Edison Meets the Superheroes–at a Pitch Contest

Eleven students at Draper University’s Hero City met to compete in a high stakes Pitch Contest, sponsored by the Edison Innovation Foundation–the prize-$10,000. Mr. Kenny Hawk, a nationally recognized Silicon Valley entrepreneur, served as co-sponsor and emcee of the event.

Edison Meets the Superheroes–at a Pitch Contest

Draper University is a school for innovators, founded by world renowned innovator, Tim Draper. Located in San Mateo, the new entrepreneurial playground between Silicon Valley and San Francisco, Hero City at Draper University is a co-working space that promotes innovation, collaboration, and entrepreneurship.

The students (see photo below) ranged in age from their teens to early 40s, competing with new product ideas and services-having just 2minutes each to present their ideas, with 2 minutes for Q&A. For budding entrepreneurs, pitching ideas is a powerful skill to get potential investors quickly focused on a new idea and willing to learn more about it.

Edison Meets the Superheroes–at a Pitch Contest

The pitches were quite diverse, ranging from an “on-demand hair salon” to a “hybrid electric conversion kit for auto rickshaws to reduce air pollution and poverty”. The $10,000 winner was Russell Ladson for his entry “using artificial intelligence to contextualize video search”…which basically boils down to using AI software to be able to search video files [like YouTube and others] and be able to find what you want by showing the software an image of what you are looking for.

Shown in the center of the photo below, in bright red shirt, is the winner Russell Ladson. Shown to the right in photo is Mr. John Keegan, President and CEO of the Edison Innovation Foundation.

Edison Meets the Superheroes–at a Pitch Contest

I have got to believe old Tom Edison is smiling over this, young people enthusiastically proposing new ideas and explaining their value. This is exactly what the business world needs and values.

Thomas Edison on Time MagazineThomas Edison said, “If we all did the things we are really capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves …”

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Intel Edison Awards

Intel has launched its new Intel® Edison multi-function module designed to help entrepreneurs and builders quickly prototype new products. Recently, both Intel and the Edison Innovation Foundation selected three development efforts they felt epitomized Edisonian creativity in the application of the module. The awardees mentioned below received “Tommy “Awards as shown here, named in honor of the great inventor, Thomas Edison.

The First Place Winner of the awards ceremony was Shubham Banerjee for work in using the microprocessor to build his Braille Printer called “Braigo”

The First Place Winner of the awards ceremony was Shubham Banerjee for work in using the microprocessor to build his Braille Printer called “Braigo”

Runner up winners included- Ken Krieger-as the “Brain” for Coordinating his Ebola Crisis Treatment Camp

Runner up winners included Ken Krieger as the “Brain” for Coordinating his Ebola Crisis Treatment Camp

Thud Rumble-Tech Savy DJs using Intel Edison as part of their Turntables and Audio Equipment

Thud Rumble – Tech Savy DJs using Intel Edison as part of their Turntables and Audio Equipment

Congratulations to the awardees! All you other makers and inventors out there … try the Intel Edison module.

Thomas Edison on Time MagazineThomas Edison said, “If we all did the things we are really capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves …”

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Thomas Edison Salutes Female Engineering Students [FemGineers]

This is about young women in engineering, a delightful story of student teams competing every year in the National Engineers Week Future City Design Challenge. In 2008, with just 7 young ladies, the FemGineers magic started at Heritage Middle School in Livingston, NJ. Today 65-70 young ladies participate in this activity … after school I might add. Even young ladies who have gone on to high school come back to mentor their little sisters. Some of the original founding members of this group have gone on to engineering colleges.

As each class year works creatively on their design challenge, they do so mindful of those that came before and the spirit of excellence they project-for around the room is a large collection of awards attesting to what those who came before have accomplished. These young ladies have also competed in the Edison Innovation Foundation’s annual Thomas Edison Invention Challenge–another national design experience … and they have trophies to prove their creativity there as well.

Edison Would Applaud FemGineers (Female Engineers)

Listen to what Kenny Zushma their inspirational technology education teacher has to say about his charges.

“It is about more than just painting it pink. To truly excite females at a young age in the STEM fields, two items must be present. First is social fit. Girls need to feel a sense of community and belonging in a group. They do not want to be perceived as different. By having this group in place, they are assured that they are with like-minded young ladies who share the same interests. Second, they need to feel a sense of meaning when designing. By this, I mean they don’t want to design for the sake of competition, nor do they want to destructively test their designs. They want to design and build to improve life. Regardless of if it is on a global or local scale, they want to add to the community.”

We hear a great deal about STEM education and students using head and hands to design new things. I cannot think of a better example of this educational paradigm. Alongside this, Kenny gives his ladies a healthy dose of Thomas Edison and how his work at the nearby legendary Edison West Orange, NJ labs, [now officially known as the Thomas Edison National Historical Park] dovetails so well with the invention process. At West Orange, Edison put in place an invention process that encompasses the entire STEM movement-it is the taproot of STEM thinking and implementation-head and hands to the highest order. The FemGineers all benefit greatly by studying Edison, and carry that work ethic with them. Old Tom would be very proud!

Thomas Edison on Time MagazineThomas Edison said, “I find out what the world needs. Then I go ahead and try to invent it.”

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