Demo Day 2015

Last night, DifferenceMaker® held its first, ever Demo Day at UMass Lowell’s newest addition, the Innovation Hub on Canal Street downtown Lowell. Demo Day was the final part of a four-week boot camp in which several of our 2015 Idea Challenge finalist teams participated. During the boot camp, teams delved more into their business plan and reached out to potential customers in the community to learn more about opportunities and solutions surrounding their idea. The goal of the boot camp was to accelerate finalist teams’ progress in developing their ventures.

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DifferenceMaker Co-op student, Paul, welcomed guests into the Innovation Hub for the event.

Demo Day, which took place last night, was an opportunity for the teams that participated in the boot camp, along with other finalist teams, to showcase their progress and to connect with mentors. Attendees included Steven Tello, Associate Vice Chancellor for Entrepreneurship and Economic, Jacqueline Moloney, Executive Vice Chancellor, UMass Lowell alumni, and local business professionals and owners.

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Dan and Jennie shared their DM project, Love of the Game, which is a nonprofit program where students with cognitive disabilities have the opportunity to play sports at UML facilities and with UML equipment, with the help of UML athletes.

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Anthony and Mark share their DM project, Playable Therapy, which is a product where participants can complete their physical therapy routines through a video game that tracks their movement for the use of their doctor.

The event included brief presentation by the six teams in attendance, a question and answer session for each team, a poster session where attendees could learn more about the teams, and a networking portion where alumni and local business professionals connected with the teams to potentially mentor them.

To learn more about the DM Mentor Program or to get involved, click here.

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Global Innovation & Entrepreneurship Summer 2015

All students

All of the students, faculty, and staff who participated in the immersion program.

Students from India, Thailand, China, Japan, and Guyana just visited UMass Lowell to take part in a two-week immersion experience with UMass Lowell students, faculty, staff, and even some of our DifferenceMaker teams. The students took part in an accelerated course called Global Entrepreneurship and Innovation within the Manning School of Business taught by Ashwin Mehta and Deborah Finch

The immersion experience focused on innovation and entrepreneurship, which fits right in with DifferenceMaker’s goal of helping students think innovatively in everyday life. Holly Butler, the director of the DifferenceMaker program, led a two-hour session on innovation and creativity last Thursday, June 18th. She spent time lecturing on the definition of each topic and differentiating the two.

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A team, including a DifferenceMaker winning team (Playable Therapy), preparing their car model.

Afterward, the students spent about 45 minutes building a model of a car that could withstand a hypothetical situation of dirt roads and rough travel in order to bring residents of a rural town to a hospital far away. The students were given tinker toys and had to find team members with other tinker toys in order to create an innovative vehicle.

After teams made a model of the innovative vehicle with the tinker toys, they were asked to explain their vehicle in front of the class and test it by rolling it down a steep board of wood meant to mimic the rough terrain. The teams succeeded in matching their creativity and innovative skills to make functional and unique vehicles that all passed the test!

You can check out videos of the teams’ innovative cars by clicking here!

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Holly, Director of the DifferenceMaker program, with some of the international students.

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Learning from Others!

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This gallery contains 5 photos.

Hi DifferenceMakers – I had the chance to visit the Raleigh Durham, N. Carolina area recently.  15 years ago Durham was a somewhat rundown, ailing ex-tobacco community.  Over the past few years they have revitalized their downtown spaces, using  a … Continue reading

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UMass Lowell Innovation Hub nears Completion!

The UMass Lowell Innovation Hub at 110 Canal St. in Lowell will open on June 1.  The 11,000 sq. ft. tech incubator/accelerator will connect tech entrepreneurs with the knowledge and physical resources of the University community.

The IHub includes a reception area, co-working space, private office space, conference room facilities and a prototype lab. IHub Director Tom O’Donnell, a visiting faculty in the University’s Entrepreneurship program is connecting with entrepreneurs from the region to ensure the facility meets the needs of the growing tech sector of Massachusetts.

While the furniture is on the way, the following photos (taken on May 7) will provide a good sense of how the space is laid out.

We would like to thank the Massachusetts Life Science Center, Mass Development and the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development for their support of this project.

IHub Reception

Entrepreneurs will be greeted in reception area, which includes private “phone booths” for connecting with clients and partners.

IHub Cafe and Lounge

The IHub Cafe is located to the left of the reception area. Once the furniture is in it will serve as a meeting space and lunch area.

