A flying camera released from a mountain climber’s wrist to shoot an awe-inspiring selfie and a high-quality robotic hand manufactured through lower-cost 3-D printing are among the futuristic product ideas offered by 10 finalists in the Intel Make It Wearable Challenge.
The competition—anchored by an intensive incubation process run out of the Berkeley-Haas Lester Center for Entrepreneurship—showcases the latest advances in wearable technology, challenging teams to build products that fit into people’s lives seamlessly and improve daily life in a meaningful way.
When the Wearable Challenge competition opened for submissions in summer 2014, hundreds of students, entrepreneurs, and engineers from 27 countries applied, sending short videos describing how they would use Intel's new Edison computing platform in a wearable product idea.
In August, following a semifinal round, ten finalist teams from seven countries were announced. These teams will compete for $800,000 in prizes. The winning team will be awarded $500,000, with second- and third-place winners receiving $200,000 and $100,000 respectively.
All finalist teams received $50,000 funding to move forward and will participate in the Berkeley-Haas Accelerator Program and a virtual lean startup education led by Lester Center for Entrepreneurship Executive Director Andre Marquis, Senior Fellow Mark Searle, and the College of Engineering's Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology Ken Singer.
They will instruct the finalists using similar methods to those pioneered by Lecturer Steve Blank in his Lean LaunchPad course, methods now used in programs with the Nation Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) Innovation Corps.
Through a weekly, three-hour, live online class, instructors will guide the teams in developing a hardware/software prototype, a high-fidelity product vision video, and a complete business model canvas. The teams will arrive at Berkeley for the final week of acceleration and the competition, starting Oct. 27.
“Berkeley-Haas is bringing leading-edge business education and a lean product development process to a program that accelerates the pace of open innovation for a world-class company like Intel,” Marquis says. “The wearable market is expected to grow by a factor of five over the next three years, and this program provides ways for teams to quickly build amazing new technologies and products to meet demand in these fast-growing markets.”
One of the two U.S.-based teams that made it to the finals includes Berkeley grad Jelena Jovanovic, BS 99 (Molecular & Cell Biology and Psychology), who with team captain Christoph Kohstall and Michael Niedermayr, is developing the flyable, wearable camera called Nixie. An MIT-based team is working on Wristify, an on-demand cooling or warming wristband.
The mentorship has been an amazing, says Jovanovic, a business operations manager at Nixie. “The classes at Berkeley-Haas have really provided a clear framework for bringing Nixie to market, as well as tools for tackling the challenges of a new business,” she says.
The Make it Wearable winners will be announced at a November 3 event to be held in San Francisco. The panel of judges, who will notify winners before the gala, include Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, tennis star and clothing designer Venus Williams, Best Buy President and CEO Hubert Joly, LVMH Chairman of North America Pauline Brown, and Vice President and General Manager for Nike Stefan Olander. The prize money is provided by Intel.
More information about the Intel Make It Wearable Challenge can be found at: https://makeit.intel.com/.