2019 Big Ideas Contest Winners Announced!

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In November 2018, the Contest received over 330 pre-proposal applications, representing over 1,000 students across 12 campuses. After a preliminary round and a final review, 34 teams were awarded prizes across 8 different categories, with award amounts ranging from $2,000 to $15,000.


In addition to the category winners, several teams were recognized with additional honors at the Big Ideas Contest end-of-year-events.


Kaloum Bankhi (Home of Kaloum): A Migration of Architecture (1st Place)
Team Members: Matt Turlock, Carmen Durrer, Matt Fairris, Aboubacar Komara
School: UC Berkeley

Kaloum Bankhi is “process-focused” and not “product focused”. The mission is to ensure every resident in Kaloum, Guinea lives in a durable home, and the approach is multidisciplinary in establishing a self-sustaining local supply chain. In order to realize this goal, the project takes a multi-faceted approach, innovating the physical design, the financial mechanism, and social systems. This house model is designed to be built in stages instead of all at once. This enables residents to remain in their own home during a progressive transformation at the householder’s pace and cash-flow. Guinean culture is celebrated with this alternative housing solution that is built by a community, for a community. Architecture becomes art, bringing social change to the canvas of Kaloum. The project envisions that the knowledge invested in the community will grow beyond the slums – an architectural migration providing durable homes for all of Kaloum.
Dance for All Bodies (2nd Place)
Team Members: Yagmur Halezeroglu, Tess Hanson
School: UC Berkeley

Dance has been shown to be very impactful on individuals and the community at the emotional, cognitive and physical level. However, there aren’t many inclusive dance classes for people with limb differences (PWLD). Dance for All Bodies (DfAB) addresses this gap through organizing monthly adaptive (interpretive, adapted to their own physical abilities) dance classes for people with limb differences in the Bay Area. Through these classes DfAB aims to create an inclusive and non-judgmental space for PWLD to dance, express themselves, and find community in shared experience. DfAB takes charge of finding an accessible dance space and scheduling teachers who have experience and interest in teaching adaptive dance classes. These classes will be made accessible through outreach and partnerships with disability organizations, hospitals and dance companies in the Bay Area.
Crimmigration (3rd Place)
Team Members: JoeBill Muñoz
School: UC Berkeley

In the summer of 2018, the merger between migration and criminal law reached a boiling point when the United States concluded that a logical solution to deterring migrants from entering the country illegally was to separate migrant parents from their children. The Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy received international scrutiny for its inhumanity. Through personal narratives, witness testimonies and expert interviews, this documentary series will trace this policy backwards over the last century, looking at the laws, movements, and wars that birthed it. How did we get to this point? How can we change it? What the Netflix documentary, 13th, is to the prison industrial complex, this series will be to crimmigration law. In the end, you’ll never think about immigration the same again.
Bosco The Inclusive Forest (Honorable Mention)
Team Members: Enrica Costello, Zack Ragozzino, Allison Lee, Joshua King, Alessandro Olivieri
School: UC Santa Barbara

Sophisticated technologies, such as virtual reality’s (VR) immersive experiences, allow one to build effective tools to challenge implicit discriminatory bias. This project includes: 1) An art installation: two participants experience stories of racial and gender discrimination in VR. Personal and bio-medical data from the participant’s reactions are collected and visualized. Participants are encouraged to record their own story of injustice and discrimination. 2) A data visualization design project organizes and analyzes the personal, biomedical data and audio recordings, draws objective conclusions and elaborates strategies for corrective measures. The virtual forest is a source of narratives, collaborations and interactions, a data visualization space, and artistic experience in VR. In order to create a culture of inclusion and tolerance, the main goal is to make an impact by allowing participants to “see” their discriminatory bias and feel compassion toward minorities.
Common Objects, Uncommon Purpose: Fighting Unconscious Bias with Art (Honorable Mention)
Team Members: Emily Kearney, Catharine Adams, Linet Mera
School: UC Berkeley

Despite our best intentions, everyday discrimination bubbles up from unconscious biases we don’t realize we have. “Common Objects, Uncommon Purpose” will address this by raising awareness, concern, and knowledge of unconscious bias. In particular, it will target skeptics who may not think bias is a problem. The campaign will use a mixed-media approach that employs humor, cartoons, interactive art installations, and artfully designed practical objects. This project will use public spaces, social media, and our daily lives to start an open dialogue about unconscious bias and its effects. It will empower community members to propel the campaign forward with art, fact, & tact.


