Meet the 2017 Big Ideas Winners!

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This year’s Rudd Family Foundation Big Ideas Contest launched in September 2017. In November, the Contest received a record number of pre-proposal applications from 326 student teams, representing over 1,000 students across 16 campuses. After a preliminary round and a final review, 44 teams were awarded prizes across nine different categories, with award amounts ranging from $2,000 to $10,000. Below is a summary of this year’s winners.



MigRadio Podcast (1st Place)
Team Members: Levi Bridges, Manjula Varghese, Marcos Martinez, Angelica Casas
School: UC Berkeley
Unauthorized migrants are now held in U.S. detention facilities in greater numbers than ever before. More than 40,000 people—a new record—are currently held by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Many unauthorized migrants report that they experienced human rights violations in prison ranging from severe overcrowding, inadequate healthcare and even sexual assault. President-elect Donald Trump has announced that he plans to deport 2-3 million undocumented immigrants, indicating that the increase in the incarceration of immigrants will likely continue. MigRadio, a new podcast produced in English and Spanish, will feature deported immigrants relating their personal experiences in U.S. detention facilities and prisons. The show will be produced from a migrant shelter for deported immigrants in Mexico. This bilingual podcast about the fastest-growing federal U.S. conviction—unlawful reentry—can explain the story of immigrant detention to U.S. listeners, advise lawmakers about the consequences of our immigration policies and educate migrants about their rights in detention.
Chords for Progression (2nd Place)
Team Members: Cecelia DiMino, Brenda Becerra
School: UC Berkeley
“There is geometry in the humming of the strings, there is music in the spacing of the spheres.” Pythagoras appreciated these hidden potentials. Thinking in mathematical and musical concepts opens up a new understanding of the world. For adolescent Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education (SLIFE) coming from countries where poverty, disaster, civil unrest, persecution, or gender restrictions have affected their development of literacy and opportunities for education, the need to access this understanding is especially critical. This Big Idea is an after-school program for Oakland high school refugee/asylum-seeking immigrants that fuses math with musicianship to facilitate language learning. Music increases both the surface area and volume of the brain and promotes emotional healing; basic math is essential to academics and daily living; English is necessary for schooling. This project offers an accelerated learning capability—let’s unlock their hidden potentials and see them thrive in their new home.
Spotlight On Hope Film Camp (2nd Place)
Team Members: Cassie Nguyen, Sara Leung, Jessica Tran, Christian Lugo, Mohammed Alhankawi, Phillip Adilukito
School: UC Riverside
Spotlight on Hope (SOH) Film Camp serves as a therapeutic outlet for cancer patients, where they gather together to create short films they want to produce. After the cast members have produced their finished short films, a grand red carpet screening is held for them, their families and friends. Public service is the main goal of creating SOH. The intended impact is to establish a lasting community effort for kids and young adults with cancer and their siblings where they can engage in something fun outside of the hospital.
Movement Exchange: Free Education and a Stage for Cross-Cultural Understanding (3rd Place)
Team Members: Alice Lu, Li Yen Tan, Xiangdi Emily Zhang, Nitika Jain, Natasha Spivak
School: UC San Diego
There are over 100 languages spoken in San Diego, and its 1.3 million people population is majority comprised of minority individuals. However, there is a lack of knowledge and awareness about different cultures, especially in children from marginalized communities living in a political climate of divisiveness. Movement Exchange at UCSD is part of a global community of dance diplomats creating positive social change through dance. The chapter was founded last year, and notably brought diverse cultural dance to partnered orphanages in Panama for the first time this summer. Dance education benefits child development and cross-cultural understanding, particularly in the second largest city in California, San Diego that is cross-border and majority minority by census. This project will develop the first informed curriculum for free and child-friendly culture and dance lessons, spearheaded by a diverse team of dancers. The team intends to trial evidence-based lesson plans, host an inaugural community-sponsored showcase, and expand internationally.
DepART (Honorable Mention)
Team Members: Dafna Bearson, Victoria Torres
School: UC Berkeley
Three-year-old Alan lying face down on the shore of the Mediterranean has become the iconic photograph of the Syrian refugee crisis. Photography and visual art are powerful and universal tools to foster human-to-human connection. Through partnerships with aid organizations permanently working in refugee camps, DepArt facilitates art workshops and the flow of art supplies into refugee camps in Greece. DepArt then connects refugee artists via mobile phone to a central online platform, through which they can digitize and publicize their art, find mentors and sponsors, and make their work visible to large-scale audiences. Furthermore, the online platform facilitates the buying and selling of refugee art. This model not only encourages art as a constructive tool for self-expression, but also connects refugees to a global marketplace. Finally, the spread of refugee art will increase the global community’s exposure to the refugee crisis.


