Winners of the 2018 IDEA Hub Pitch for Social and Creative Enterprise

IDEA Hub, under the aegis of CIED, sponsored the 2nd annual Pitch for Social and Creative Enterprise, again prior to the June Santa Cruz New Tech Meetup.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018
4:00 to 6:00 p.m.
Sun Terrace of the Seaside Company’s Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

Twelve creatively artistic and/or socially beneficial student business projects competed for $6000 in prize money:


First place, $3000


Team members: Randall Hill, Daniel Lopez, Denzel Mapp, Perla Plascencia, Jennifer Sowash
Glasses device that detects above-waist objects for the blind and visually impaired.

A consistent challenge that many blind and low vision individuals face is avoiding obstacles while traveling, especially in unfamiliar places. In a study of 300 blind and low vision participants, 41 percent reported head-level collisions at least once a month. These collisions can cause physical harm and emotional distress, which results in lowered confidence when traveling and reduces the frequency at which they leave their homes. While tools like the white cane or guide dog are popular within the blind community, they are only partial solutions. These tools have a significant range limitation that prevents users from being able to detect objects higher than their waists. To compensate for these field of range limitations, a practical solution is to create a head-level obstacle detection system encased in a pair of glasses. This provides an additional area of detection coverage that tools like the white cane or guide dog fail to take into account. The glasses, combined with the white cane or guide dog, extend the users range of detection head-to-toe. The product will alert users of any potentially dangerous object that resides within its detectable range of 6 feet.

Second place, $2000
Team members: Sheryl Ratnam
Food-ordering app for healthy, home-cooked meals

Third place, $1000
Team members: Tyler Shewbert, Justin Yau, Evan Zaro
Eddy current separators for efficient non-magnetic metal sorting for recycling

Honorable Mention, $500
Team members: Steffen Mahnke, Elliot Eckholm, Dana Licata
Crypto-currency investment management application

The four judges were:

The other student-led projects in the competition were:

Steffen Mahnke, Elliot Eckholm, Dana Licata
Crypto-currency management

Engineers Without Borders, UCSC
Toby Gay, Jamal Kamli, Rohan Kumar, Josh Land, Denice Leffew, José Ramos
Solar-powered home-lighting systems

Reem Aldayafleh, Luz Lule Camargo, Luke Chang, Michael Nygaard
Natural-gas-meter monitoring system

Let's Get Social
Parul Wadhwa
Affordable virtual-reality storytelling platform for non-profits

Qingyu Han (team leader), Stefan Berchtold, Randall Blankenship, Kobe Dong, Sterling Dreyer, Tyler Eaves, Sage Emerson, Dena Giovinazzo, Veronica Hovanessian, Rogelio Juarez, Natalie King, Daniel Lloyd, Giovanni Magana, Kevin Mai, Andrew Matthews, Sarah Mitchell, Sofia Pando, Calvin Ryan, Kelly Tu, Ryan van den Vlekkert, Azikiwe Wicker
Launching miniature satellites into low-earth orbit for communications use by amateur radio operators around the world

Smart Solar Siting
Andrew Guterres, Henry Hargreaves, Mattheo Ioannou, Sam Singh, Chris Smith, Nicki Thompson
Automated solar installation site evalution on a smart phone

Qingyu Han, Natalie King, Sarah Mitchell, Alec Reid, Kerry Veenstra, Chris Villalpando, Azikiwe Wicker
reliable, solar-powered emergency radio stations

Te Miti Sportswear
Grace Reed, K'Love Mercader
Sustainably produced, biodegradable bikinis and sportswear for watersports

WaterLab 2.0
Matthew Cavallero, Jeffrey Chen, Daxing Deng, Kenneth Jones, Derek Quiroz
Self-contained and autonomous advanced water treatment system