Qloak (1st Place)
Team Members: Julian Johnson, Maria Antonio Scopu, Hoaian Dang
School: UC Berkeley

As a result of the current social and political climate, the LGBTQ+ community has found it increasingly difficult to find safe spaces. A study by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) shows that hate-driven violence often occurs in the privacy of communities, homes, workplaces, and shelters. By providing knowledge of spaces that have been proven to support the LGBTQ+ community, and that can serve its unique needs as necessary, Qloak is removing the burden from community members who may struggle to find their footing in heteronormative environments. Qloak serves as a hub integrating queer spaces featuring such categories as Work (jobs), Play (bars and entertainment), Spend (businesses), and Resources (doctors, counselors, etc). Cultivating knowledge of these spaces is necessary in order to foster a sense of belonging and security.
CoopNet (2nd Place)
Team Members: Aaron Scherf, Ramsay Boly, Jinsu Elhance, Cara Wolfe
School: UC Berkeley

CoopNet’s vision is to create a digital financing model for shared housing, leveraging the community activation of crowdfunding to bring together residents and investors who believe in the virtues of cooperative living. Not only would such an online platform provide a legal, regulated, and contractually sound method for cooperatives to access financing, it offers the flexibility needed to scale across different property types and urban markets. Every cooperative housing venture financed via CoopNet would create immediate and lasting benefits for local communities: reducing overall housing costs, offering an alternative and communal style of living, and creating opportunities for residents to shape their communities rather than depending on governments, banks, or real estate developers. By June 2020, CoopNet plans to facilitate the formation of approximately 14 cooperative housing units, connecting over 70 local residents, and saving residents an estimated $320,000 in cumulative housing costs, with greater savings expected as the co-ops continue and CoopNet expands.
Seminar (3rd Place)
Team Members: Kevin Liu, Shomil Jain, Nima Rezaeian
School: UC Berkeley

At first sight, people begin to form judgements about each other in their heads based on appearance, race, gender, and other superficial factors. These are called “implicit biases”, and they affect the ways we think, act, and perceive the world around us. From gender discrimination in the workplace to racial profiling in our communities, many of the issues we face as a country stem from the consequences of our implicit biases. Seminar is a platform intended to be used in the high school classroom to address these biases in an engaging and unique manner. Through a mobile app, students are allowed to converse with their peers through a model that facilitates productive conversations without the inhibitions of superficial influences. Through proprietary pairing and impact algorithms, Seminar learns about the community it is deployed in and improves the student experience over time.
Viva (3rd Place)
Team Members: Catherine Soler, Cristy Meier, Ashten Bartz, Bethany Ellenbogen
School: UC Berkeley

60% of Americans are suffering from chronic diseases, of which 80% are preventable by a healthy lifestyle. With all of the current options available for health and wellness, we still aren’t preventing disease. Why? The current options are prescriptive, focused on one or two areas of health, and lack a sense of camaraderie and accountability. Enter Viva: a solution to shape the future of preventative health. Viva community centers empower urban women to reduce chronic stress and gain self-awareness through holistic health lifestyle management. Viva’s tech-enabled wellness clubs offer holistic health & wellness education, online and offline resources and community-building to help shift mindsets and create sustainable behavior change. Viva is providing a personalized, accessible and social way to find the lifestyle that makes you the healthiest and happiest version of yourself.


RePurpose Energy (1st Place)
Team Members: Ryan Barr, Joseph Lacap
School: UC Davis

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, solar’s long-term success “depends on the cost-effective integration of energy storage”. Already, excess solar power is often wasted, and California is only a third of the way to its 100% clean energy target. Achievement of this bold goal will require energy storage at scale to harness solar power after sunset. Meanwhile, California will have 5 million electric vehicles on its roads by 2030. Recycling their batteries is expensive, but reuse is economical; over 75% of an EV battery’s original capacity typically remains at the end of its useful life in a vehicle. RePurpose Energy tests, reassembles, and redeploys used electric vehicle batteries to provide commercial solar developers with energy storage solutions at half the cost of new battery alternatives, so they can offer more electricity bill savings, and California can accomplish its clean energy goals.
Wet Technik (2nd Place)
Team Members: Dennis Ssekimpi, Mark Musinguzi, Nina Shatsi
School: Makerere University

