneurship Initiative.

The ASU Innovation Challenge provides an opportunity for students from across the university to create products and services that address some of the greatest challenges facing the world today. Twenty finalist teams were announced at the ASU Start-Up Summit in January.

Among the finalists and their start-up projects are:

Reactive Mobile Head-Impact Application is working on a product that will be used to determine the severity levels of impacts on the field. The application consists of impact-detecting sensors that fit inside a football helmet, and computer software that automatically collects and stores impact data, and sends real-time alerts to key medical personnel via their cell phone or other wireless device when a player suffers a strong head impact. is a virtual marketplace of care resources designed to connect people looking for work as in-home care product and service providers with aging individuals and people with disabilities who are searching for them. The search function sorts by criteria such as pay rate, availability, experience, certifications, age and previous employer rating.

SunSelect shading is a low-cost, energy-saving product built to reduce the energy used and costs associated with air-conditioning. Beyond reducing energy consumption and indoor cooling costs, SunSelect can be employed to shield outdoor areas and transform those into comfortable microclimate spaces. SunSelect is also working on expanding their product line to include window coverings, awnings, and different variations on the ramada, offering solutions that reduce energy usage without sacrificing comfort or requiring large up-front payments.

Boogüd founder Derrick Loud took his passion for medical devices and used it to benefit people in developing countries by designing a mobility device, known as an Attachable Hand-Cycle, to benefit people confined to wheelchairs in Africa. Boogüd is a company that manufactures and sells bamboo bikes in Phoenix. For every bamboo bike sold, locals in Kenya, Africa manufacture a mobility device and donate it to a Kenyan confined to a wheelchair.

33 Buckets - Using the latest technology, 33 Buckets is developing a distribution platform for potable water in rural communities Bangladesh. The organization aims to change the way water projects are implemented and scaled by using schools as a backbone for water distribution.

BetR-block LLC (“better block”), is a start-up green company manufacturing sustainable, low-cost building materials made from recycled paper and other materials.  The company has designed and built low-cost, energy efficient equipment to pulp, mix and press recycled paper, cardboard, straw, palm fronds and other regionally-available plant material into affordable construction blocks. These blocks have a number of favorable properties including high R-value.

At stake in the competition is prize money that includes a $10,000 grand prize supported by Perkins Coie. The grand-prize winning team will also receive a Tallwave Labs Course, a 12-week business validation course that provides new entrepreneurs with an interactive education and mentorship program to accelerate their company. Prizes are used to advance the students’ innovations endeavors.

What: Spring Lecture and Innovation Challenge Awards Ceremony
When: 5 p.m., March 4,  reception, 5:30 to 7 p.m. program
Where: AE England Building, Downtown Phoenix campus