ZestBio Orange Bottles (1st Place)
Team Members: Ryan Protzko, Luke Latimer
School: UC Berkeley
Each year, over 4 billion pounds of citrus pulp waste are produced by the juicing industry in the USA and Brazil. This waste has caused significant disposal problems, but could be repurposed as a polymer to account for all the plastic bottles required by the orange juicing industry. The ZestBio Orange Bottle project is a synthetic biology effort that aims to convert citrus pulps and peels into plastics using eco-friendly conversion technologies. This project aims to give familiar wastes new life by fermenting them with highly engineered microbes that can produce chemicals normally produced from oil. Put your orange juice back in the peel with ZestBio plastics.
MakeGlow (2nd Place)
Team Members: Nikitaa Sivaakumar, Vaishali Swaminathan
School: UC Davis, Texas A&M University
The majority of low-income rural Indian communities still use kerosene for lighting purposes and haven’t made the switch to solar technology because of a high initial investment involved and lack of awareness. MakeGlow is a low-cost Do-It-Yourself solar lantern that addresses both these problems. MakeGlow is mainly intended for students from underserved schools in low-income rural Indian communities. As part of a MakeGlow learning activity integrated in the school curriculum, students will build their own MakeGlow solar lanterns out of cardboard and a kit of parts. This approach will teach students about the working and benefits of switching to solar, while providing them with the means to build a low-cost solar lantern. At the end of the class term, students will organize a sale where they’d sell their MakeGlows to people in their communities, at a very low cost. This also acts as an effective channel of distribution for solar.
PowerTank (3rd Place)
Team Members: Imran Sheikh, Ian Bolliger
School: UC Berkeley
Millions of homes waste enormous amounts of energy through needlessly heating water heaters which they do not always need. PowerTank wants to change this by integrating three simple, existing pieces of technology, adding machine learning, and unleashing the energy storage potential of things we already own. Consider this: a 50 gallon hot water tank with water at 150°F stores about 11 kWh of energy. And they already exist in millions of homes across the country. On the other hand, battery energy storage remains a niche market, and with an installed cost of around $400/kWh. The team believes that PowerTank can provide energy storage at a price an order of magnitude less than existing batteries, and can achieve scale far faster than batteries because they leverage existing assets that are already in homes. This technology can be installed by a professional in a less than 30 minutes, and saves the customer money through lower energy use, lower energy bills (particularly when on time-of-use rates), and shared payments for the grid services that the PowerTank provides.
Bio-inspired Desalination for Off-Grid Water Treatment (Honorable Mention)
Team Members: Casey Finnerty, Caroline Evans, Eric Garcia, Rebecca Kaliff
School: UC Berkeley
Access to clean water is a luxury many of us take for granted. Yet, millions of people worldwide are not so lucky. Our team will use existing infrastructure and familiarity with solar technologies, off-grid, bio-inspired desalination through synthetic transpiration to help enable the provision of clean water access to nearly 75 million households in India alone. Synthetic transpiration is a bio-inspired desalination technology that requires no external energy inputs besides sunlight. Mimicking water transport mechanisms found in mangrove trees, this technology uses sunlight to induce water evaporation, which serves as the driving force for filtration. Evaporated water is then condensed as drinkable water. The technology is enhanced by the use of graphene-oxide based nanomaterials that increase evaporation rates and augment passive water transport throughout the technology. This technology is being implemented in southern India to combat groundwater salinization that is causing widespread hypertension throughout urban areas.


HomeSlice (1st Place)
Team Members: Anna Roumiantseva, Anne Ready, PJ O’Neil
School: UC Berkeley
Housing has gotten unaffordable across much of the US. With home prices having gone from 2X to 4X the median family income over the past 40 years, 53-77% of the population can’t afford to buy today in metro areas across the country. This means that they are forced to rent for years on end instead of building their assets, perpetuating the cycle of being locked out of the market. HomeSlice is putting home ownership within reach for people who can’t afford to own today by making it easy to buy homes in groups. By removing the current barriers to fractional ownership – from the creation of co-owner agreements to the elimination of liability for co-owner default – it is making shared home ownership a viable and attractive option for millions of Americans. Its mission is to democratize home ownership.
Accelerating Low-to-Moderate Income Customer Inclusion in Community Solar: Removing Barriers and Gaining Trust (2nd Place)
Team Members: Steph Speirs
School: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Solar is booming and the price is lower than ever. Yet, 80% of America is locked out of the rooftop solar market. Solstice radically expands access to clean energy by providing community-shared solar power to underserved American households. This model enables any resident to enjoy clean energy at no upfront cost and save money on their electric bill every year. Our project will put affordable solar in the hands of low- to moderate-income Americans by offering the country’s first short-term community solar contract, by working with trusted community organizations to enroll social networks together and by qualifying customers using metrics other than FICO credit scores (unprecedented in the industry).