Wet Technik is a student startup founded at Makerere University looking at reducing the costs of water usage and environmental pollution by hazardous wastewater through the use of constructed wetlands. The team is comprised of three students from a multi-disciplinary background with a shared passion for solving the ever-present problem around wastewater handling and to bring to light the potential of its recycling. Through using a mixture of waste bottle caps and pumice in the constructed wetland, Wet Technik has proven that it will reduce the area requirements, making this system even more accessible to factories, schools and eventually households. The constructed wetland is already the cheapest and easiest way to maintain a system to recycle grey water making it very attractive to people in Uganda.
The Berkeley-India Stove Project: Improving Women’s Lives with Improved Cookstoves in Rural India (3rd Place)
Team Members: Samantha Hing, Matthew Mayes
School: UC Berkeley

The ultimate goal of the Berkeley India Stove (BIS) Project is to deliver the BIS into the hands of the poorest 830 million people in India suffering from exposure to indoor air pollution due to their daily use of inefficient biomass cookstoves. An essential component of the project is to ensure the sustained adoption and long-term usage of the BIS, which reduces smoke emissions and fuelwood consumption by as much as 50% compared to traditional Indian stoves. The BIS is one of the best available cookstoves in the Indian market considering a performance to price ratio. Bolstered by strong partnerships on the ground and a comprehensive business plan, including innovative strategies for dissemination and monitoring, the BIS has the potential to dramatically curtail the harmful impacts of this critical environmental, health, and socioeconomic issue caused by inefficient stoves.
DissolvBio (3rd Place)
Team Members: Ryan Kenneally, William Sharpless, Hannah Grossman, Jason Hou
School: UC Berkeley

Billions of pounds of polyethylene are produced each year, and unfortunately this compound can take thousands of years to break down. Polyethylene has also been linked to human cancers, groundwater toxification, and environmental damage. A reliable means of breaking down polyethylene is necessary and would have a huge impact. Unfortunately, microbial degradation of polyethylene is not common in nature. Polyethylene has been around for less than 100 years and enzyme evolution takes millennia, so microbes have not had enough time to develop this ability. However, recent techniques in Directed Evolution allow researchers to take evolution into the lab and speed it up to thousands of times its natural rate. This project proposes to apply Directed Evolution techniques to a specific enzyme tied to polyethylene degradation in order to create a novel enzyme capable of degrading polyethylene efficiently and reducing global plastic waste.


Intelligent Bugs Mapping and Wiping (iBMW): An affordable robot for farmers (1st Place)
Team Members: Haoyu Niu, Tiebiao Zhao
School: UC Merced

This project idea is to develop an intelligent bugs mapping and wiping (iBMW) robot to perform pest population spatial distribution and “surgical precision spraying” for pest wipeout. The iBMW is an affordable (less than $1,000) robot-driven robot, which has a Turtlebot 3 as the robot’s brain and an unmanned ground vehicle serving as the work platform. Based on the design, the robot will be able to recognize and classify the Navel orangeworm by using deep learning neural networks. In addition, several iBMWs can work in the field together in swarming mode day and night, so that it can realize temporal and spatial bug mapping. As a result, mapping can determine which areas are at the greatest risk and whether wiping treatment is needed by iBMWs.
Chap-Dryer (2nd Place)
Team Members: Morris Atuhwera, George Komakeck
School: Makerere University

Unlike other poly-tunnel solar dryers in the market that use steel frames and metallic base plates, Chap-Dyer uses moisture resistant eucalyptus poles as frames and rough stone slates as a base. These materials are readily available in all parts of Uganda and very affordable, reducing the total cost of a dryer from $1,000 to $200 for an 18 cubic meter drying space. The use of stone slates instead of steel plates allows for the dryer to perform optimally during day time and night time, drying twice as fast as the standard poly-tunnel dryer in the market. Unlike steel frames that require precise engineering and fabrication for easy assembly on site, Chap-Dryer which uses eucalyptus and stones requires simple carpentry and masonry joinery techniques which takes less labor cost and minimal electric power cost as all components can be fabricated and assembled on site.
Okaranchi (3rd Place)
Team Members: Vy Phung, Gary Adrian, Jeremy Chuardy, Chia-Yung Su, Siriyakorn Chantieng
School: UC Davis