IHub Co-Working

A large, open Co-Working space (with incredible views of the canal system and downtown) will accommodate 35 entrepreneurs. Wireless access, printing, copying, desktop electric and a conference room reservation system provides all of the office resources needed by an early-stage startup.

IHub Board Room

The IHub Board Room will seat 25-30 guests and includes large screen monitors, electronic white board and phone conferencing system. The glass walls open to accommodate pitch contests are other events.

IHub Offices

The IHub offers 12 private office spaces that can accommodate 2-3 entrepreneurs.

IHub Prototype Lab

The IHub Prototype Lab will provide 3D printing, materials cutting and related light modeling equipment.

Prototype Lab Interior

The Prototype Lab includes benchspace, light tools, 3D printing, and electronic assembly areas.

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2015 Idea Challenge Winners

On Wednesday, April 15th, the 2015 Idea Challenge event was held in Moloney Hall at University Crossing. Ten teams pitched to win a portion of $35,000 and preliminary teams who didn’t make it to finals stood by their posters to share their ideas for the chance to win Fan Favorite. Thank you to all of our sponsors, judges, participants, and attendees. Below are the 2015 Idea Challenge winners!

Everyone

Campus-Wide DifferenceMaker

Hydraulic Walker – $5,000: A walker that utilizes hydraulics, allowing for the legs to be quickly adjusted, so that it can be used on stairs.

Hydraulic Walker

  • Ryan Andrews, Graduate, Physical Therapy
  • Peter Klausmeyer, Graduate, Physical Therapy

Significant Social Impact

1st Place – $4,000
Love of the Game: A community outreach program aiming to integrate universities and people with physical and cognitive disabilities through sports.

Love of the Game

  • Jessica Dion, Junior, Exercise Physiology
  • Dylan Doucette, Junior, Exercise Physiology
  • Lucas Parsons, Junior, Exercise Physiology
  • Rachel Silk, Junior, Business, Marketing
  • Daniel Schmith, Freshman, Business, Entrepreneurship

2nd Place – $2,500
Buddies without Borders: A project aimed to bridge the gap between domestic students and international students starting with an in-person pair up then followed by a comprehensive website that allows members to define their profiles and micro-blog by text, photo, and video sharing.

Buddies Without Borders

  • Tugba Arsava, Graduate, Community Social Psychology
  • Burhan Colak, Graduate, Civil Engineering
  • Katherine Cox, Freshman, Psychology
  • Madeline Ormazza, Sophomore, Business
  • Shashank Raghuveer, Graduate, Computer Science
  • Fang Zhang, Graduate, Chemistry

Contribution to a Healthier Lifestyle

1st Place – $4,000
Playable Therapy: A platform of exercises and games, that, with Microsoft Kinect, will allow for motion tracking of a physical therapy (PT) patient during their exercise routine at home.

Playable Therapy

  • Suhaib Alfageeh, Junior, Computer Science
  • Lucas Brown, Junior, English and Math
  • Chelsea Hayes, Junior, Business
  • Damir Ismagilove, Junior, Math
  • Anthony Pitaro, Senior, Exercise Physiology
  • Mark Mcgrotty, Junior, Computer Science

2nd Place – $2,500

Solar Electric Vehicles: A series of low speedy and high efficiency commuter vehicles that utilize hub motor technology to allow people to travel using purelthe energy of the sun.

Solar Electric Vehicles

  • Chukwuma Azubuine, Graduate, Entrepreneurship
  • Richard Asirifi, Junior, Electrical Engineering
  • Anas Dahany, Senior, Electrical Engineering
  • David Jenkins, Senior, Mechanical Engineering
  • Oliver Kayego, Sophomore, Electrical Engineering
  • Chris Leger, Senior, Electrical Engineering
  • Jared Mrvos, Sophomore, Computer Engineering
  • Charles Reid, Senior, Mechanical Engineering
  • Kenneth Sanders, Freshman, Computer Science
  • Mukhammaddin Zinaddinov, Freshman, Electrical Engineering

Innovative Technology Solution

1st Place – $4,000
Masela Dentures: A fully 3D printable denture system as an alternative solution to expensive dentures manufactured using traditional casting and milling methods.

Masela Dentures

  • Cormac Hondros-McCarthy, Senior, Plastics Engineering
  • Casey McRae, Senior, Plastics Engineering

2nd Place – $2,500
KEnDERS Athletic Body Armor:A novel design for sports equipment using shear-thickening fluids.

