Innovators from around campus competed for the chance to win part of $13,000 at BYU College of Engineering’s annual Student Innovator of the Year competition on March 27.
Students participated in a preliminary competition last Thursday, March 21, to show their products to judges and fellow classmates. Seven finalists were chosen from these presentations.
The finalists included Speech Cloud, Sugarhouse Aerospace, Neptune, Kiri, Mesh, Total Toilet Solution and Thrive Smart Systems. Today, the finalists gave five-minute presentations about their innovation and were ranked by a panel of judges.
According to the competition’s website, the judging guidelines are based on 45 percent innovation, 35 percent engineering and 20 percent impact.
The event, held at the Varsity Theatre, was filled with students of all majors supporting the young innovators. Four separate cash prizes were given to different teams.
This year’s Student Innovator of the Year winner was Sugarhouse Aerospace, which received $7,000. Sugarhouse Aerospace provides affordable rocket flights to suborbital space, helping educators, researchers, and consumers explore the final frontier and study its unique environment.
With this money, Sugarhouse Aerospace can kickstart its business and continue to help others get to space affordably. The company is hoping to make space travel more affordable for universities that don’t get funding from NASA or their university.
The second place winner, Neptune, was awarded $3,000. Neptune has found a substitute for plastic from a biodegradable material made from shrimp shells to prevent polluting the environment.
Kiri, a screenless smart toy that offers children a customized learning experience, placed third and was awarded $2,000.
The crowd’s choice award went to Thrive Smart Systems, a team of innovators who are striving to make every sprinkler system wireless. Thrive received $1,000.