Sensor equipment to help the visually impaired navigate more safely and a system for recycling computers efficiently were among the seven inventive business concepts to win seed funding from Capital One Bank and a spot in an intensive NJIT accelerator program at the fifth annual Newark Innovation Acceleration Challenge.
The winners were chosen from fourteen teams of rising entrepreneurs, divided equally between teams of college students from Newark-based institutions and teams of community-based entrepreneurs, to present business plans at the competition held at NJIT this week. The judges included executives from Capital One Bank, professionals from Newark-based businesses, local angel investors, and faculty and staff from NJIT.
The winning teams will each receive $3,000 in seed funding from Capital One Bank and participation next summer in the 10-week NJIT Summer Lean Innovation Accelerator Program utilizing the Capital One Bank Learning Lab at NJIT's Enterprise Development Center (EDC). New Jersey's oldest and largest technology and life sciences start-up incubator, the EDC has graduated over 85 successful businesses.
SenVis, the first-place finisher among four student-led teams to win funding and business development support at the competition, proposes integrating visual and proximity sensors in goggles, augmented canes, and wrist bands to help the visually impaired navigate. Fabio Arias of Caldwell, who presented the device, said his team was struck by the lag in technological improvements in basic navigation equipment and hoped to advance it.
"We still see most blind people walking with canes and dogs, indicating no real progress in navigation equipment despite advancements in technology. We felt it was time they had something better," Arias said, adding of the win, "It was such a rewarding feeling to know that people valued our idea. It definitely gives us more drive to keep developing it."
"This gives me the
|Contact: Tanya Klein|
New Jersey Institute of Technology