Kenders

  • Elizabeth Kender, Junior Plastics Engineering
  • Laura Kender, Junior, Plastics Engineering
  • Stephen Kender, Freshman, Mechanical Engineering

First to Market

1st Place – $4,000
Mayday: A wearable device connected via Bluetooth technology to a mobile phone, that, when activated, sends emergency alert signals to a list of emergency contacts.

Mayday

  • Alessandro Agnello, PhD, Computer Science
  • Cibhi SelVen, Graduate, MBA

2nd Place – $2,500
Wordbuilder: An interactive toy designed to help children build the foundations of reading at an early age.

Word Builder

  • Sergio Coronado, Junior, Computer Engineering
  • Ian Copithorne, Junior, Computer Engineering

Honorable Mention – $1,500
Low Income Community Homework Center: A homework center opened in Lawrence, MA to help high school students graduate and move onto college.

Homework Center

  • Arnaldo Rivera, Senior, Psychology
  • Hector Rivera, Senior, Psychology

Fan Favorite – $2,500
Indoor Hydroponic System: A hydroponic garden that is equipped with an environment monitoring system that ensures optimal growing conditions for plants and requires little to no maintenance.

Indoor Hydroponic

  • Rapheeporn Aungaphinant, Graduate, MBA
  • Katherine Cain, Graduate, MBA
  • Tucker Holladay, Graduate, MBA
  • Shu-Wei Hsu, Graduate, MBA
  • Alima Shamuratova, Graduate, MBA
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Finalist Teams | 2015 Idea Challenge

Congratulations to the 2015 Idea Challenge Finalists!
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The following teams will pitch their entrepreneurial ventures in front of judges to win a portion of $35,000 on April 15th from 5:00pm to 8:30pm at University Crossing in Moloney Hall.
  • Buddies Without Borders: A project that aims to bridge the gap between domestic students and international students by starting with an in-person pair up followed by a comprehensive website that allows members to define their profiles and micro-blog by text, photo, and video sharing.
  • Homework Center: A homework center in a poverty stricken town/city such as Lawrence, Massachusetts.The goal is to promote a positive and encouraging environment to encourage students to continue on the educational path and to, therefore, increase the graduation rate while lowering the dropout rate.
  • Hydraulic Walker: An innovative walker that utilizes hydraulics, allowing for the legs to be quickly adjusted, so that it can be used on stairs.
  • Kender’s Body Armor: A project that introduces a novel design for sports equipment using shear-thickening fluids. The materials offer superior impact protection in a thinner and unobtrusive profile and create superior sports attire.
  • Love of the Game: A community outreach program aiming to integrate universities and people with physical and cognitive disabilities through sports.
  • Masela Dentures: A project that aims to develop a fully 3D printable denture system as an alternative solution to expensive dentures manufactured using traditional casting and milling methods.
  • Mayday: This team has created a wearable device connected via Bluetooth technology to a mobile phone, that, when activated, sends emergency alert signals to a list of emergency contacts in an emergency situation.
  • Playable Therapy: A platform of exercises and games that, with the Microsoft Kinect, will allow for motion tracking of a physical therapy patient during their exercise routine at home.
  • Solar Electric Vehicles: A series of low speed and high efficiency commuter vehicles that utilize hub motor technology to allow people to travel using purely the energy of the sun.
  • Word Builder: An interactive toy designed to help children build the foundations of reading at an early age. The toy will be an evolutionary system that will grow with the child as they develop the skills necessary to learn how to read.

A special shout out and thank you to all of the judges, faculty fellow, and staff who were incredibly engages and enthusiastic throughout the entire event. We couldn’t do this without you!

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This year over 40 applicants applied to the Idea Challenge, and 25 of those teams move forward to the preliminaries. It was a difficult task for judges to choose only 10 of those teams to move forward to the final pitch on April 15th. Thank you to everyone who applied and participated in the Preliminary Pitch on April 3rd.
All entrepreneurial teams on the UMass Lowell campus are welcome to take advantage of DifferenceMaker’s resources. We welcome teams to connect with us this summer to pursue other funding opportunities, apply to our College Competitions this fall, and to apply to the 2016 Idea Challenge Competition. You can learn more about what we offer and how to contact us here.

 

 

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The Future of Making Things Workshop

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Get hands on experience with Autodesk Fusion 360, the next-generation 3D CAD/CAM cloud-based tool 

Tomorrows Engineers, Artists, and Makers will be designing self-driving cars, personalized wearables, and connected devices for the Internet of Things.  Making these future things requires modern tools that leverage new practices such as 3D printing, cloud computing, and digital simulation.  Tomorrow’s tools are being developed today, and this workshop will put them in your hands!