HingiCredit (3rd Place)
Team Members: Jarvin Mutatiina, Kamulegeya Grace B, Musimire Mary, Buluma Lynette Wabwire, Akankwasa Brian
School: Makerere University
Financial institutions face a big challenge when offering agricultural financial credit. They have inefficient mechanisms to evaluate a farmer’s credit worthiness in relation to the sector-specific risks such as production, price and market risks. Most financial institutions do not have reliable credit risk analysis models to guide them in best evaluating farmers. Without a proper method or approach to credit risk analysis, farmers face the risk of being denied the credit they require because of the potentially inaccurate credit risk scores generated for them. Financial institutions also stand the risk of making losses when they give loans basing on the potentially inaccurate credit risk scores. HingiCredit will provide an automated credit risk analysis system that can be used to assess the credit-worthiness of farmers requesting loans from financial institutions. HingiCredit will reflect the risk factors that influence production and market and as a result will match farmers to financial institutions that are willing to provide the loans within the calculated risk.


Farmview: New Power for Tenant Farmers (1st Place)
Team Members: Adam Calo, Karin Goh, Natalia Lyson
School: UC Berkeley
In California, just as low-income residents struggle to find affordable housing, farmers also face a cutthroat farmland rental market. If beginning farmers can’t find land for agriculture, then the ‘young farmer movement’ is a pipe dream. In California, 41 percent of all farmland is rented out to others, and new tenants face exorbitant rental prices, lands of poor quality, and predatory leases. There is a tremendous opportunity to leverage emerging data science and geographic information system methods to address the land access issue. In collaboration with California Farmlink, a farming direct service provider, Farmview is a tool that assists beginning farmers in the acquisition of farmland.  Farmview combines public data about land ownership with local knowledge contributed by farmers to show farmers the location of available land and its associated attributes. This project will run workshops with farmers in California, conduct user testing, and roll out a statewide tool.
Planet Murple (2nd Place)
Team Members: Miriam Rosas Cano, Isaac Chau, Shanna Hoversten, Emily Yao
School: UC Berkeley
Planet Murple inspires kids to explore natural food through creative cooking and playful media. We help kids and their families build happy relationships to healthy food! Our world is based on a fantastical planet made entirely of natural food and follows the adventures of the Murples. Kids interact with the Murples through Storytime Recipes via streaming videos and books. These recipes are designed for kids 4-8 to make with their guardians as an afterschool or weekend activity, and are always made with natural food. We are also building a line of Murple-branded children culinary products that make it both easy and irresistibly fun to bring kids into the kitchen. With Planet Murple, we make learning to cook real food an experience to look forward to!
Tech+SEAfood (2nd Place)
Team Members: Stephanie Webb, Josh Stoll
School: UC Santa Cruz
There exists gross demoralizations in the seafood system in the US- 43% of US wild caught seafood is exported, 90% of seafood consumed in the US is imported , 60% of imports being inferior, unstandardized aquaculture, and 30% illegally imported. This project envisions a Tech+SEAfood solution for alternative seafood marketing networks (ASN) to improve efficiency, profitability, communication, and traceability in seafood distribution. Project demand has been researched and vetted with seafood supply chain practitioners. The team aims to improve the timeliness and transparency of supply and demand data as well as improve decision making for mission driven distributors about when, where, and how much seafood should be sold and to whom.
Roach Protein (3rd Place)
Team Members: Kamulegeya Grace B, Wambi Peter, Watuwa James, Isabirye Robert Alex
School: Makerere University
This project aims to produce of an alternative protein feed additive from farmed Periplaneta Americana cockroaches. This protein will be a direct substitute to the fishmeal protein that is currently used in poultry, piggery, and aquaculture feed formulation in Uganda and East Africa. Cockroach is an alternative insect protein source, which can sustainably be reared and produced by commercial feed producers and potentially at household level in Uganda. According to studies, Cockroach protein has been measured to be between 62%-65% protein on a dry matter basis which is comparable to silverfish at 65%. Having an alternative to the expensive fishmeal protein additive to feeds will directly increase the profitability of the poultry, piggery at households and commercially. Feed costs are the major costs within the poultry, piggery and aquaculture production chain.
