Press Release – 2014 DifferenceMaker™ Preliminary Pitch-Offs: April 4, 2014

DifferenceMakerTM held its 2014 Preliminary Pitch-Off on Friday April 4th from 2-6pm. 42 student teams pitched their innovative ideas making this event a great success! These teams were categorized into 6 groups depending on their projects topic. These categories included IT/Software/Apps, Healthcare/Medical Devices/Well-being, Technology/Energy/Environment, Community/Non-profit, Consumer Products and Education Innovations.  These 6 groups each contained 7 team projects that pitched to a panel of 4 judges simultaneously utilizing 6 UMass Lowell rooms. These rooms included DifferenceMaker Central, Lydon Library Quiet Study, Lydon Library Computer Lab, Saab Emerging Technology and Innovation Center Room 245, 345 and 445.

The 24 UMass Lowell Alumni judges that dedicated themselves to this event were:

Lew Leathersich Michelle Massaro John Cadigan Michael Morin Glenn Morgan Louis Beaudette
Jonathan Geanakos Wendy LaBate Michael Callahan Susan Stemporzewski Anthony Zona Michael Rider
James Regan Steven Geyster Joseph Lane Brian Rist Raymond Southworth Bryce Anderson
George Yfantopulos David Basile Andrew Sutherland Ethan Jacks William Rizos Christopher White

The Preliminary Pitch-Off event began at 2pm in the Saab Emerging Technology and Innovation Center with registration, networking and food. The event concluded around 6pm with the announcement of the 12 finalists that will be moving on to the 2nd Annual DifferenceMaker Idea Challenge being held on Tuesday, April 15th from 5-9pm (Register here).

Congratulations to the Finalist Teams:

Nerdonyx: Nerdonyx is a place where theory meets application. This team is helping to encourage anyone who wants to be an engineer or scientist to pursue their dream.

S.imulated A.ction T.esting: A gaming option for S.A.T. testing for students who have testing anxiety.

Prevention’s Possible: The mission of this project is to use creative mediums and personal experience to reach today’s youth with the expectation that WE CAN prevent tragic outcomes!

SOS: Support Our Students: This Campus Community Shop at UMass Lowell would be a centrally located resource for students of low-income or those in need of assistance. It would also serve as a resource center for community engagement, for credit service placements and volunteer opportunities in the area.

Chat UML: Chat UML, a non-profit, will reach those in need of emotional help through a dedicated website where participants will chat with a Chat UML volunteer about what ever issue they feel a need to. We hope to assist people before their situation escalates and becomes a crisis.

iHand: The iHand is a concept integrating retinal scanning technology into a full arm, shoulder to fingertips, prosthetic.

BioBubbler:  The BioBubbler is made from indigenous material and does not require chemicals or electricity to use. It is a slow sand filtration system that eliminates bacteria in water by absorption, predation, natural death, and oxygen depletion.

OTTOnomous Technology: OTTOnomous Technology is a novel soltuion for replacing camshsfts in car engines with electro-mechanical actuators.

Treehouse: Treehouse is a website & phone application that connects friends with plans, events, and small businesses nearby.

ZHOOM: ZHOOM is a mobile application that improves the dining experience and service in restaurants. The features of ZHOOM include an online menu, mobile ordering functionality and payment system and customer reviews.

Fresh Beets: Fresh Beets is a food truck and music venue that unites three discrete areas that the Greater Lowell community values highly into one vehicle of change. By combining food, music and education, Fresh Beets will turn any street corner, stake park, festival, or parking lot in Lowell into a total experience which feeds the mind, body and soul.

TutorTrack: TutorTrack is a mobile application that makes it easy for tutors to track, add, and edit their time slots and for students to subscribe a book a time slot.

Termagen®/ TermaGreen: Termagen is our waste heat recovery solutions company that has innovated the heat recovery mechanism known as the organ rankine cycle. We have innovated the design of this machine to make a significant difference in its operations.

  • This team was the winner of the 2013 DCU Innovation Contest with their project called Autocredit, a banking application. They have chosen to pitch their other project, TermaGreen in the finals instead of Autocredit.

These 13 teams will be presenting a 5 minute rocket pitch to a panel of alumni judges for a chance to share in $35,000 in prizes and services. In addition, a “fan favorite” prize will be awarded to the team with the best poster. The 2nd Annual DifferenceMaker Idea Challenge will take place on Tuesday, April 15th from 5-9pm in the Saab Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center. If you are interested in attending this event please register.



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