Okara is known as a soy pulp by-product generated when processing soy-based products. While okara still contains high nutrition values, most of it is dumped into landfills where it creates greenhouse gas emissions, causing environmental concerns. Okaranchi crackers aims to alleviate the global food waste issue by introducing consumers to a nutritious, sustainable and innovative snacking alternative. This appetite-fulfilling cracker is gluten-free, rich in protein and fiber, and low in high-glycemic carbohydrates, all of which meet conscious consumers’ concerns when making food purchases. Okaranchi can be consumed as its own snack, eaten as a crunchy component in soup and salad, or paired with dippings, spreads, nut butter, and even fruit, cheese, and wine. Through appealing and informative packaging, a sustainability-focused vision, and education outreach, consumers will realize that they are doing good to both their bodies and the environment through their purchase of Okaranchi.


Cloud-based Emergency Response System (1st Place)
Team Members: Moses Kintu, Jordan Ongwech, Trevor Nagaba
School: Makerere University

Uganda does not have a dedicated emergency response number despite repeated government attempts to set up an adequate and reliable public ambulance service backed by a toll free phone number for communication. This has resulted in slow emergency response times, additional injury and an altogether diminished chance of survival. The Cloud-based Emergency Response System (CERS) enables real time matching of ambulances to patients allowing for maximum utilization of the limited resources that exist. At the same time, it provides a means to circumvent the problem of insufficient resources to setup and man a dedicated emergency call centre with which the Kampala Capital City Authority has been wrestling for some time. Through a smartphone application, users can request and automatically connect with the closest available ambulance. CERS has the potential to impact 40,000 Ugandans who do not make it to the hospital within the “golden hour” by providing a fast, safe and appropriate transport means.
ReEMS: Revolutionized Emergency Medical Services (1st Place)
Team Members: Leon Wu, Timothy Lam, A. Sterling Christensen, Ramin Atrian, Zhaoyi Li, Kaung Yang, Kousha Changizi, Andrew Sanchez
School: UC San Diego

The Red Cross of Tijuana is a nonprofit medical services provider that covers 98% of the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) requests in Tijuana, Mexico. They pilot only 17 ambulances to serve a population exceeding 1.8 million people. As a result, these conditions escalate emergency vehicle response times and impair EMS performance during everyday operations. Partnered with the Red Cross of Tijuana, ReEMS (Revolutionized Emergency Medical Services) aims to optimize the delivery and management of emergency services in Tijuana and other underserved communities worldwide by introducing cost-effective smartphone and cloud software. Their platform enables emergency medical personnel to make informed decisions during dispatch by providing them with tools to monitor, visualize, and dispatch EMS vehicles in real time. ReEMS expects to decrease EMS vehicle response durations by over 50%, improving access to and reliability of health care for millions of people in underserved communities.
Solving the Arsenic Problem in Rural California (3rd Place)
Team Members: Dana Hernandez, Siva Rama Satyam Bandaru, Lucas Duffy, JP Daniel
School: UC Berkeley

About 55,000 people in California rely on arsenic contaminated groundwater as their primary source of drinking water. The small water systems serving these disadvantaged communities lack the technical, managerial, and financial capacity to implement a sustainable solution that would provide arsenic-safe drinking water. Thus, there is a need for an affordable, compact, and continuous-flow technology for these communities exposed to arsenic, a potent carcinogen. Air Cathode Assisted Iron Electrocoagulation (ACAIE) effectively removes high arsenic concentrations from synthetic groundwater to levels below EPA’s Maximum Contaminant Level of 10 parts per billion. Conducting a pilot study at a school site will demonstrate the technical efficacy and robustness of ACAIE. In addition, an educational campaign will increase public awareness and knowledge on the arsenic problem in rural California, empowering rural communities that currently lack their human right to safe drinking water.
Carenea: Redefining the Storage of Cornea Transplants (Honorable Mention)
Team Members: Christina Kong, Shreya Condamoor
School: UC Irvine