OrganicMatters (Honorable Mention)
Team Members: Lauren Catlin, Jacob Levine
School: UC Santa Barbara
The US egg industry generates roughly 44,000 tons of poultry manure every day. This waste is a significant contributor to water and air quality pollution.  As the egg industry is concentrated in localized regions around the country, current manure management strategies have led to over-fertilization of nearby cropland.  To avoid these problems, OrganicMatters dries manure at the site of poultry production to maximize nutrient preservation. Dry manure is then transported to a central facility where it is processed into a stable pellet that can easily integrate into the existing fertilizer market. OrganicMatters can increase the feasibility of manure use as a fertilizer for organic farmers. Our product can meet the demand of diverse agricultural customers across a wide range of crops and applications.  Appropriately dried poultry manure is a very balanced, high nutrient fertilizer that satisfies both conventional agriculture and the organic sector.


Point-of-Care Early Diagnostic Test for Preeclampsia (1st Place)
Team Members: Denali Dahl, Zoe Sekyonda, Brian Matovu
School: Duke University & Makerere University
The goal of this project is to develop a safe, inexpensive, and reliable self-diagnostic tool for the early detection of preeclampsia that can be accessible to pregnant women in low-resource settings, thereby reducing the detrimental health impacts of undiagnosed preeclampsia and eclampsia. The earliest indicators for developing preeclampsia are dramatically increased levels of biomarkers activin A and inhibin A in a woman’s urine. The self-diagnostic tool will be a urine strip created by adapting lateral flow assay technology to detect the levels of activin A and inhibin A in the urine of pregnant women. The test will inform the woman if she is developing preeclampsia and needs to seek medical care before her symptoms become severe and endanger the life of her and her unborn child.
MedServe (2nd Place)
Team Members: Patrick O’Shea, Franklin Niblock, Priyanka Venkannagari
School: Duke University
MedServe is Teach for America for healthcare. It aims to create a generation of passionate advocates for health equity in every zip code. To do so, it operates a two-year community service fellowship in rural and underserved community primary care for young people between college and medical school. MedServe Fellows are selected for having a spark of interest and high potential for future primary care service. Our Fellows are more likely to come from medically underserved communities than average medical school applicant. During their two years in MedServe, this spark of interest is ignited through a dual role where Fellows spend half of their time gaining vital clinical experience for their future application to graduate school and half of their time conducting community-facing work that shows the impact of high-quality primary care on entire communities. Our organization supports this experience through up-front Fellow training and ongoing professional development support.
Vitalize (2nd Place)
Team Members: Karthik Prasad, Sara Sampson, Matthew Chan
School: UC Berkeley
Sepsis is a life-threatening complication caused by an overwhelming immune response to bloodstream infections. However, by recognizing certain vital sign indicators, one can take early action to significantly reduce sepsis-associated mortality. In fact, early sepsis therapy programs using simple, cost-effective treatments have reduced relative risk of sepsis mortality by 45%. Unfortunately, many low resource hospitals are overworked and understaffed, and need more assistance with monitoring at-risk patients. The lack of functional vital signs monitoring equipment further compounds this insufficiency. Consequently, sepsis remains an enormous problem for low resource settings. To address this issue, Team Vitalize is developing a low-cost, wireless vital signs monitoring device that can detect early onset of sepsis and alert the appropriate healthcare provider. This diagnostic tool has the power to save hundreds of thousands of lives and significantly improve quality of care in resource-limited hospitals.
KNO2 Sensor: A Wearable Device for Oxygen Saturation Monitoring in Low and Middle Resource Settings (3rd Place)
Team Members: Maria Artunduaga, Stephanie Nemec, Siobhan Rigby, Priti Bachhawat
School: UC Berkeley
Medicinal oxygen increases life expectancy in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the 4th leading cause of death globally. Blood oxygen saturation monitoring is the gold standard for treatment of respiratory illnesses, without knowing oxygen levels, providers cannot treat patients cost effectively. KNO2, a low-cost wrist device that monitors oxygen accurately, would replace today’s cumbersome and costly monitors. KNO2 encourages patients to monitor symptoms by continuously recording them, allowing doctors to quantitatively evaluate disease progression and allowing patients to better understand disease triggers with the device’s flag-buzzing system, reducing emergency room visits. In Latin America, most governments cover COPD patients with public insurance. The team plans to partner with the public sector to include KNO2 in COPD health packages. They will perform preliminary testing in Colombia, followed by secondary testing in Perú. This project will allow 80 million people to reduce preventable morbidity and mortality, all for $25 per unit.
mDex – Your Smart Sickle Cell Diagnostic Tool (3rd Place)
Team Members: Rachel Olema Aitaru, Bonita Beatrice Nanziri, Flavia Nshemerirwe
School: Makerere University
mDex is a smartphone based, low cost, reusable, near instant point of care diagnostic tool aimed at increasing access to sickle cell diagnostic services in low resourced areas.This equips medical personnel with no hematology skills to diagnose the sickle cell disease (SCD) accurately to facilitate early diagnosis. Diagnostic tests for SCD are expensive and time consuming and without “proof” of disease, patients may not be able to receive the care they need in a timely manner.  mDex bridges the knowledge gap and the feedback loop between the time of testing and results.
