USC Annenberg Innovation Lab announces 2012 Student Design Challenge winners
Posted March 22, 2012
The Annenberg Innovation Lab, a cross-disciplinary center designed to create and deliver new solutions that innovate the nexus of media, science and design, announces the winners of its 2011-2012 CRUNCH Student Design Challenge.
Now in its second year, CRUNCH is a competition and workshop series for interdisciplinary student-led teams to develop innovative prototype concepts. The winning teams are awarded cash prizes in addition to a research & development account to further develop their concept at the Innovation Lab.
Each of this year's competing teams brought together students from diverse academic backgrounds to create a strong design concept with clear implications for the future of media, journalism and communication. However, the winners were set apart by clearly demonstrating the potential to transform society at large by addressing a pressing human need in a unique way.
And the winners are:
1st Place Prize
$1,500 cash and $13,500 in research & development funds
Theia – a portable e-reader that delivers braille and audio output.
Saranyaraj Rajendran, Master’s Candidate in Electrical Engineering
Meryl Alper, Ph.D. Student in Communication
2nd Place Prize
$1,000 and $9,000 in research & development funds
FlashPac – a Kickstarter-inspired platform for independently produced crowd-funded political advertisements.
Leonard Hyman, Master’s Candidate in Public Policy
Kunwar Aditya Raghuwanshi, Master’s Candidate in Computer Engineering
3rd Place Prize
$500 cash and $4,500 in research and development funds
Tot – a mobile/web app for parents to store, view and share records of their children's development.
Hao Wang, Ph.D. Candidate in Psychology
Lixing Huang, Ph.D student in Computer Science at Viterbi School of Engineering
Li Zhu, Master student in Communication Management at Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism
Chengjie Zhang, Ph.D student in Computer Science at Information Sciences Institute and Viterbi School of Engineering
Cai Li, Master student in Computer Science at Viterbi School of Engineering
Lihang Zhao, Ph.D student in Electrical Engineering at Viterbi School of Engineering
In addition to the three winning teams, the judges awarded an Honorable Mention prize to a project that stood out for a tested version of a prototype to encourage recycling in public locations:
Honorable Mention Prize: $750
Recycle Belt - a low-cost "belt" with pockets that wraps around a trash can for people to precycle their cans and bottles.
Team Leader: Joseph Voelbel, Master’s Candidate in Communication Management.
Special thanks to this year’s CRUNCH Challenge judges, who volunteered their time and expertise to selecting the winning teams:
François Bar is a Senior Research Fellow at the Annenberg Innovation Lab and an Associate Professor of Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism at the University of Southern California. He is a steering committee member of the Annenberg Research Network on International Communication and a Project Lead at the Annenberg Innovation Lab. He is co-Editor in Chief of Information Technologies and International Development (ITID).
His research and teaching focus on the social and economic impacts of information technologies, with a specific concentration on telecommunication policy, user-driven innovation and technology appropriation. His most recent work examines the impact of information technology for development, in places ranging from East Africa to Latin America.
Karen Kerr is the Senior Director of New Ventures and Alliances at the University of Southern California’s Stevens Institute for Innovation. She is responsible for accelerating the formation of startup companies out of university research. Before joining USC Stevens in 2011, Karen was Director of Business Development, Targeted Acquisitions for Intellectual Ventures (IV) Invention Investment Fund (IIF). Previously she served as the US Head of Business Development for IV’s Invention Development Fund (IDF). In that role, she forged numerous strategic relationships with university, government, and industry partners that expanded the IDF portfolio and diversified its acquisition channels. Karen has over 15 years of experience as a venture investor in seed and early stage technology based companies. She founded Agile Equities, a venture development company and previously served as a Managing Director at ARCH Venture Partners and an associate at both Patricof & Co Ventures and ARCH Development Corporation.
Sam Teller is Managing Director of Launchpad LA (www.launchpad.la), the leading Southern California technology accelerator and startup mentorship program, founded by Mark Suster of GRP Partners in 2009. Sam joined Launchpad from Charlie (www.meetcharlie.com), a Los Angeles based media company and interactive agency he co-founded in 2010. At Charlie, he led new media strategy for top entertainment, corporate, and political clients, including Samuel L. Jackson, Tumblr, Rachel Zoe, and Dick Clark Productions, while launching new media brands (FabFitFun) and making angel i nvestments (Art.sy, Zoe Media Group, LearnBoost). Before Charlie, Sam was a member of Barack Obama's presidential campaign and inaugural new media team, managing Facebook and AdWords marketing. Earlier, Sam worked/interned at Google (AdWords), Credit Suisse (investment banking), The Huffington Post, The Colbert Report, and for Senators John Kerry and Hillary Clinton. Sam was born and raised in Los Angeles and received a BA from Harvard College, where he was business manager of the Harvard Lampoon and wrote some of the earliest news stories about Facebook.com in 2005. twitter.com/samteller / steller.tumblr.comEnter USC Annenberg News Archive »back to top