The standard for corneal storage requires preservation in solutions at 4 degrees Celsius for a maximum of 7-14 days. In developing countries, eye banks struggle with proper refrigeration and the high demand for corneas. They often resort to importing corneas, which are costly and have a shorter shelf life due to transport time. As a result, there is a critical shortage of corneas with 1 cornea for every 70 individuals in need. Micronanobubbles (MNBs) are gaseous vehicles that can carry oxygen within solutions for a prolonged period of time. In transplant solutions, MNBs may meet the oxygen demand of corneal cells, increasing cell survival and extending corneal shelf life. Increased oxygenation may also decrease the need for refrigeration as cells at room temperature, which have higher metabolic demand, would have enough oxygen. If eye banks in developing countries have MNBs, more patients may get the care they need.
TyphGen; A Better Point Of Care Diagnostic For Typhoid Fever (Honorable Mention)
Team Members: Sharon Bright Amanya, Rendani Manenzhe, Brenda Nakandi, Brian Nyiro, Joshua Obura
School: Makerere University

Typhoid remains a major public health threat in Uganda contributing to 36% of all fever-related illnesses. It was responsible for the outbreak that affected over 1,000 individuals within Kampala city in 2015. Typhoid is a curable disease with good treatment outcomes if the diagnosis is made early. However, in Uganda there are major challenges with diagnostics. The most widely used test (Widal test) has low accuracy (5.7%) and the World Health Organization has discouraged its use, while the gold standard test (Bacterial culture) takes several days to produce results, is expensive and not readily available. This ultimately leads to delay of appropriate treatment, long waiting hours and inappropriate use of antibiotics that could potentially lead to drug resistance. The Big Idea is to develop TyphGen, a point of care diagnostic that uses DNA detection techniques to diagnose Typhoid in 90 minutes with >90% accuracy at an estimated cost of $12 per test.


Respira Labs (1st Place)
Team Members: Nikhil Chacko, Nerjada Maksutaj, Maria Artunduaga
School: UC Berkeley

Today, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) affects 25 million Americans and costs the healthcare system nearly $50 billion a year. Respira Labs’ COPD management platform is based on a novel technology which instead of merely listening for changes in breathing like other wearable tools, emits sound from small sensors to capture personalized lung volume profiles based on resonance. This allows the technology to detect air trappings (abnormal increase in volume of residual air in the lungs after exhalation) which signals an exacerbation. Intelligent algorithms will flag patients in danger of readmission before acute symptoms arise, enable home-based intervention, cut hospital readmission costs, and reduce provider and payer healthcare bills. Initial customers will include heads of telemedicine who run hospital remote patient monitoring systems and who will champion adoption of the Respira Labs solution. Platform users are primary care physicians, pulmonologists, nurse practitioners, respiratory therapists, and post-hospital discharge COPD patients.

Isochoric Organ Preservation System: A Thermodynamic Approach to Saving Lives (2nd Place)
Team Members: Alvina Kam, Matthew Powell-Palm, Gideon Ukpai
School: UC Berkeley

Of the over 114,000 patients in the United States on the national transplant list, twenty die every day while waiting for an organ transplant, and every ten minutes another patient is added. Due to shortcomings in current organ preservation techniques, transplantation is prohibitively expensive, limited geographically to areas with large donor pools, and incredibly inefficient. This is driven by the short window of viability of organs after removal, on the order of four to six hours for hearts and lungs. Extending this viability from a few hours to a few days could transform the accessibility and affordability of organ transplantation, and could prevent up to 30% of all deaths in the US. The team has developed a novel solid-state device based on emergent thermodynamic principles. The isochoric cryopreservation chamber is capable of preserving live organs for long periods of time, which the team believes has the potential to transform the modern medical industry.
Sonic Eyewear Project (2nd Place)
Team Members: Darryl Diptee, Jack Wallis, Arnav Gulati, Fatima Perez Sastre
School: UC Berkeley

