WHAT: The finals of the first annual Vertex Innovators' Challenge at the University of California, Berkeley. Eighteen student engineering teams will showcase their high-tech designs as they compete for a total of $25,000 in cash prizes, $10,000 of which will go to the top entry.
Projects include battery-powered inline skates that zip along at 10 miles per hour and a jazzed-up motorcycle helmet equipped with a wireless communication system. One of the finalists, Hesham Kamel, is a blind PhD student who will demonstrate his computer-aided drawing and animation software for the visually impaired.
WHEN: 2:30-4 p.m., Saturday, April 13. Awards ceremony starts at 3:30 p.m.
WHERE: The Wozniak Lounge, Soda Hall, at the intersection of Hearst and LeRoy avenues, UC Berkeley. Awards will be announced in Soda Hall's Hewlett Packard Auditorium.
WHO: * Mohit Agarwal, one of the founders of Vertex, a new Engineering Entrepreneurship Club formed by UC Berkeley engineering students. * Shankar Sastry, chair of UC Berkeley's Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences and faculty advisor for Vertex. * Twenty-eight judges, all of them technology leaders from industry, venture capital firms, and academia. They include Sabeer Bhatia, the founder of Hotmail, and Chuck Thacker, director of Advanced Systems at Microsoft Corp.
BACKGROUND: Vertex was formed to encourage students to pursue commercial ventures and foster relationships with industry. "Engineering students typically don't think about commercial applications for their research," said Mohit Agarwal, a graduate student in electrical engineering and computer sciences and one of the competition organizers. "Our goal at Vertex is to turn that mindset around."
Top corporate sponsors of the UC Berkeley Vertex Innovators' Challenge are Timbre Technologies, Microsoft Corporation, Applied Materials, Cadence Design Systems and Sevin Rosen Funds.
For more information about the Vertex Innovators' Challenge, including a list of the 18 projects in the final round and a list of all the judges, see http://vertex.eecs.berkeley.edu.