The University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Management awarded more than $28,000 in cash prizes Saturday, Oct. 22, after the final round of presentations in the 2016 Arctic Innovation Competition.
The competition, now in its eighth year, invites innovators to propose new, feasible and potentially profitable ideas for solving real-life problems and challenges.
The top prize of $10,000 in the main division was awarded to Vincent Castro and Eric Solie for Attently, a cloud-based software service for speakers and presenters. Attently uses a video feed from a standard webcam or smart phone to detect the number of faces in an audience and calculate the percentage of people who are paying attention.
Castro is a UAF senior in computer engineering, and Solie lives in Fairbanks. Their idea also won the Startup Weekend Fairbanks competition in September.
“The prize money is a huge aspect of the competition, but when you are on stage you are thinking of something else,” Solie said. “Like how good it feels to have your idea validated by well-respected, professional judges.”
With a record 27 Cub Division entries from youths ages 12 and younger, the competition was intense. Kyle Fischer, Keiveri Flannery-Schutt and Paul Melchert, who traveled from Anchorage, took first prize for their Lightning Lawn Razor, a sleek, remote-control mower.
The Fairbanks North Star Borough Recycling Commission sponsored a special cash award this year. Harrison DeSanto, Andrew Ladd and Nathan Bauer received the $2,000 Recycling Kicker Prize for Activate Alaska LLC, a project to manufacture activated carbon from Alaska biomass. Such carbon is used in water filtration systems.
A complete list of winners is available on the AIC website.
A $75,000 gift from Usibelli Coal Mine was announced at the ceremony, making the mine the lead sponsor of the competition for the next three years.
ON THE WEB: www.arcticinno.com
ADDITIONAL CONTACT: Tammy Tragis-McCook, 907-474-7042, email@example.com