Congratulations to the winning team from the Austin Innovation Lab, 9’s Design! Their design, a wearable device aimed helping to promote employee independence, accessibility, and safety took the top prize. Here’s what team member, Tailor Dortona had to say about the ideas behind the device:
“People with disabilities are overwhelmingly vulnerable when it comes to emergency preparedness, so when we were tasked with solving a common workplace problem, emergency evacuations seemed the most logical problem to tackle. The security applicability of the device was inspired by the necessity to create something that ALL people would have a reason to wear, no matter their disability status. Having just ended an appointment with the U.S. Department of Navy, incorporating RFID chip technology into our wearable safety medallion seemed the best way to make our creation status quo while simultaneously promoting independence and increasing worker productivity.”
Teams formed two weeks prior to the event, getting to know each other and share project ideas virtually. By the day of the event, many teams were ready to go. During the event they brainstormed how to pitch their ideas and solve concrete problems, tapping into the insights of the many mentors circulating amongst the teams. Two days later, they got to show off their ideas the USBLN Expo Hall, along with many influential companies, pitching to potential investors, advisors, and employers. Attendees then voted on their favorites and the top two teams, 9’s Design and My Ears, got to pitch to the entire conference at the Closing Plenary session. A panel of judges, all business leaders with disabilities, then got an opportunity to question the teams on their innovations before voting for the final winner.
We were so happy with this event and with the enthusiasm and hard work of the participants. We hope this was an experience they can take with them and apply to all aspects of their profession and creative lives.
Congrations again to all the members of 9’s Design: Joseph Uvalle, Jewel Melvin, Kathleen Uva,Paul Alan Williams,Tailor Dortona, Benjamin Griffiths, and Kevin Kundiger. A very special congratulations and thanks goes out to their team facilitators, Elizabeth O’Neal and Marcus Tuck.
Thank you to all the participants and sponsors for helping to make a Innovation Lab Austin such a great success! A very special thank you to Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation and their Director Kevin Webb for serving our MC for the “Shark Tank”- style round of of presentations.
Check out the winning team and more photos from Innovation Lab Austin by visiting USBLN’s Instagram.
Take a look at the winning team 9’s Design and the runner-up, My Ears in their “shark tank” presentations:
(Innovation Lab Austin’s winning team 9’s Design presenting their wearable device at the USBLN Conference in Austin, TX. This device helps to equip people with disabilities in emergency situations, while remaining discrete in the workplace. The runner-up, team My Ears, created a speech to text smartphone application, helping to translate, as well as video playback for various disabilities, including both hearing and processing disabilities.)