The First Aid Post-Partum Haemorrage Belt (Honorable Mention)
Team Members: Beryl Ngabirano Arinda, Mukiibi Denis, Akurut Phiona, Kiwanuka Martin, Kalibwani Simon
School: Makerere University
Post-partum haemorrhage (PPH) remains the leading cause of maternal death globally despite the significant increase in the number of available interventions. Marked peaks of mortality are recorded more in low resource countries. Team Medzyn’s design solution is a first aid device whose key role is to preserve the mother’s life during referrals or transportation to the health facility. The inflatable first aid haemorrhage belt will be able to stem the bleeding of a haemorrhaging mother. The design is based on the manual external aortic compression technique by a qualified attendant. The belt is to be strapped around the mother as a first aid device to reduce the blood loss and thus increasing the chances of maternal survival. The overall aim is to create an efficient and safe device that is affordable to be adopted in low resource settings as a leading lifesaving first aid.
HopeAssist (Honorable Mention)
Team Members: Usman Raza, Shrestha Mohanty, Steve Trush, Yiyi Chen, Meghana Murthy, Malavika Srinivasan
School: UC Berkeley
The HopeAssist project aims to develop a smartphone based decision support system using the WHO Mental Health Guidelines (mhGAP), that will facilitate General Physicians working in low resource settings, in making better diagnosis and treatment choices for depression patients. The system also includes a Interactive Voice Response (IVR) service that will allow patients to complete preliminary screening questionnaire on the phone at no cost. The pilot project is proposed for rolled out to 10 Physicians in Peshawar (Pakistan), to be tested over a period of 12 months. Based on conservative estimates, 5,500 patients suffering from depression will directly benefit from this pilot project in 08 months of service in this pilot project.


Tabla: Pneumonia Detection Device  (1st Place)
Team Members: Adam Rao, Jorge Ruiz, Chen Bao
School: UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco
In 2015, pneumonia was the leading cause of death in patients under the age of 5, claiming almost one million children worldwide. It has been reported by UNICEF that there is a need for access to a more affordable diagnostic method to reduce the number of deaths in populations with limited access to medical infrastructure. Tabla seeks to meet this need by providing an inexpensive method of diagnosing pneumonia. The device sends sound waves into the body using a surface exciter, records acoustic backscatter with a digital stethoscope, and analyzes the received signal in order to assess the presence of pneumonia. Tabla provides an order of magnitude improvement on portability, accessibility and cost over the current gold standard of chest x-ray, targeting patients in areas with limited access to advanced medical care. The device has IRB approval at UCSF and is currently being tested with adult and pediatric patients.
ARI (2nd Place)
Team Members: Isabella Domi, Jack Moorer, Jessica Palmer
School: UC Merced
Aerial Research Intelligence (ARI) is a service that allows search and rescue personnel to expand their options for locating missing persons in a more efficient manner using drone technology and machine learning capabilities. ARI can be used with any small unmanned aerial system that autonomously searches the area around an initial planning point and quickly processes aerial image data to detect people using a trained neural network. Using RGB and thermal video data from sensors on board the drone platform, ARI is able to determine images and GPS locations that indicate the presence of a missing person, which greatly speeds up the human intensive activity of reviewing footage.
Sensen (3rd Place)
Team Members: Amit Gandhi, Julia Heyman
School: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Many international development organizations strive to improve livelihood around the world by providing products and services to those in need. Organizations rely on field surveys with target communities as the primary form of data collection to uncover the progress of their programs, but these methods are subject to response biases as well as being expensive and time-intensive. Sensen aims to strengthen the reliability of information between international development organizations and the beneficiaries they serve. The Sensen platform provides organizations with a robust and cost-effective solution for monitoring and evaluation to understand usage and performance of products in remote, low-resource settings. The core components of the platform are a cellular-enabled datalogger and a web analytics dashboard. The datalogger attaches to devices to measure, track, and upload information about product usage. This usage data is processed by analytical algorithms and turned into actionable information to support organizational decision-making.
