2011 Finalist Teams


2011 Intel + Berkeley Technology Entrepreneurship Challenge Participating Teams


ALGAN K.K. – Kyoto University, Japan
Info: hitora@algan.jp / http://algan.jp

The damaging effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation on humans—skin cancer, wrinkling, age spots, and vision loss—have long been known. But just how damaging the effects are at a particular time and location, as measured by an international standard known as the UV Index, has been difficult to calculate without large monochrometers and other digital processing equipment.  The innovators of ALGAN K.K. have developed a completely new photo-detecting technology to measure the UV index using tiny, brooch-like sensors instead of bulky monochrometers. The company is now constructing sensor networks, linked to weather forecast systems, which will enable the visualization of topographic images of the UV Index.  ALGAN K.K.’s goal is to forecast the dynamics of the UV Index and ozone holes worldwide, giving people the information they need to reduce radiation exposure and risks from UV in their daily lives.

aQuainnova – Sasin Graduate Institute of Business Administration, Thailand
Info: lanpingn@gmail.com

Shrimp farmers everywhere will appreciate aQuainnova, a team of entrepreneurs from Thailand. Early detection and identification of viral diseases is a key to preventing massive losses on the farms where shrimp are raised. aQuainnova plans to produce and market Genovex, a portable diagnostic tool with reagents specific for different shrimp viruses. The highly sensitive, user-friendly device provides superior laboratory-accurate identification of viruses more quickly and cheaply than other detection products on the market. As a result, viruses can be contained early, and shrimp farmers can avoid economic loss.  aQuainnova initially plans to target the massive shrimp industry in Thailand, where the market size for viral detection devices is estimated at $60 million (U.S.). The young entrepreneurs also have their eyes on the total $304 million international shrimp virus detection market—including Vietnam, Indonesia, and China, where shrimp production has been seriously impacted by recent viral outbreaks.

ARound (NeurON) -- Gdansk University of Technology, Poland
Info:  lmiadowicz@around.com.pl / around.com.pl

Imagine placing an object into your surroundings. Imagine making that object move, rotate, and disappear. That’s what The ARound team aims to do—turn imagination into augmented reality (AR) with a product called NeurON.  NeurON will combine software with an electroencephalographic (EEG) headset and AR eyeglasses. NeurON users will be able to control virtual content that will appear on the glasses or a computer monitor using their thoughts, emotions, and facial expressions. ARound founders envision multiple applications for the product, including gaming, where players will be able to use their minds to place virtual content on top of their real worlds. The ARound team has built an AR engine, and is now preparing a prototype that incorporates the EEG headset.

Bife – National University of La Plata, Argentina
Info:  dslobinsky@bi-fe.com / http://bi-fe.com/

Highly complex computing tasks—like climate simulations, pharmaceutical testing, or risk assessments—require tremendous amounts of computing power. Completing such tasks on a typical desktop or laptop could take hours, days, or weeks. While working as an experimental physicist, one of the founders of Bife experienced firsthand the delays caused by lack of access to high-performance computing resources. He talked about the problem with colleagues, and they came up with an innovative way to provide personal supercomputing power at a reasonable cost. The Bife team uses the term “bothware” to describe their personal supercomputing product, which combines hardware and software. The solution is based on highly optimized processor architecture designed by Bife that can be reconfigured for each application. The use of the reconfigurable technology enables Bife to offer supercomputing power in a package the size of an external hard drive, making it truly portable and personal.

BioPaint, Inc. – University of California, San Francisco, USA
Info: Michael.Page@ucsf.edu

Test-tube analysis of blood drawn from a heart attack victim gives useful—but not necessarily complete— diagnostic information.  BioPaint, Inc. helps physicians measure clotting as it occurs in blood flowing through the cardiovascular system, revealing a more accurate picture of what is occurring in a patient’s body in real time.  BioPaint achieves this breakthrough with its CardioPaint technology, which enables physicians to “paint” sites in the body using a non-toxic, non-interfering agent, and then view what is happening in the cardiovascular system using the biomedical imaging equipment available in most hospitals. The entrepreneurs of BioPaint aim to use CardioPaint technology to improve the existing diagnostic algorithms and current standard of care for millions of patients who have heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases. They also plan to apply the technology to gain fundamental insights into the creation of next-generation treatment agents.

