Innovation Prize

Purdue University – Spring 2014

Purdue University Innovation Prize winners announced

This semester’s grand prize of $5,000 was awarded to an app called ‘Alfred’ which, according to its creators Mohammed Ameen, Maalej Ishaan Biswas, Richanka Prabbu and Eric Villasenor, “simplifies your shopping experience, manages your pantry and suggests recipes intelligently.”

This semester’s grand prize of $5,000 was awarded to an app called ‘Alfred’ which, according to its creators Mohammed Ameen, Maalej Ishaan Biswas, Richanka Prabbu and Eric Villasenor, “simplifies your shopping experience, manages your pantry and suggests recipes intelligently.”

Shopping and tracking technology were all the rage at the spring 2014 edition of the Purdue University Innovation Prize on May 29th. The competition sponsored by Schurz Communications and Purdue University’s entrepreneurial hub The Foundry was held in the Lawson Computer Science building at the school’s main campus in West Lafayette, Indiana and was host to 10 teams made up of more than 40 competitors.

Each semester, teams of students present concepts for web or mobile applications of various to a group of judges, who then deliberate and award cash prizes on the basis of several criteria such as: market readiness, innovation and sophistication. This semester’s grand prize of $5,000 was awarded to an app called ‘Alfred’ which, according to its creators Mohammed Ameen, Maalej Ishaan Biswas, Richanka Prabbu and Eric Villasenor, “simplifies your shopping experience, manages your pantry and suggests recipes intelligently.”

Second place, taking home a $3,500 award was Cam^2, developed by a team consisting of Purdue University undergraduates Everett Berry, Anthony Kang, Erik Rozolis, Ahmed Kaseb, Youngsol Koh, Wenyi Chen, James Tay and Luke Neuman. Cam^2 is an online application that allows users to easily access public domain webcams.

Placing third, with a prize of $1,500 was Cesar Barscevicius, Benedict Frauen and Ivan Seidel and their app Vendo, meant to be “the Instagram for buying and selling stuff on college campuses.”

The Innovation Challenge audience and competitors also vote on a “fan favorite” for a prize of $500, which was given to clipO, developed by Bojing Fu, Pengzhan Zhou and Junya Wang.


University of Notre Dame – Spring 2014

Bus-tracking app wins Schurz prize

Sean Fitzgerald gives his presentation on his app during the Schurz Innovation Prize competition. Fitzgerald won first place. SBT Photo / SANTIAGO FLORES

Sean Fitzgerald gives his presentation on his app during the Schurz Innovation Prize competition. Fitzgerald won first place. SBT Photo / SANTIAGO FLORES

SOUTH BEND — An app that allows city buses and public school buses to be tracked and tagged by riders in real time won the top prize Monday in the Notre Dame-Schurz Prize competition for innovation.

App developer Sean Fitzgerald, a Notre Dame junior from Concord, N.H., received a $2,000 cash award for his bus tracking app.

Fitzgerald said he got the idea while using Transpo buses to get around South Bend and Mishawaka, and finding out the buses don’t always adhere to Transpo’s published route schedule.

He said the app might be even more useful to parents who want to track the travel of public school buses their children ride, so the children aren’t stuck outside in bad weather for long periods of time awaiting their school bus.

He said his app does not require that an expensive GPS device be added to every bus. “My app gets rid of the need for that,” Fitzgerald said.

His app was among 10 student projects presented during Monday’s competition at the University of Notre Dame’s College of Engineering.

The competition is sponsored by Schurz Communications Inc., parent company of the South Bend Tribune and the WSBT TV and radio stations. The goal is to encourage students to develop digital solutions and innovations for media companies.

“This is the third Notre Dame Schurz Innovation Prize contest, so we’re building a history of innovation together,” Schurz Communications Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer Todd Schurz told the competitors.

Placing second in the competition and earning a $1,000 cash prize was junior Jonathan Cobian’s Around the BeND app. The app is designed to provide Notre Dame students a one-stop location for finding fun and inexpensive things to do in the South Bend area. It includes details about area restaurants and bars, food and drink deals, and sports and entertainment events.

Placing third, with a $500 cash prize, was HelpHub, an app developed by juniors Nikita Amelchenko and George Georgaklis. The app is designed to provide a “marketplace” for matchmaking between campus residents who have tasks that need to be performed and others who are capable of performing them. For example, if one student needed groceries, and another student had a car and the time to go to the grocery store, the two could be “matched.” The student seeking help and the student offering help would negotiate the payment.

Other participants demonstrated apps that provide safety-oriented mobile navigation using public municipal crime data, turn a phone’s music player into a jukebox, log hours behind the wheel by a beginning driver with a learner’s permit and provide a cloud-based natural disaster damage logging tool.

The students developed the apps during a course taught by electrical engineering professor Patrick Flynn.

A similar innovation prize competition Schurz Communications sponsors at Purdue University will take place Tuesday.

For a complete photo gallery visit the South Bend Tribune website.

Story by Margaret Fosmoe  @mfosmoe  South Bend Tribune


Notre Dame Innovation Prize Ceremony – Fall 2012

1st Place

Map Pics: (Designed by Ryan Shea, Taylor Seale)
Snapping and sharing pictures with your smartphone is easy. Organizing it all more intelligently is another story. This app creates common experiences by stacking photos based on where they were shot or uploaded.

