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Idea Competition Fall 2013

The Sports Zone was yet again packed for UMBC’s fall Idea Competition held on November 11th. Over 40 ideas were submitted and the Top Ten were selected for the final competition. Due to a last minute withdrawal, only 9 ideas were pitched to a standing room only crowd and a panel of three judges. Contestants were given a strict 3 minutes to present their ideas; those who went over heard the piercing sound of an air horn.

The big winners of the night were Kyran Richardson and Percy Addo. Their idea, Insource, creates a web based space that will provide students with an efficient way of recruiting individuals with desirable skill sets at UMBC. Through the utilization of collaborative tools like video conferencing and document sharing, Insource will provide users with the resources they need to connect, collaborate, and make projects and ideas come to life. “Insource makes collaboration between students a click and a step away,” said Richardson. Addo said that he and Richardson were “ecstatic and honored to have been chosen as the top idea.” Their award earned them $750.

The ideas this year varied drastically. Many implemented the skills of the universities engineering students, while others worked to make UMBC an even better experience.

Markus Proctor kicked off the night with his idea, BrainCAD: Computer Aided Design Software that is powered mainly by your thoughts and brain waves. Sounds crazy, I know, but there is hard science behind it and a working demo http://www.globatum.com/braincad. Other engineering ideas included The SJ Helmet, an idea presented by Abdulhadi Al Ruwaithi. The motorcycle style helmet has airbags inside that, in the course of an accident, will inflate and help protect the wearer. Cody Kenlak had a solution for finding the right music for every occasion, he calls it Dynamic Beatz.

Ideas to make UMBC a better and safer place are always crowd favorites, Emily Schultheis pitched her idea to bring 3D printing to every student at UMBC and a method for the  university to generate funds to pay for it. Mohammed Akbar suggested that we “bring carpooling to UMBC” with his idea, Instaride. Jennifer Lasbury spoke to the crowd about SPEAKedu, which focused on the benefits and need for student education about sexual harassment. It was good enough to win her $250 and a third place title.

Also working to make UMBC more progressive and innovative is Perry Ogwuche. He realizes that UMBC is a place of untapped potential so he decided to bring *hack to UMBC*. He got LOTS of questions from the judges and attendees! In the end, Ogwuche won most creative pitch and a cash award of $250. Best of all, HackUMBC http://www.hackumbc.org/ launches this coming weekend, December 6-7, 2013. “It is a great feeling to get awarded for best presentation. I was not expecting it and it came as quite the surprise,” said Ogwuche after the competition was complete.

The second place winner, Titus Jones, won $500 for his idea called ChatSeats  http://www.chatseats.org. The goal of Chatseats is to connect people – it’s a way to have a great conversation with a total stranger. Jones said, “It’s a way to casually meet awesome new people right in the midst of our busy lives.” ChatSeats is currently being piloted at TrueGrits. Check it out – sit down, start a conversation, and make new friends!

With the upcoming launch of the new entrepreneurial active learning workspace on campus, Entrespace, we expect to see many of this year’s contestants working to make their ideas become a reality.

A special thanks to alums Chris Brandenburg (former CTO of Millennial Media), Corey Fleischer (winner of The Big Brain Theory), and Zuly Gonzalez (Co-founder & COO of Light Point Security), who were our judges for this year’s Idea Competition. And to all the students who came out to listen and help select the winners!