Lamprey (3rd Place)
Team Members: Chethanya Eleswarpu, Sherman Wong, Austin Jordan, Michael Velez
School: UC Berkeley
Laparoscopy is a form of surgery done through a series of small incisions that is becoming the standard for many procedures. Graspers are important tools used in laparoscopy, which allow surgeons to grip and manipulate tissue. Current graspers use a compressive head made of metal jaws with teeth that grip tissue. These graspers have a risk of injury, including perforating, tearing, or crushing delicate tissues. Complications from this form of tissue injury lead to negative health outcomes for patients and increased costs for hospitals. Our proposed solution is Lamprey, which helps surgeons perform laparoscopic surgery without tissue damage by facilitating atraumatic tissue manipulation. Lamprey uses vacuum power to grip tissue and thus spreads applied force over a greater area, resulting in lower pressure. This makes Lamprey safer than conventional graspers while still providing a strong grip on tissue.
AxoLog (Honorable Mention)
Team Members: Priya Bhattacharjee, Josh Chen, Maxine Arnush, Richard Xu
School: UC Berkeley
Autonomic nervous system (ANS) disorders often go misdiagnosed or undiagnosed by physicians, especially in pediatric patients with less progressed pathologies. Delayed diagnosis exacerbates physiological and psychobehavioral symptoms associated with this class of diseases. AxoLog is a wearable screening tool catered to pediatric patients to allow for non-invasive and child-friendly diagnosis. The device employs electrodermal responses to quantitatively measure the nervous system response to a controlled clinical stimulus. With this device, we hope to reduce misdiagnosis in the short-term and lead to a reduction in physical and social implications for patients in the long term. Our device will create an impact in the clinical space by improving the diagnostic and treatment pathway for ANS disorders.
InPrint: Parkinson’s Tremor Tracker (Honorable Mention)
Team Members: Ashlee Horn, Alex Takahashi, Katherine Spack, Zachary Roy
School: UC Berkeley
InPrint is a lightweight, thin-film metal temporary tattoo that tracks tremors and drug usage for Parkinson’s patients. Parkinson’s is the second most common neurodegenerative disease and it can take up to six months for patients to find an effective drug regimen. Neurologists often change a patient’s treatment plan every two to three years due to the disease’s progression and have no way of accurately monitoring their symptoms during these transition periods. Applied onto the skin like a sticker, InPrint offers an accessible, low-cost method of detecting tremors while recording their duration and severity. By using the connected InPrint mobile app, patients can set medication reminders and input their drug intake while neurologists can evaluate patient symptoms to create a personalized medication schedule. Not only does InPrint make it easier to precisely monitor tremors, it can also shorten the six month period typically needed to create a stable drug regimen.


ULAB: Undergraduate Lab at Berkeley (1st Place)
Team Members: Alexander Powers, Amit Akula, Mrinalini Sugosh, Dylan Kato, Michael Oshiro
School: UC Berkeley
When Berkeley undergraduates engage in immersive research experiences, it can be one of the most transformative and fruitful adventures of their college career. Yet, many new students are deterred from even getting started. This problem stems from a tendency for programs to favor already experienced students and difficulty for new students in navigating a complex myriad of Berkeley resources. ULAB is a student-run research laboratory to help freshman and sophomores from all backgrounds and skill levels get started in research. ULAB members tour research labs to engage with the research community, they complete mini research projects to develop skills that align with their interests, and they work with junior and senior mentors to build professional networks by learning from those who succeeded before them. We are emphasizing new ways to reach underrepresented and socioeconomically disadvantaged students by partnering with the residence halls and existing organizations.
CourseExplorer: Helping Students Uncover Hidden Gems  (2nd Place)
Team Members: Molly Mahar, Kinshuk, Liz Lee, Edward Yip, Yiyi Chen
School: UC Berkeley
Because of the breadth of departments and courses that Berkeley offers every semester, both undergraduate and graduate students often feel overwhelmed and either make course choices based on word of mouth recommendations or stick with their departmental offerings. Even when students choose to venture outside these academic silos, current tools require students to have specific goals or courses in mind, and as a result, students fall back to making decisions within known boundaries. To provide students with more knowledge and control to shape their academic journey, CourseExplorer is a mobile app that enables both current and prospective students to discover courses, subjects and topics of interest in a more engaging and interactive way. Emulating approaches similar to dating apps, CourseExplorer matches students’ predefined criteria with relevant courses. This encourages exploration and long-term academic engagement and planning.
React!: A Board Game that Makes Organic Chemistry Fun (3rd Place)
Team Members: Ankur Gupta, Prerak Juthani, Billal Ahmed
School: UC Berkeley
Organic chemistry is one of the most “feared” classes amongst all undergraduates across the nation; this is partly because organic chemistry forces students to think visually about molecules and see how they can come together to create unique compounds. React! is an innovative and collaborative board game intended to address many of the challenges to learning organic chemistry. Created by a team of students who have proficiently mastered and taught all the subtle aspects of organic chemistry, React! is designed to meet the needs of students learning organic chemistry for the first time. The team has worked hard to structure the game such that players perceive organic chemistry as a challenging, yet rewarding puzzle as opposed to a series of facts to memorize. Ultimately, we hope React! empowers students to think critically about organic chemistry in a collaborative and entertaining environment.
