Intel® Global Challenge
Launched at the Intel Global Challenge
To date, the Intel Global Challenge has helped more than 125,000 startups turn a big idea into a business.
Here, some IGC successes:
After seeing his aunt struggle to raise a child with a mental disorder, Manoj Sanker, of India, was motivated to create a wearable device that could help caregivers better interpret the emotions of children with autism, and in turn, help them better navigate the world.
The EmoteSensor, as the device is called, is a wristband with an array of sensors that measure pulse rate, body temperature and skin conductance, mapping them on an individualized scale to provide insight into a child’s emotions and corresponding behaviors. These measurements are recorded and analyzed via Intel microprocessors in a smartphone, and alerts are sent to the caregiver to keep them apprised of the emotional state of their charge.
“This data can be used to alert the caretaker when a child is experiencing stressful or painful emotions,” explains Sanker, “so they can intervene when necessary to save the child from emotional escalation.”
It was this big idea and novel technology that earned Sanker and his GlobSol team a spot as a finalist at the Intel Global Challenge (IGC) 2013.
Just one year later, the EmoteSensor is in the R&D stage, going through quality checks and certifications. Associated software – a basic app to perform tasks like calibration of the device and sending alerts to a smartphone, as well as a cloud-server app to store data in the cloud for progressive analysis – is in field trials.
“What’s more,” reports Sanker, “customers are already lined up.”
Fed up with cybercrime and the need to manage a multitude of passwords and security prompts to avoid being victimized by cybercriminals, Ivan Klimek, of Slovakia, came up with a way to turn a cell phone into a universal and secure key to all of one’s digital accounts.
“More than ninety percent of smartphone users have their phone with them 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Klimek notes.
It was this statistic that gave him the idea to use a smartphone as a highly secure “key” to access Internet accounts and other private data, without the need to submit IDs, passwords and answers to security questions for every single account, every time.
With Excalibur technology, a smartphone automatically and instantaneously conducts a security check, using multiple parameters to authenticate the user. These include not only obvious data such as a user’s ID or password, but additional information, such as geographic location, user habits and even biometric data, to ensure that only the authorized user can gain access.
For this innovation, Klimek and his Excalibur team earned their place in the finals at IGC 2013.
“There,” Klimek says, “we met highly experienced people who shared their expertise with us. This gave us clarity on how to build our company from both technological and business perspectives.”
Not long after IGC, the startup incorporated and quickly secured funding from two major investors. Since then, Klimek reports, it’s been full steam ahead.
Excalibur’s phone-as-key product is scheduled to launch late in 2014.
When Mohamed Sheikhaldeen, Bahrain, was in college, he enjoyed gaming with his buddies. While playing online one night, he had a light bulb moment when he realized he had the know-how to create professional caliber animations and renderings in a fraction of the time and cost of the big studios.
In essence, EXA is a cloud-based data processing acceleration that exponentially speeds up the process of creating graphics. Targeted to animation studios, architectural houses and game makers, it turns basic 3-D models from wireframes into elaborate scenes, complete with lighting effects and textures.
Sheikhaldeen sums up the process in three words: Upload. Render. Download.
“EXA enables accessibility to tremendous computing power instantly and on demand,” explains Sheikhaldeen. “It’s faster because of both hardware and because of the cloud. We are using Intel Xeon E5 V2s, which are much faster than what our clients typically use. And since they are drop-in compatible with the software our clients use, we can provide an immediate boost to their projects.”
It was this technology that earned Sheikhaldeen and his team a ticket to IGC 2013.
One year later, EXA Technologies has an international presence, with clients throughout the Middle East and Asia. Plans are underway to open an office in Japan, where animation is popular and demand is high, as well as to expand into Malaysia.
“We are in talks with a supercomputing facility in Kobe,” he says, “that has a commercial supercomputer built not just of Intel Xeon E5s, but also the GPU-like Intel Xeon Phi co-processor accelerators.”
Like many university students, Victor Popescu, of Romania, and his friends were into online gaming.
“Anything out there, we would have played at least once,” says Popescu. “We knew gaming. We knew the elements. And when we decided to make a game of our own, we realized that our approach, our format, could be used by anyone to make a game.”
With that, their startup, Gameleon, was born.
“Gameleon is a cloud-based platform that allows anyone to create, publish, play and monetize Web games using nothing more than a browser,” explains Popescu. “Users are able to create games via a visual interface, even if they have no programming skills or experience. The platform is intuitive, relying on simple interactions and familiar processes, such as drag and drop, to create rich, interactive game worlds.”
It was this concept that earned Popescu and his team the opportunity to compete at IGC 2013, where the team won First Place in the Internet, Mobile and Software Computing category, as well as Best Pitch.
And though, a year later, Gameleon did not turn out to be as profitable as Popescu had hoped, the serial entrepreneur has already launched yet another new technology – software to combine and analyze complicated databases to improve online exchanges and sales – under his startup, eMotion Concept.
Popescu reports that this latest product started generating profits before the first line of code was even written.