The 2013 Emerging Issues Prize for Innovation challenged students across the state to unleash their imagination, and work collaboratively to create an innovative product or tool that may benefit their communities. Nearly 30 teams of high school and college students submitted innovative ideas for the development of products that could benefit their classmates, their neighborhoods, and groups within their communities. Ten teams were selected as finalists, and, after more than 12,540 votes were cast, two teams were awarded the $5,000 grand prize to put their ideas into action. The 2013 winners were the “Sirocco Computer Cleaner” from North Vance High School and “No Sweat” from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
The North Vance High School will build an innovative computer cleaner, the Sirocco, to remove dust interfering with a computer’s critical functioning parts, thus lowering malfunction rates and saving money on repair.
UNC-Chapel Hill team’s “No Sweat” is a self-contained Iontophoresis device that allows for specific control of water temperature used to deliver therapeutics, resulting in faster medical treatments with less drugs, and pain reduction for diabetics, amputees, and those that suffer from excessive sweating.
The 2012 Emerging Issues Prize for Innovation challenged college and high school students to work collaboratively and come up with an innovative idea to increase North Carolina’s high school graduation rate. Nearly 70 teams submitted applications, five teams in each age category were selected as finalists, and two teams were awarded the $5,000 grand prize at the Emerging Issues Forum in February. After more than 12,000 votes were cast, the 2012 year’s winners were “Studio Lounge” from Richmond Senior High School and “LinkedUp” from UNC-Greensboro.
The Richmond Senior team transformed an old classroom into a welcoming space for mentees and mentors to work together to prepare for end-of-grade tests and complete other homework assignments. The space houses technology for students to use as they study together. The students from UNC-Greensboro connected ninth graders with fifth graders for an eight-year mentor-mentee relationship.
Watch this short video to see the progress that these teams have made.
The 2011 Emerging Issues Prize for Innovation challenged college students to work collaboratively and come up with an innovative idea to address/decrease childhood obesity in North Carolina.
There were 24 teams that submitted applications, and one award. With more than 4,100 votes were cast the winning team was from University of Chapel Hill (UNC) for “Sqord.”
The winning team from UNC used their award as seed money to start their own company, Sqord.
The students paired with Texas Instruments to develop a pilot for their product, an incentive-based game sparking kids’ exercise using wrist-worn accelerometers. They merged toy technology with a computerized activity tracker to get children to exercise. Using game technology and a rewards system, children learn the benefits of exercise through an entertaining interface.
The program is currently in its second pilot, and Sqord recently won the Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Innovations Challenge. They received $20,000 for product development.