BearCare: Comprehensive Student Mobile Health App (Honorable Mention)
Team Members: Tracy Lee, Mihir Joshi, Somya Jain, Arjun Mahajan, Anna Boser
School: UC Berkeley
With 38,204 matriculated students and thousands of programs available on campus, the University of California Berkeley can often be a daunting place to find health services and support. In response to the issues that students face, the American Medical Student Association: Community and Public Health Committee seeks to create an iOS mobile phone application that works as a unique one-stop resource for addressing health at Berkeley connecting students with available support. While there are some other applications which provide limited information or help, the unique point of this application is to consolidate all resources that students would need into one centralized location. The application addresses mental health, sleep, nutrition, exercise, sexual health, illnesses, and provides assistance when walking home or at a party situation. In addition to direct student benefits, anonymous data from all application users could eventually be collected and analyzed for use with future campus projects.
PairWalk (Honorable Mention)
Team Members: Justin Chiang, Steven Zhu, Richard Meng
School: UC Berkeley
UC Berkeley is home to thousands of students, faculty and staff but unfortunately, isn’t located in the safest neighborhood. Berkeley’s crime index is nearly double that of the national average with many crimes happening at night. In a recent survey, only 18% of respondents said they feel safe walking home alone. More than 60% of students said that BearWALK, the University’s current campus night escort system, is useful but needs improvement. PairWalk, is a mobile application designed to make Berkeley safer by allowing students to connect and find a buddy to walk with at night. With PairWalk, students simply enter their desired location and time and will be matched with other students going in the same direction. When a match can’t be found, users also have the option to call an Uber or Lyft, allowing students to safely get home any time, any day.


Serify (1st Place)
Team Members: Jason Parad, Kristine Tran, Alexander Haddad
School: UC San Francisco
The skyrocketing popularity of dating apps like Grindr, Tinder, and Jack’d has fueled recent increases in the transmission of HIV and other STDs. This has caused great concern among dating app users as well as heightened response by the public health community. While prevention efforts have been varied, recent strategies focus on dating app-facilitated dialogue about sexual health, widespread campaigning for HIV and STD testing, and targeted HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). Yet as each approach has its drawbacks, the worry and risk of HIV/STD infection continue to grow. Our innovation, Serify, aims to reverse these trends. Developed through a fall 2016 interprofessional entrepreneurship course at UCSF, Serify allows dating app users to conveniently verify and share their negative HIV/STD test results. In this way, users can boost their sexual desirability and minimize their worry and risk of HIV/STD infection.
Reach 1600 Foundation (2nd Place)
Team Members: Gloria Chen, Panny Shan, Amy Lam, Janny Tran, Rosie Fan
School: UC Berkeley
Reach 1600 Foundation provides free, adaptive SAT preparation for students in underserved communities. The organization collects and analyzes data on students’ academic strengths and areas of growth, as well as their psychological assets and needs. Using insights distilled from this data, the SAT curriculum, pedagogical methods, and psychological approaches are customized to each student Reach 1600 interacts with. This personalized approach fosters students’ intrinsic motivation, supporting them to achieve goals beyond the SAT. Students achieved an average score increase of 410 points in 2015 in Reach 1600’s pilot.
Information For Action (3rd Place)
Team Members: Emily Thomas, John Toner
School: UC Berkeley
Information for Action (IFA) is​ dedicated to social change powered by citizens and technology. IFA deploys user-centered design strategy and believes communities should determine features and technology solutions. After months of gathering community feedback, IFA is launching the first-ever browser extension and web application to link news to action. When a natural disaster strikes and you read about it online you will be able to click the IFA icon and immediately sign up to hand out meals to victims, distribute supplies, and help people find shelter. Community organizations can post actions to advocate for their work, then see views, clicks, and ​RSVPs of their posts through a personalized account integrated with other social media platforms. These organizations can also subscribe to advanced analytics tools. The IFA team is comprised of experts in journalism, community organizing, policy and planning, and technology development.
