ASU team to represent US in worldwide student technology competition

April 23, 2012

Four ASU students have won a place in the premiere international student technology competition by taking first place, April 23, in the U.S. Finals of the Microsoft Imagine Cup in Seattle.

Their team, named FlashFood, earned a trip to the Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals in Sydney, Australia in July. FlashFood Imagine Cup Winners Download Full Image

The students also earned $18,000 to support their venture to apply new technologies in developing and coordinating a real-time food-recovery and distribution system. It uses Web applications and smart phones to help local communities prevent food waste and deliver fresh food to people in need.

The first-place finish also brings a $10,000 donation to ASU.  

Team members are senior biomedical engineering major Eric Lehnhardt, senior materials science and engineering major Katelyn Keberle, senior computer science major Steven Hernandez and senior marketing and sustainability major Jake Ervin.

In Australia, they will compete against student teams from about 70 other countries.

Hundreds of student teams from around the county vied for spots in the Imagine Cup U.S. Finals. Ten teams, including FlashFood, were selected to compete in the Software Design category of the U.S. Finals. Twelve other  teams were finalists in the Game Design category.

It’s the second year in a row that an ASU student team won the Software Design category in the U.S. Finals. Team Note-Taker developed a portable custom-designed camera connected to a pen-and-multitouch Tablet PC that aids students with visual impairments in takes notes in classes.

Team Note-Taker then won second place in the category in the Worldwide Finals in New York City.

FlashFood’s effort has evolved from projects developed in the Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) program in ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering and the Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) program in ASU’s W. P. Carey School of Business.  EPICS director Richard Filley is FlashFood’s faculty adviser.

The team is forming a network of restaurants and banquet halls to donate leftover and surplus food to local community centers and churches for distribution to families and individuals.

The mobile-phone application will help manage the food pickup and distribution system. The app would be used for communications between the providers, collectors, distributors and recipients of the food.

The Imagine Cup competition challenges student to use technology in efforts to develop innovative solutions to some of the world’s biggest problems. The Imagine began in 2003 with about 1,000 students working with various teams. By last year, more than 358,000 students from 183 countries and regions around the world participated on teams trying to move through the stages of the competition.

Joe Kullman

Science writer, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering


ASU’s Venture Catalyst to offer workshops for entrepreneurs seeking grant funding

April 24, 2012

ASU Venture Catalyst will offer their second SBIR Phase 1 workshop of 2012, for grant applicants seeking Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funding, on April 24 and 25 at ASU SkySong. ASU’s workshops will offer education and information about SBIR grants as well as teaching structured SBIR grant writing methodology that has proven to be highly successful. Individualized sessions for proposal review and assistance from coaches and past SBIR grant recipients will also be available to workshop participants during day two.

“In this workshop, participants will receive guidance in researching government organizations and topics, financial and administrative requirements, and will explore some specific steps to attract commercialization partners,” says Jessica Groeneveld, program manager for ASU Venture Catalyst.  “Participants will learn the essential elements of their Phase I proposal outlines and will leave with a stronger understanding of next steps to take in developing their SBIR/STTR proposals.” Download Full Image

The Small Business Innovation Research program and Small Business Technology Transfer program provide funding for early-stage technology ventures that are still too high-risk to attract funding from private investors. Both programs are coordinated by the U.S. Small Business Administration. ASU’s Venture Catalyst conducts these SBIR workshops to provide research, writing and submission support for entrepreneurs and high-potential startups, as well as facilitating critical connections to corporations that can provide letters of support to applicants.  Phase 1 Workshops are open to ASU faculty, students and local companies. ASU also collaborates with the Arizona Small Business Development Center to provide workshops, writing support and business development for sustainable companies.

“Venture Catalyst provides phase 1 workshops because we see their value, and we have seen their success,” says Gordon McConnell, executive director of ASU Venture Catalyst. “Since 2008, ASU has had over 300 participants in our workshops, with 30 ASU-linked companies receiving SBIR grant awards totaling more than $2.2 million.  Our methods work for entrepreneurs and we invite startups to come check it out at this next workshop.”

There are still seats available for this week’s workshop.  For more information on ASU’s Phase 1 Workshops visit