For one team, victory at this year’s Pennvention competition was just an arm’s reach away.
On Wednesday, five Engineering seniors won the final round of Pennvention with their project BionUX, . The winners — Matthew Lisle, Adrian Lievano, Aadithya Prakash, Steven Xing and Freddy Hernandez — received a grand prize of $5,000 to further develop their project. BionUX was originally conceived as the team’s senior design project.
“We are one step closer to making a lasting impact, and we are unbelievably grateful to Penn for providing this opportunity,” Lisle said. “What we are most excited about is that we can apply these funds to take this proof of concept to a real product for Matthew, the eight-year-old amputee.”
Lisle and Lievano were also recently awarded a President’s Engagement Prize for their
Taking second place at Pennvention was Roominnate, a home design app, while Oncora Medical, a team looking to harness the power of data to improve oncology, took third place. These three teams along with five other finalists presented their projects before an audience and panel of judges at Levine Hall’s Wu and Chen Auditorium.
All of the finalists had a little over a week to prepare for the event and were coached on their presentations by Glenn Rockefeller of the Wharton Communication Program. All semifinalists in the competition received an award of $200 to help develop their project, and were also matched with teams of four to five mentors based on their specific needs. Pennvention had a network of over 60 mentors that were in touch with student teams in person and over the phone.
“In the last two years, this mentorship component has really blossomed,” College junior Ben Feis, co-chair of Pennvention, said. “Because we have such an extensive network, we’re able to gauge from our mentors what is their area of expertise, and then we’re able to ask our teams what they need help with.”
Each year, the competition attracts up to 100 teams competing for the grand prize. Past years’ winners have included a 3-D printer for bioengineering, anti-glare coating for glass devices, and wireless chargers for electronic devices.
One non-student attendee at the event was a previous winner of the Pennvention competition in 2004. Josh Koplin is the co-founder and chief technology officer at Humanistic Robotics, Inc., which is the successor to the product he and his partner pitched at this competition.
“I always think of this as the best show in town, and probably in Philly.” said Koplin. “You’re seeing a really great bunch of people who are executing really heavily and really intelligently.”
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