Paladin Drones (3rd Place)
Team Members: Divyaditya Shrivastava, Adithya Sriram, Trevor Pennypacker
School: UC Berkeley
We live in an era of technological opportunity, where information sharing and exchange is at the forefront of technological innovation, and the pace at which it can be distributed is aggressively evolving. But this technology hasn’t been utilized to solve widespread public safety problems, like household fires, despite having simple applications to it. In Berkeley and similar cities, firefighter response time is a brisk 3-7 minutes, but unknown traffic and fire scene conditions can add up to 5 minutes before fire fighting begins. Paladin Drones, a Berkeley-based drone startup, aims to eliminate this uncertainty and further decrease response times. Paladin’s drones autonomously rush to a fire scene well before first-responders, analyze hotspots and traffic conditions using a thermal camera, and relay the stream to units through a webapp. With access to this stream on their firetruck laptops while en route, firefighters can start firefighting immediately upon arrival, dramatically decreasing response times.


PedalTap: A Retrofittable, Affordable Hands Free Foot Operated Water Dispensing System  (1st Place)
Team Members: Molly Mbaziira Nannyonjo, Isah Ssevume, Grace Nakibaala
School: Makerere University
In Uganda, the most common type of water tap is manual, requiring a user to open and close it with their hand. If the tap is at a public water point, there is 60% chance that the person will walk away with an infection, since adherence to recommended practices, such as rinsing the tap after use is low. Other solutions like sensors are either too costly or not readily available thus preventing their wide scale adoption. PedalTap technology is modifying the existing water tap system to create a no touch cost effective solution for developing countries. We are using metal scrap which is readily available at low cost on the market. With PedalTap, reduced potent and infectious diseases spread, reduced nosocomial infections, better hand washing behaviour and reduced water wastage at water points. There is no hand contact so no risk/ fear of picking infection from the tap at public water point.
Ricult (2nd Place)
Team Members: Aukrit Unahalekhaka, Zethwood Sukcharoen
School: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The problem of poverty faced by millions of smallholder farmers in developing countries is largely due to financial exclusion. Due to limited cash to pay upfront, these farmers face difficulties in buying farm inputs (seeds, fertilizers, etc.) at the start of a growing season, resulting in exploitation by informal lenders who charge them over 100-150% APR. Ricult solves the problem through providing high-quality farm inputs to farmers on credit at affordable rates, using an innovative risk assessment mobile platform. Creating a tailored credit score for the farmers through applying advanced machine learning technique to nontraditional data sources, we provide loans at five times lower interest rate than money lenders and offer a repayment schedule that matches the crop cycle. Our pilot market is Pakistan where there are over 20 million farmers facing the problem.
Safi Organics (2nd Place)
Team Members: Kevin Kung
School: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Most fertilizers today are produced in large-scale, capital-intensive units that are mostly located in Europe, China, and the Americas, and then shipped to the emerging markets. Due to the high logistical mark-up, many rural farmers in emerging markets are paying 2-3 times the world price for their fertilizer. Because of their limited income, farmers can often only afford the cheapest, synthetic fertilizer varieties that over the long term actually degrade and acidify their soil. Safi Organics uses technology to downsize and decentralize the fertilizer production process, making it feasible to be implemented profitably in rural villages using locally available resources, labor, and waste. We therefore drastically cut down the logistical cost of conventional fertilizer, and provide farmers access to a higher-quality product. We produce Safi Sarvi, a carbon-negative fertilizer blend that help rural farmers improve their yields by up to 30%.
SAFR: Scalable and Affordable Fluoride Removal (3rd Place)
Team Members: Katya Cherukumilli, Yash Mehta
School: UC Berkeley
Globally, 200 million people are at risk of irreversible, crippling deformities by drinking groundwater contaminated with fluoride levels exceeding the WHO limit (1.5mg F-/L). Although many defluoridation technologies have proven to be effective in labs, most have not scaled sustainably in remote rural regions of the developing world. We propose to implement and scale up our bauxite-based Scalable and Affordable Fluoride Removal (SAFR) process in India, through our recently created nonprofit social enterprise (Global Water Labs). Rigorous lab testing has shown that our SAFR process has the potential to be (a) locally available/affordable, (b) highly effective at remediating a wide range of fluoride concentrations, (c) culturally appropriate, (d) technically feasible and robust in a rural setting, and (e) operated and maintained with minimal labor. We need additional funding to further test our SAFR process in the field setting, which will allow us to iterate our technology and business model prototypes.
Scaling Dost Education (3rd Place)
Team Members: Sneha Sheth, Sindhuja Jeyabal
School: UC Berkeley
Dost Education empowers parents of any literacy level in India to get their 3-5 year old kids ready for school. By simply dialing a number, parents join Dost’s program and receive daily, 2-minute podcasts on their phone about topics like numeracy, language and socio-emotional well-being. Typically, Dost customers are mothers who are motivated to get their kids the best education but have minimal education experiences themselves. They love Dost because the podcasts are entertaining, actionable, and integrated into their daily routine. Voice calls are a powerful way to reach the estimated 35 million illiterate mothers in urban India who now have access to a mobile phone.