1.3 million people suffered from blindness in America in 2010 and that number is expected to triple by 2050. Many blind people click with their tongue as a means of soliciting echos from the environment which are processed by their brain and used to locate objects and navigate. While it has been shown to be extremely effective, the technique is difficult to master. The optimal clicking frequency is a critical part of the technique and is a challenge for many to learn. Sonic Eyewear looks like a regular pair of sunglasses that automates the clicking process by generating the optimal frequency of clicks on-demand. It sends forward-looking directional clicks when the user lightly taps her jaw to activate the signal. The technology leverages the power of the human brain to perform echolocation, which competitors have failed to do.
Fractal: Acoustic detection and monitoring of bone fractures (3rd Place)
Team Members: Emily Huynh
School: UC Berkeley

Two-thirds of the world lacks access to basic medical imaging equipment, which is an essential cornerstone for modern medical diagnostics. Due in part to a lack of access to basic x-ray technology in two-thirds of the world, fractures often mean a lifelong disability with devastating socioeconomic complications. In order to mitigate this gap in healthcare, Fractal provides underdeveloped countries and remote settings with an inexpensive, trusted tool for diagnosing and monitoring bone fractures. Fractal sends an acoustic signal through the bone, which is analyzed for sound transmission and frequency changes. The device is currently being tested on patients at the University of California, San Francisco with the aim to facilitate better care and outcomes for patients with plans for further development.
Project Sparthan (3rd Place)
Team Members: Davide Asnaghi, Alex Wong
School: UC Berkeley

More than 3,000 children are born every year with a congenital limb deficiency in the United States alone. These children will change their prosthetics devices once every 6 months, making the purchase of a high-end prosthesis unaffordable for most families. Affordable 3D printers have spawned numerous customizable and very affordable prosthetic hand models. These devices can be modified to fit the children as they grow, at a relatively low price. However, these prosthetic hands leave a lot to be desired in terms of functionality. Most of these devices can only allow coarse finger control, placing it in stark contrast to commercial automatic hands. The Project Sparthan team is committed to taking the concept of modular prosthetics a step further, continuing to bridge the gap between expensive robotic arms and 3D printed prosthesis. This will be done through the design and development of Sparthan, a modular electronics kit, compatible with existing prosthetic hand models, which will enable intuitive hand control.


Doin’ Good: Mobile Makerspace & Education Center (1st Place)
Team Members: Payton Goodrich, Malte Hofmann, Jonas Michalzik
School: UC Berkeley

Of the ~200,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon between the ages of 18 and 25 years, only 4% have access to formal education. Many of the current education programs do not focus on hands-on technical education and are not designed to reach the remote areas, where most refugees live. The innovative approach to these challenges is a mobile makerspace & education center (MMEC). The MMEC will take form as a van equipped with tools and materials that drives to different settlements to teach young refugees craftsmanship skills, for example in woodworking or sewing. This will enable the participants to learn the skills required to seek employment, while at the same time building items they need to improve the living conditions in the camps, such as furniture or toys. The program intends to provide a novel, highly individualized approach to education for underserved populations.
My Earth (2nd Place)
Team Members: Cara Nolan, Jennifer Liu, Tamar Saunders
School: UC Berkeley

My Earth is a social enterprise that provides training and employment for Australia’s remote Indigenous communities in the construction industry. My Earth engages local people to construct low-cost but high-quality, environmentally-sustainable housing. It uses locally-sourced soil as the primary building material, in a technique called Compressed Earth Block (CEB) technology. This construction technique has been demonstrated in East Africa, but not widely adopted in Australia. CEB is a low-skill construction technique, which enables My Earth to engage people who may have missed out on a good education. The program uses a flexible, tiered training and employment model to lower the barriers to entry into the labor market. It starts with brick pressing and a builder-trainer program, and ultimately ongoing employment in local construction and maintenance. Its flexibility, direct linkage to a job pipeline, and commitment to community involvement, sets it apart from traditional remote workforce development projects.
Thrive Education (3rd Place)
Team Members: Jack Rolo, Joshua Curry, Meryll Dindin, Jolie Lam
School: UC Berkeley

Thrive is reinventing the evaluation process for Learning Differences (LDs) to unlock the incredible potential of students with LDs. Thrive provides comprehensive video evaluations for LDs, using Masters/PhD level psychology students to complete the bulk of the work (roughly 4 hours per test between the test administration and 15-page report write up), while limiting the very expensive post-PhD psychologists’ time to roughly 30 minutes of ‘interpreting’ the results. This reorganization of the testing-supply chain, enabled by the tests being administered via video-conferencing, allows for huge cost savings and dramatically increases access. Additionally, Thrive is implementing machine learning on top of the evaluation data extracted from videos to enable higher-accuracy evaluations than any current method. This technology will drastically drive down both the cost of evaluations and the misdiagnosis rate and will reveal an unprecedented level of insight into LDs.