BUCKY'o'ZUN – Aarhus University, Denmark
Info:  sara.naseri@bucky.dk / www.buckyozun.com

The entrepreneurs of BUCKY‘o’ZUN initially wanted to cure skin cancer, but instead came up with a product to help prevent the disease altogether. Their unique chemical compound provides continuous protection against 99.99 % of all UV-radiation at a lower price than other formulations on the market. The compound can be added to sun lotions, anti-aging creams, and hair-care products, helping to protect humans from the damaging effects of the sun. It can also extend the life of paints, car coatings, plastics, awnings, clothing, leather, and other products by helping to prevent fading and decomposition caused by solar radiation. The project began while the inventors were still in high school, and rapidly turned into a serious business with external financing, patent applications, and contacts with researchers around the world.

CeelBio – Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil
Info:  ceelbio@institutoebt.com.br / http://www.ceelbio.com.br/
Dental implant surgery often involves an autograft, through which the jawbone is augmented by adding bone harvested from another site in the patient’s body. The addition of the second surgical site generally means more discomfort and expense for the patient. CeelBio founders plan to market an advanced form of bioglass, a biomaterial that can be used instead of natural bone to promote bone regeneration. Bioglass reacts with blood plasma, inducing bone formation, and is naturally absorbed by the body until it is completely replaced by the patient’s own bone tissue. CeelBio’s exclusive version of bioglass can incorporate controlled release drugs such as antibiotics, growth factors, and anti-inflammatories. The incorporation of complementary drugs is possible because of its own innovative, low-energy synthesis process.

EXOMAN – Saint-Petersburg State Polytechnical University, Russia
Info:  ivan@yandex.ru

People equipped with EXOMAN may not be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, but they can take on superhuman-like strength. Drawing inspiration from science fiction books and computer games, team EXOMAN has developed a powered exoskeleton that humans can wear to enable them to carry heavier loads. The exoskeleton has a simple, modular design (e.g., hand and foot modules can be licensed), a long running time, and a larger load-carrying capacity than other solutions currently available. EXOMAN entrepreneurs envision military, emergency management, and construction industry applications for the exoskeleton machine. In the case of a building collapse, for example, timely clearing of debris is critical to saving the lives of people trapped inside. EXOMAN entrepreneurs estimate that rescue workers equipped with exoskeletons would be able to clear obstructions in a third less time than those without.

FLICKS – University of Porto, Portugal
Info: flickssystems@gmail.com / www.flickssystems.com / Twitter: @FLICKSSYSTEMS

Unchecked wildfires can cause devastating loss of life, property, and biodiverse habitats, while spewing greenhouse gases, particulate matter, and other pollutants into the atmosphere. To help keep small wildfires from becoming major disasters, FLICKS has developed an advanced fire prevention system that not only detects wildfires early, but also provides critical information about how to contain them effectively. The solution has autonomous detection units that share information wirelessly and an integrated expert decision system based on neural networks that helps determine the best routes and equipment needed to fight a fire.  The FLICKS innovative solution is designed with reliability and scalability in mind, and has detection units suitable for a variety of environments - from forests to industrial parks. The fire prevention system is part of the FLICKS team’s plan to become a global leading provider of technology solutions that protect the environment and build more sustainable communities. FLICKS, for a greener planet!

Forward (Gaitu) -- Wuhan University, China
Info:  kf@gaitu.com / www.gaitu.com

Gaitu enables consumers to add special effects to photos without expensive, difficult-to-use photo-editing software. Gaitu is an integrated, e-commerce platform for the Chinese market that matches people who have image processing needs with designers who provide those services. Customers simply upload photos to the Gaitu site, and designers do the rest.  Gaitu also provides image-sharing services, and taps into the derivatives market by enabling people to turn their edited photos into oil paintings or have them printed on mugs or other merchandise. In addition, Gaitu offers design services, such as business card and logo design, and integrates printing and logistics resources to provide online printing. In the end, Gaitu will simplify every aspect of image processing for consumers as the first company in China to offer one-stop service from design through printing. 

