Innovative ideas shine when they balance the excitement of being new with the ability to create impact. The grand prize winner of the 2021 Science & Technology Showcase (STS) at the University of Washington excels in both categories. Judges awarded Puget Buoy the $2,000 Glympse Grand Prize for its beneficial and affordable system for crabbers that reduces whale and marine life entanglements. The team also won one of the $200 Davis Wright Tremaine category prizes (Best Presentation) at the 15th annual event—co-hosted by the UW Science and Engineering Business Association (SEBA) and the Foster School’s Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship.
The 2021 STS competition achieved two significant event milestones. This year was entirely virtual for the first time and the prize pool was doubled thanks to the generosity and support of sponsors (detailed below). Overall, nearly $5,000 was awarded.
The $1,000 FreightWeb Second Place Prize went to Novoloom for its virtual bespoke fashion platform. Novoloom allows users to design and customize an article of clothing and even try it on in an augmented reality fitting room, before sharing the renders to Novoloom’s social feed. The team also won the $200 Davis Wright Tremaine Prize for Most Enthusiastic Team.
The $700 WRF Capital Third Place Prize went to ExpressiveTech for its handheld “pain diary”. The medical device aims to standardize the patient pain scale to provide a succinct and accurate report to doctors.
In addition to those noted above, three additional category prize were also awarded. The $200 Davis Wright Tremaine Most Innovative Prize went to Nascent Diagnostics for its biosensor innovation that can detect early-stage cancer biomarkers. Judges awarded the $200 DWT Best Marketing Strategy Prize to Hatch for its online platform aimed at managing groups and recruiting new members efficiently. Finally, the $200 DWT Prize for Best Pitch was awarded to ProtectIV for its solution to the issue of infiltration, which can be both costly and hard to detect quickly in both rural and urban hospital settings.
The 2021 STS featured 16 finalist teams using the Remo virtual platform to interact with judges at individual tables before making a 60-second pitch to the group as a whole. The annual showcase shines a spotlight on science- and technology-based innovations coming out of the University while providing students with the opportunity to pitch their commercial potential. Seattle-area entrepreneurs and investors served as judges and provided feedback and mentorship.
Many of the STS competitors and the teams formed at the event are expected to compete in the 2021 Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge on Wednesday, March 3, the 2021 Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge on Thursday, April 1, and the multi-stage Dempsey Startup Competition in mid-April and May.
Recent STS competitors including Aquagga (2020), AeroSpec (2020), SENSOL Systems (2020), ApnoMed (2020), Spira (2020), Nanodropper (2019), Chibage Chip (2019), 4th Phase (2018), A-Alpha Bio (2017), PlayGait (2017), EpiForAll (2017), mIPS Labs (2016), and many others have gone on to launch, earn investments, and/or earn additional prize money in the Buerk Center competitions listed above, as well as the Jones + Foster Accelerator.
This year’s STS was also notable for the mix of teams creating innovative consumer products (3), medical devices (11), and environmentally-focused solutions (2) among other sectors. A complete list of teams and the abbreviations of the short descriptions they provided in their application are listed below.
– Betawatch created an app that builds upon pre-existing technology, specifically Continuous Glucose Monitors, and serves as a central hub for patients’ information allowing them to do multiple things including quickly communicate any concerns to their Primary Care Providers.
– ExpressiveTech pain diary is a handheld medical device that standardizes the patient pain scale and allows the device to provide a succinct report to doctors.
– An environmental solution for plastic that converts it into a fertilizer like substance.
– Hatch is social recruitment software for groups designed to connect and empower where all of a group’s members can see profiles of potential recruits.
– A hearing protection earmuff that reduces noise and informs the user of improper fit regarding hearing protection.
– NaireAtive is a solution that streamlines medical documentation for physicians by automating the clinical narrative creation process from patient survey results.
– A powerful biosensor that can detect early-stage cancer biomarkers.
– Novoloom is a virtual bespoke fashion platform where users can virtually design, try on, and share clothing choices.
– OsmoProcessor is a novel, low-cost bio-specimen processor that concentrate the urinary LAM biomarker and remove background inhibitory factors without requiring a power source.
– ProtectIVe secures the IV and monitors for infiltration with the aim of being applicable in low resource settings.
– The Puget Buoy System provides crabbers with an affordable alternative that both reduces whale entanglements and prevents gear loss.
– Sensit-IV is a diagnostic device for bedside evaluation of shock and capillary permeability.
– An over-the-counter, custom-fitted hearing aid and accompanying app that costs a fraction of currently prescribed hearing aids.
– Streamlined management and communication to hotels through a network of mobile management solutions for employees and managers.
– TrachTech is a device that reduces the risk of ventilator associated pneumonia.
– A continuous, non-invasive method of measuring blood pressure, enabling anesthesiologists to provide all patients with optimally safe care including Bluetooth capability.