Prepare to make your mark when you graduate and join us for hands-on training on Autodesk® Fusion 360TM software from an Autodesk product specialist.

 

When: Wednesday, April 8th @ 5p.m.

Where: UMass Lowell – Olsen Hall, Room 102

RSVP: Google Form (Takes ~1 minute)  – Please respond here so that we can have enough pizza

Prior to Attending: Please install and log into Autodesk Fusion 360 on your Mac or PC prior to the event.  www.autodesk.com/fusion360-students.

At event: Bring your laptop, power cord, external mouse, and creativity!

About Autodesk:

Autodesk, Inc., is a leader in 3D design, engineering and entertainment software. Students, educators and academic institutions have free* access to all Autodesk software including Fusion 360.  Go to www.students.autodesk.com for more information.

Presenter: Mike Alcazaren, Application Engineer

Mike is a graduate of University at Buffalo (ME, AE ’12).  As an engineering professional, Mike has experience developing mechanical designs for department of defense applications with Raytheon.  Mike is also on the Engineers for a Sustainable World National Team, as Chapter Relations Director.  Mike is passionate about getting the latest technology into the hands of design & engineering students to help build their technical skillset and build a career solving today’s most challenging problems

 

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Apply to the EforAll Pitch Contest & Accelerator!

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Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll) has two exciting opportunities coming up that will help you take your business or non-profit to the next level! In the past, many DM students have taken part in their FREE programs and have had a great experience. You can apply to both.

All Ideas Pitch Contest | One-day event to pitch your business or non-profit.

  • Win thousands of dollars in cash prizes
  • Get feedback on your idea from industry pros
  • Network with potential investors
  • Deadline to Apply: April 2 @ midnight

More information here.

Summer Accelerator | Twelve-week program to help you take your business or non-profit to the next level.

  • Win $30K in cash prizes
  • Receive personal mentors
  • Take part in workshops from industry experts
  • Get nine months of additional support after the program ends
  • Deadline to Apply: April 30 @ midnight

More information here.

Questions? Email Emil Kuruvilla at Emil@EforAll.org.

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Congratulations to the 2015 Idea Challenge Semifinalists!

Congratulations to the 2015 Idea Challenge Semi-finalists!

  • Solar Electric Vehicles
  • Affordable Dentures through Additive Manufacturing
  • Merrimack Walkway Project
  • NetLane
  • Pneumatic Tick Remover
  • Hydraulic Walker
  • IV Site Savers
  • KEnDERS Athletic Body Armor
  • Mayday
  • Integrative Health and Fitness Online Services Platform
  • Word Builder
  • Love of the Game
  • TargetSensor
  • Homework Center to Help Students in Low-Income Communities
  • Early Birds
  • Buster Cast
  • Kinect Ninja Physical Therapy
  • Know your Narcan
  • Everybody’s Everything Project
  • Indoor Gardening Hydroponic System
  • Buddy Project
  • Incubator Initiative
  • 33a
  • Clinomax
  • Space Guard

The next step is for the semi-finalists to pitch at the Preliminary Pitch off on April 3rd in the Saab ETIC building on North Campus from 3:00pm to 6:00pm. The finalists that move on from this event will continue on to pitch their ventures at the Idea Challenge on April 15th in University Crossing from 3:00 to 6:30pm. Good luck all!

We look forward to seeing all DifferenceMaker Teams, even those who aren’t semi-finalists, at our last workshop of the year tonight. The topic is Rocket Pitch Presentations to help teams learn how to pitch their ideas. It will take place in Alumni Hall from 6:00pm to 8:00pm. All are welcome!

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The Snow Doesn’t Scare Us!

That’s right! Despite the continuous snow days, we have held two well-attended DifferenceMaker events and we will continue with our schedule of events for the spring semester. Tomorrow is the second of our workshop series. The topic for discussion will be assessing opportunities. It will take place from 6:00 to 8:00pm in University Crossing room 158. Below is a full list of our workshop series. For more additional information, click here.

February 11 | 6:00 – 8:00pm | University Crossing rm. 158 | Topic: Assessing Opportunities

February 17 | 6:00 – 8:00pm | University Crossing rm. 158 | Topic: Developing Business Models

February 21 | 9:00am – 12:30pm | University Crossing rm. 158 | Topic: Overview of Workshops

March 10 | 6:00 – 8:00pm | Alumni Hall, North Campus | Topic: Rocket Pitch Presentations

See you there!

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