Pit Vidura: Building the “Uber Pool” for Fecal Sludge Management (1st Place)
Team Members: Rachel Sklar, Sarah Lebu
School: UC Berkeley

In rapidly urbanizing areas, small exhauster truck businesses are unable to keep up with the demand for pit latrine emptying services due to inefficiencies in their operations. Thus, when a latrine fills in most low-income urban areas, manual emptiers use buckets to empty the waste and dump it in the environment. This results in high rates of diseases such as cholera and dysentery. Pit Vidura enables sanitation service providers to grow their businesses by improving the efficiency and profitability of their daily operations. Pit Vidura’s integrated suite of technologies connects truckers to customers, intelligently routes truckers to clusters of customers, and streamlines payments for emptying services. To date (March 2019), Pit Vidura has served over 1,200 households in Kigali with safe emptying services and prevented over 3 million liters of human waste from entering the urban environment.
Trash to Tiles (1st Place)
Team Members: Paige Balcom, Jeremy Lan, Stephanie Solove
School: UC Berkeley

Ugandans have second or third tier roofs. Trash to Tiles (T3) is repurposing plastic waste in developing nations to produce affordable, quality construction materials such as roofing tiles, pipes, and pavers. By operating in areas with large amounts of plastic waste but no access to recycling, T3 provides a recycling option that currently does not exist. T3’s locally fabricated, precision-controlled machinery fills the gap between capital-intensive, industrialized manufacturers and low-tech NGOs struggling to expand. T3 will scale rapidly and empower local entrepreneurs through a franchise model. In the pilot market of Gulu, Uganda, T3 created prototype roofing tiles and pavers and confirmed market demand through 200 interviews. T3 is currently developing the second iteration machinery and establishing a community plastics collection center to provide a steady supply of plastic waste.
Visualize (1st Place)
Team Members: Julia Kramer, Maria Young
School: UC Berkeley

Visualize is a simulated training tool designed to train midwives in Ghana to screen for cervical cancer using the most appropriate and accessible screening method, visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA). Using a simulated tool is a novel approach to improve learning and retention of cervical cancer screening methods in low- and middle-income countries. Leveraging funding from a previous Big Ideas grant, Visualize was co-designed with midwives in Ghana and has gone through multiple design iterations, based on feedback from Ghanaian midwives, trainers, OB/GYN doctors, and healthcare administrators at every stage. Now the team aims to scale Visualize by implementing and testing this simulated training tool as part of VIA training sessions at three urban health training facilities. During these sessions, trainers will use Visualize to teach midwives how to perform VIA. The midwives will then be able to screen patients using VIA.
ZestBio (1st Place)
Team Members: Luke Latimer, Ryan Protzko
School: UC Berkeley

ZestBio is a startup spun out of UC Berkeley that is harnessing the power of biology to convert low value, abundant fruit and vegetable byproducts like citrus peels and sugar beet pulp into high performing plastic bottles and ingredients for dishwasher detergents. This proposal aims to build off recent business and technical advances to scale the improved fermentation technology from bench to pilot scale. At scale, ZestBio aims to make products with superior performance and dramatically reduced environmental footprint compared to existing solutions.
Spotlight On Hope Film Camp (Honorable Mention)
Team Members: Cassie Nguyen, Ally Nguyen, Nhi Trinh
School: UC Riverside

Spotlight On Hope is free-of-cost and offers a unique and creative outlet through film and animation instruction for pediatric and young adult cancer patients and their families. Spotlight On Hope brings excitement, enjoyment and relaxation to patients through film production, enhancing their mental well-being, self-worth and skills during a particularly stressful and traumatic time of their lives. After 8-10 weekend film workshops have been carried out over the course of the year, a grand red carpet screening showcasing all the films is held for the participants, their families and friends, and the community to enjoy.