2nd Place

News Cloud (Designed by David Lopes, Nathan Wickham)

3rd Place

Mobile Radio Contest: (Designed by Justin Bartlett, Eli Kloswick)
Shake your smartphone, tap and instantly win cash, prizes and merchandise during live radio contests. A simple and fun way to play & win (or lose) fast.

Other Finalists

What the FM: (Designed by William McGough, Patrick Raycroft)
This tool takes interactive radio to new level, allowing listeners to tap & build playlists inspired by live radio broadcasts.

Room Me: (Designed by Everaldo Aguiar)
This mobile tool allows college students and others to screen, then communicate with, potential roommates matching their personality, behavior types and budgets. It also pre-negotiates rental agreements and house rules between individuals. The goal, according to the designer, is to be a bridge to “co-exist in peace.”

iReporter: (Designed by Jonas Elias Flesch)
This application combines the strengths of traditional news reporting with legitimate user-generated content. Point, shoot, tap, publish.


Schurz Communications and Purdue University Innovation prize awarded

680x300_PUrdueInno13While Merriam and Webster define an “impulse” as a “sudden strong desire to do something”, but at the 2013 Schurz Communications and Purdue University Innovation prize on Tuesday night, Impulse wasn’t simply a strong desire, it was a creative technology team who took home the grand prize.
The Schurz-Purdue Innovation prize — in its second year — is a partnership fueled by a desire to help guide bright young students into careers in digital media and to encourage those students to invent real-world applicable solutions to the unique challenges that face a media company in the digital age. At Purdue, this effort is headed up by a new entrepreneurial and commercialization hub called ‘The Foundry’.

While many more graduate and undergraduate teams began the process, the final competition was made up of 8 teams, whose projects ranged from a radio station aggregator to applied communications theory scripting. At the end of the night, however, the five-person development team behind ‘Impulse’ won the grand prize.

The creative team that makes up Impulse consists of undergrads Leah Thompson, Matthew Ryker, Edgar Plata, David James and Andy Gault.

“Our product will collect and share the opinions and experiences expressed during a specific event,” a team spokesperson said. At its core, Impulse collects data streams from Twitter and Instagram which are focused around a particular event–be it a concert, promotional event or community happening. “The purpose of the project was to develop a product that could visually combine all of the social media streams,” said Impulse.

The project was highly praised by the Innovation Prize judges, who awarded them the $5,000 first prize.

The runner-up was a data analytics project created by Zachary Williams, who took home $3,500. His project used Javascript code to analyze conversations logged in the C-Span Archive. Apply the centrality theory of communications, Williams analyzed a congressional committee meeting and produced in-depth metadata of the conversational influencers.

The third place prize of $1,500 went to HTML5 collaboration application Skypacke, a collaborative effort between students Nicholas Zak and Peter Mercado. With a beta-level product, the Skypacke team was able to demonstrate almost full functionality, which centered around collaboration-based content creation.

The contestants themselves also got involved in the judging, coming together to vote for a $500 ‘Fan Favourite’, which was also won by Impulse.

Schurz Communications, “the biggest little media company you’ve never heard of all the time,” according to Digital Media Vice President Kerry Oslund, is based in Mishawaka and operates cable, high-speed data, TV, radio, print and digital businesses “from Alaska to Augusta,” he said. In Indiana, the corporation owns five newspapers, eight radio stations, a television station and a printing company.


Challenging digital minds to create “game changer” mobile breakthroughs.

Prize­-based innovation challenge for University of Notre Dame Computer Science & Engineering students and faculty

The University of Notre Dame’s Computer Science & Engineering program will collaborate with Schurz Communications on a first­-of-its-kind “innovation challenge,” beginning fall semester, 2012. Undergraduates, graduate students and faculty will be asked to consider real-world digital solutions and opportunities for 2151-century media companies. A first area of focus will be mobile development.

Schurz Communications, a cable, high-speed data, TV, radio, print and digital media company, will award large cash prizes for winning prototypes that meet agreed guidelines. Participating students may also compete for local, statewide and national media recognition and opportunities to turn their new digital solutions into new digital businesses.

To enliven projects, students and faculty will also receive secure access to custom feeds, API’s and real-world datasets from Schurz Communications’ wide array of media businesses.

Schurz CEO, Todd Schurz, said, “Notre Dame’s computer science and engineering department has some of the best and brightest students and faculty in the country.” He added, “New relationships with young developers, designers and database talent – literally blocks away – is a potential game-changer.”

Notre Dame’s College of Engineering is committed to Catholic­-guided and informed education and research reaching beyond the walls of the University by creating products and technologies that are a force for good in the world. Dean Peter Kilpatrick of the College of Engineering said, “We are very excited to be able to partner with an outstanding local company and community leader like Schurz Communications which enables our faculty and students to have impact locally. Our Computer Science and Engineering strengths in algorithms, wireless communications, mobile computing, and applications are excellent fits with the community and with Schurz.”

Schurz Communications media companies provide local communities with a better understanding of the world, as informed local communities make positive impacts on society. Schurz Communications is a privately held, family run, multimedia company with operations dotting the country from Anchorage, AK to Augusta, GA.

The University of Notre Dame and Schurz Communications were founded in South Bend, and have served the community for 168 years and 140 years, respectively.


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