R.E.P.S. takes top prize Student Innovator of the Year competition

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Whether one is brainstorming a new attachment for headphones, a new fire alarm for a home or a new air conditioning system, the Student Innovator of the Year Competition allows BYU students to take their ideas and create a product of their own.

Engineering and Technology Startup hosted its second annual student innovator competition Wednesday and Thursday, sponsored by the Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology and the Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology. The first day, student teams gathered in Brigham Square to display their inventions for judging. Day two narrowed the teams to seven, where the finalists presented their projects and a winner was announced.

“This year our numbers almost doubled,” said Krista Tripodi, communications manager for the Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology. “We went from 28 to 46 projects with participation from all over campus.”

The teams encompassed students campus-wide, not just those in engineering. The College of Engineering and Technology encourages all students to get involved. The college provided alumni to help students develop their ideas and then compete to win $10,000 and other cash prizes.

“All 46 teams had great ideas,” said Kurt Workman, student director of the competition. “There are a lot of students excited about changing the world through innovation.”

The 46 teams presented their projects Wednesday and were judged on engineering innovation, level of clarity, professionalism and product originality. Seven finalists were chosen for a final round where each team presented their project to the judges and answered any additional questions.

“The competition focuses on innovation and encouraging students to develop their ideas,” Tripodi said.

The top seven teams selected to advance to the final round were: Class A.C.T, Active Alarm, Earbuddies, Flexleg, Cooler Crew, ValSkill and R.E.P.S. Many hours were spent creating new products to enter the competition. The event sparked innovation efforts through the student and local community. Teams competed for the $10,000, but $400 grants were given to every team to help them jump start their ideas.

“I think the competition is a great idea because it gives students with ideas the needed resources,” said Kendall Thacker, a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering. “It provides the mentoring, financing and the platform to go forward.”

Earbuddies won third place, Active Alarm took second place and R.E.P.S., a new way to assemble custom furniture, won the entire competition. The team won the cash prize, and is encouraged to enter into the 2012 Business Plan or Social Venture competitions hosted by the BYU Marriott School of Management.

“It has been a really exciting event,” Tripodi said. “Everyone worked hard, and we hope to engineer even more student innovation in the future.”

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