Herbatica – ELPM (Lyon, France), Lebanon
Info:  contact@herbaticalb.com / www.herbaticalb.com

The founders of Herbatica are specialists in aromatherapy, herbal medicine, and naturopathy. They plan to establish a research and test center, where they will work to advance the understanding of the powerful healing qualities of herbs. They are developing a line of herbal products for consumers in Lebanon and other Arab countries who seek to strengthen their immune systems and keep their skin healthy and young-looking using natural remedies. Among their products are nutritional beverages, foods, and supplements—pickles, jams, peppers, honeys, royal jelly, ginseng, pollen, vitamins, and more—as well as herbal-based skin creams and medicinal oils. Team members carefully track the origin of each plant used in their products, and, unlike herbal products sold in superstores, all Herbatica products are manufactured without preservatives and chemicals.

Kaleidoscope – Turkey
Info: info@kaleidoscope-tech.com / http://www.kaleidoscope-tech.com
The Kaleidoscope team is developing VeinScreen, a simple, inexpensive hardware and software device used to obtain infrared images and other information about the location and condition of blood vessels. VeinScreen will help phlebotomists locate blood vessels to draw blood, and aid medical personnel performing intravenous procedures.  The Kaleidoscope team plans to develop and market additional related devices, such as vein imaging tools that will work with smartphones and tablet computers, enabling remote diagnoses and home care. The devices will enable, for example, telemedicine follow-up for diabetic patients. Another market might be biometric security, as blood vessel patterning offers a better way to identify people than iris or fingerprint technologies. In addition, the Kaleidoscope team is also designing an infrared colonoscope, which will be safer and more accurate than the tools now used in hospitals.

KidBox – Universidad ORT, Uruguay
Info: martin@kidbox.net / kidbox.net

KidBox’s founders have a mission to keep children safe on the Internet. Working with educational psychologists and teachers, they are developing an application that will serve up existing content—Internet sites, videos, and games—appropriate for children according their age, nationality, interests, and other needs. KidBox will essentially transform a PC into a kid-friendly system with Internet access limited to content personalized for a specific child.  The solution will enable parents to set limits on a child’s Internet usage (amount of time, hours of use, etc.), and view reports that detail a child’s online activities. A scalable interface will enable very young children to access KidBox in a pictorial way; as children acquire reading skills, KidBox will offer a more complete graphical user interface with additional functions. Initial versions of KidBox are being designed for households with children in 15 countries where Spanish or Portuguese is spoken. The company is developing a desktop application, as well as a mobile version for tablets and smartphones.

Lapatronix -- De La Salle University, Philippines
Info:  jmanaragon@yahoo.com.ph

Compared to conventional surgical techniques, laparoscopic procedures cause far less trauma to patients, resulting in faster healing and shorter hospital stays. Only three small incisions are made in the patient—one for a tiny camera that serves as the eyes of a surgeon, and two that are entry points for surgical tools controlled by the surgeon externally.  One limitation of laparoscopic procedures is the limited movements of the tools involved. Most laparoscopic tools allow only one degree of freedom, so the surgeon must compensate for the lack of movement with his or her arms, often resulting in awkward or painful positions. The Lapatronix team has developed a jointed, articulating laparoscopic tool that offers a more ergonomic handle and four degrees of movement: bending, shaft rotation, tip rotation, and grasping. The Lapatronix instrument designed by Lapatronix has been tested, and feedback has been positive from doctors, who appreciate the enhanced comfort that the device provides.

Lifeware S.A.C. -- Universidad Technica Federico Santa Maria, Chile
Info:  contacto@lifeware.cl / www.lifeware.cl

Social networking. Online classes. Telecommuting. Virtual travel. Computers and the Internet bring a whole new world of possibilities to us, right in our own homes. People with disabilities that prevent them from using a keyboard or mouse, however, may not be able to access those possibilities. The Lifeware S.A.C. team is changing that through software that allows people to control a computer using their brainwaves.  The team’s LifewareIntegra software works with a neuroheadset device manufactured by another company. The headset captures neck movements and electrical signals produced by the brain.  The software essentially translates the captured information into mouse clicks and strokes of an on-screen keyboard, enabling the user to access a computer and its applications. LifewareIntegra currently works as a background desktop application and is compatible with any application supported by the Windows* operating system. The solution has already undergone substantial testing, and has been positively reviewed by several organizations that serve the needs of people with disabilities.

MATE -- Sichuan University, China
Info:  WestChinaMate@163.com / www.facebook.com/matechina / Twitter: @MateChina

Recognizing the toll that excessive drinking has on society, entrepreneurs at MATE are working to help people break their addiction to alcohol. Using genetic engineering protein technology, they have developed a way to mass produce the ALDH enzymes that form the basis of an anti-alcohol drug. In the past, ALDH-based drugs have proven quick and effective in the treatment of alcoholism, but have been expensive to produce. MATE’s process enables cost-effective production of ALDH, which, in turn, can lower the costs of the drugs that incorporate the enzymes. MATE plans to offer various advanced medical enzyme products produced in an environmentally friendly manner.


Maxygen-mobile DNA tests -- Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia
Info:  valery@maxygen.ru / maxygen.ru

Infectious diseases and genetic predispositions can be identified by performing DNA tests on a patient’s blood or other biological sample. Unfortunately, conventional equipment for DNA testing is expensive, so patient samples must often be sent to centralized facilities where the analysis is performed. The result is added costs and delays in test results.  Maxygen has developed a low-cost, fast DNA test solution that can be used at the point of care (POC)—in private medical practices, small and medium-sized medical centers, rural sites, etc. Previous POC DNA-based devices have proven prohibitively expensive and difficult to use, and require 40 minutes or more to yield results. The Maxygen solution incorporates several innovations in both device engineering and DNA testing chemistry that make it portable, inexpensive and easy to use.  Medical personnel simply place the biological sample in a disposable Maxygen cartridge, and load the cartridge into the Maxygen test device. The device automatically performs all tests and displays the results within 10 minutes. The Maxygen has been validated to accurately detect most infectious diseases, thousands of predispositions and hereditary diseases, and more than 100 pathogens of farm animals and plants.


MicroMed -- IIT Kharagpur, India
Info:  sushantgupta@gmail.com

Laboratory personnel performing clinical diagnostic tests, such as analyzing blood, generally add certain chemicals to body fluids in test tubes or flasks, and then observe the reactions. MicroMed seeks to replace conventional lab analysis with a more efficient, cost-effective process.  With the MicroMed solution, lab personnel put the patient’s serum and required chemicals at indicated places on a specially designed MicroMed CD, and then mount it to the MicroMed base. The base has a rotating platform that manipulates fluid samples in a rapid, controlled manner. Lab technicians then observe the resulting reactions and prepare the patient’s lab report. By automating the chemical reaction process, labs will save time and reduce costs.


NanoDiagX – American University in Cairo, Egypt
Info: hazzazy@aucegypt.edu / http://www.wix.com/tmsamir/nanodiagx
The hepatitis C virus (HCV) infects some 200 million people worldwide. Early identification and treatment of infected patients is critical to reducing transmission of the disease, but conventional detection of active HCV generally requires two tests. Using gold nanoparticles, NanoDiagX has developed the HCV nanogold test, which detects the disease in less than an hour at one-tenth the cost of current commercial tests. NanoDiagX expects that the nanogold test will notably improve global efforts to combat the spread of HCV, particularly in parts of the world where infection rates are high, but resources limited. The company also plans to adapt its technology for detection of other infectious agents such as tuberculosis and cancer biomarkers.


NextDrop – University of California, Berkeley, USA
Info: team@nextdrop.org / http://nextdrop.org / Twitter: @nextdrop

In many parts of the developing world, piped water is available only during unpredictable, intermittent intervals. Local people may spend hours next to taps, waiting and watching for water, and are sometimes forced to purchase water from expensive private suppliers or use water from unsafe sources. NextDrop has developed a solution that saves time and reduces stress for consumers, while enabling utilities to manage water supplies better.  NextDrop partners with local utilities, who provide input on their schedules and require that their employees notify NextDrop’s interactive voice response (IVR) system when they open water supply valves both at the neighborhood level and one step up in the distribution system. NextDrop uses the data to notify consumers up to an hour before water will be available at nearby taps. The IVR system also enables consumers to provide feedback about water availability back to utilities. The system aggregates all inputs for utility engineers, who can more accurately track the status of valves throughout the community in real-time using a web-based dashboard, helping to ensure compliance with set schedules.


Nitrate Production System -- Queen Rania Center for Entrepreneurship, Jordan
Info: hkattab@gmail.com

Some 100 million tons of nitrogen-based fertilizer are produced annually through a process that relies heavily on petroleum byproducts, namely natural gas. As such, fertilizer production generally occurs near oil refineries and its cost is tied to oil prices. Entrepreneurs from Jordan have developed and patented a process for producing nitrate in a water solution, resulting in cleaner, less expensive production and a more natural fertilizer for plants.  The water-based Nitrate Production System requires only modest amounts of power, which can be supplied by solar or other green sources of energy. Developers say that production could occur in self-contained, self-operated units that could be purchased affordably by individual farmers, or in strategically located facilities supporting wider geographical areas. In either case, the environmental impact and costs of fertilizer production could decrease, and fewer people around the world might go hungry.


Now.in -- Feng Chia University, Taiwan
Info:  ken.now.in@gmail.com / http://now.in

With Now.in, anyone can become a radio DJ or talk-show host. Would-be broadcasters simply download Now.in software to create their own radio station—avoiding the time-consuming, expensive process of setting up a traditional radio station. Now.in stations are accessible to listeners through the Internet and mobile devices; think of them as “audio blogs” that enable people to talk, tell a story, sing a song, or spread knowledge to others in real-time—making the concept of citizen journalism a reality. The software includes features that measure audience size and enable two-way communication that closely links broadcasters and listeners.  During Now.in’s first year-and-a-half, people in more than 100 countries created more than 100,000 Now.in radio stations. The company says that the growing popularity of Internet radio—and the advertising opportunities it presents—make now the time to move into the online broadcasting industry.


Object Guidance (QualityMonitor) -- University of Chile, Chile
Info:  alexandre.bergel@me.com

Software engineers may spend years developing complex, custom applications to control a particular company’s production line or manage its business functions. Over time, revisions to the software are made and new features are added to keep up with evolving products and business conditions. Maintenance of the software becomes increasingly difficult, time-consuming, and expensive, as the original source code is buried under layers of changes.
The entrepreneurs of Object Guidance have developed QualityMonitor to help companies detect and address problems with software. QualityMonitor analyzes applications using corporate programming conventions and delivers visualizations of the internal code, making it easier to perform maintenance and upgrades. A large European auto maker has already successfully used QualityMonitor to identify and address quality issues with the massive software code used to control its production line.



Photo-Genie – Technion, Israel
Info: Photo.Genie@yahoo.com

Looking pale? Having a bad hair day? Missing your supermodel vibe? No problem, with Photo Genie, which makes everybody photogenic.  When you’re capturing a special moment with your camera, sometimes you have only one shot.  Photo Genie will ensure that your one shot becomes a great photograph. Photo Genie is supplementary software/hardware technology that applies computer vision and image processing algorithms to photos of people, making everyone look their best. Your friends and family will still look like themselves—but better—without costly retouching or the use of complex photo editing software. Photo Genie entrepreneurs say that the technology can be built into high-end digital cameras, computers, and mobile devices, and for low-end devices, made available as a cloud service.


PolySol – India
Info: vivepatel@gmail.com / www.polysol.in

For many people, coconuts invoke thoughts of swaying island palm trees or rich, chewy cookies. But for the entrepreneurs of PolySol, coconuts bring something entirely different to mind: biodegradable polymers.  Recognizing the harmful impact that plastics have on our environment, team PolySol has blended coconut husks, starch, and nanomaterials to develop an alternative material for use in packaging, engineered fabrics, consumer goods, personal hygiene products, medical implants, and numerous other industries. In addition to being recyclable, PolySol’s patentable polymer decomposes much faster than most plastics, potentially reducing the amount of solid waste in landfills. The polymer is also cost-effective and lightweight, and it provides an excellent barrier to moisture, solvents, and gases.  And, because it is based on natural and renewable sources rather than fossil fuels, the polymer may help combat global warming and environmental degradation by preventing emissions of CO2, greenhouse gases, and volatile organic compounds. PolySol entrepreneurs hope to capitalize on the increasing demand for environmental-friendly materials, noting that the market for biodegradable polymers has shown double-digit growth for several years.

Russian3DScanner -- Voronezh State University, Russia
Info: Neo307@yandex.ru / www.russian3dscanner.com

Creating a precise, movie-quality 3D image of people or objects generally requires scanning hardware that costs thousands of dollars and is filled with delicate optical equipment. The entrepreneurs of Russian3DScanner have developed an alternative, recognizing that people in many fields—game development, medicine, engineering, etc.—could use an affordable way to create professional-quality 3D models of objects.  Russian3DScanner is a software product that enables users to effectively turn ordinary cameras and projectors into 3D-scanning systems. Unlike passive camera-based 3D scanners on the market, Russian3DScanner uses active 3D scanning technology, which yields more precise, complex models that rival those produced by highly paid specialists using professional equipment. Russian3D software comes in versions that support Canon, Nikon, or high-speed machine vision cameras used for scanning human bodies. After installing and calibrating the software on a computer, the user can quickly turn images of objects from these cameras into 3D models. The product is designed to be user friendly, in keeping with the Russian3DScanner entrepreneurs’ goal of bringing active 3D scanning technology to everyone.

TruthTech – Tsinghua University, China
Info:  TruthTech.THU@gmail.com

What does your finger feel when you launch the birds or slice the fruit while playing the most popular games on iPad?  Just a flat, cold surface, but TruthTech’s current-simulating haptic technology will end this. Touching it, the world is inside.  Touch screen devices currently lack the physical feedback that humans frequently need to fully understand the context of their interactions.  TruthTech’s current-simulating haptic technology can enhance the user experience through: improved usability, enhanced realism, and restoration of abundant haptic effects. The technology creates fulfilling multi-modal experiences that improve usability by engaging touch, sight and sound. As a result, Angry Birds will feel more bird-like, as your fingertips will be able to sense the configuration and texture of digital objects on the screen as well as feel the action and nuance of the application. TruthTech entrepreneurs also believe that their technology may someday bring the benefits of latest touch panel devices to people who are blind.

ValleyFeed -- American University of Beirut, Saudi Arabia / Lebanon
Info:  tariq.buhilaigah@gmail.com

In a medical emergency, prompt treatment can mean the difference between life and death. The ValleyFeed team aims to shorten the time to treatment by giving paramedics and emergency room personnel immediate access to a patient’s medical history and insurance records. ValleyFeed is developing a battery-powered biometric fingerprint scanner that will be used to identify and match a patient to his or her electronic health record. The portable scanner will be linked wirelessly to a nationwide database where the electronic health records are stored. In an instant, emergency medical personnel at an accident scene, in an ambulance, or in an emergency room will be able to view a patient’s age, allergies, medications, medical history, and insurance coverage.  ValleyFeed founders believe that the solution will not only enable faster treatment, but will also reduce treatment errors caused by lack of knowledge about a patient’s medical history.  The team is currently seeking patents for the product, and hopes to launch it in Lebanon before expanding to other countries.

WeDecide -- Denmark
Info: wedecide.net / Twitter: @We_Decide

For most companies, sustained success rests on innovation—a strong stream of new ideas that become profitable products or services. Identifying ideas with the greatest potential, however, can be a time-consuming process involving brainstorming sessions, focus groups, and long debates.  WeDecide helps organizations engage those most likely to have the best ideas—employees and customers—in a fun and efficient, game-like innovation process.  WeDecide clients rent access to a web-based innovation platform that functions something like a stock market for ideas. Through the WeDecide web platform, employees, customers, and other stakeholders are assigned credits that they can “invest” by proposing new ideas or buying shares in previously posted ones. Those who propose or invest in winning ideas receive rewards. The result? Organizations tap into the collective creativity of many people, stakeholders can share their opinions and have a voice in the company’s direction, and strong teams form as people become co-owners and champions of ideas.



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