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Read coverage of the 2017 winners on Tufts Now.

Winners of the 2017 Health & Life Sciences Track

First Place


Tarsier is developing an accurate and accessible headset that can aid in the diagnosis and monitoring of glaucoma, the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the world. Their system eliminates several layers of bias and gives medical professionals higher quality data to make more informed decisions about their patients. Tarsier is focused on reaching a wider range of audiences, specifically those at higher risk. They believe that no one should have to compromise their medical care, especially when it comes to their sight.

Tarsier Team:  Andre C. Newland E17; Erika Marmol E17; Jessica Morales E17; Jorge Anton Garcia E17;  Terence Tufuor E17 

Second Place


OnGuard is a concussion detection and early warning system that will protect athletes by instantly informing parents, coaches, and athletic trainers of potential concussions. Athletes will place a small Band-Aid-like sensor behind their ear. The device then alerts stakeholders on the sideline of head impacts in real-time to facilitate timely medical attention and proper monitoring and diagnosis. Additionally, the data collected can be provided to the athletes and trainers as a record system, as well as to researchers to enable discovery of future prevention and treatment measures.

OnGuard Team: Yihan Hu EG17; Barton Liang A16, EG17; Patricia O’Connor A16, EG17; Paget Stanco A16, EG17

Third Place

Velum, Inc. – Therapies for Global Diseases

Type 2 diabetes and obesity are global public health concerns that affect hundreds of millions worldwide and account for one in seven healthcare dollars spent in the US. The current state-of-the-art therapies are drugs that mimic and amplify the actions of our bodies’ own regulatory peptide hormones, but their financial burden (~10K per year/patient) is prohibitive even for developed countries. Velum has discovered a flexible, cost-effective way to generate hundreds of potent peptide drug candidates. Some already match (or outperform) the leading treatments in animal models. Velum aims to discover drugs suitable for worldwide adoption under basic care standards.

Velum, Inc. Team: Kathleen Sicinski AG4; John Paul Issa AG6; Jasper Du A17; Amy Xinruo Guo A18; Vittorio  Montanari, Research Assistant Professor, School of Arts and Sciences; Angela Gehrckens; Javier Licardie

Honorable Mention:


UCHU is a biosensor attached to a tooth that passively measures nutrition intake, including calories, carbs, protein, and fat. Users can set goals and use real time nutritional data viewed  in an app to adjust their diets to meet those goals. Enjoy meals, track health, and ditch the activity log!

UCHU Team: Daniel Weinstein E18; Camila Menard E18; Noah Hill E20; Saam Bozorg D19

Sustainable Diet, Inc.

Sustainable Diet is a 3-month program providing the education and support people need to transition to a whole food, plant-based diet successfully and conveniently. The program trains participants to cultivate motivation, plan meals for convenience, grocery-shop for health, cook tasty dishes, and make their environment and social networks supportive of their goals — all the essentials for long-term success. It’s the key support that individuals need, and it’s the perfect tool for physicians to prescribe their patients. @sustainablediets

Sustainable Diet, Inc. Team: Micaela Karlsen NG4; Kathy Pollard; Alicia Freedman  

Winners of the 2017 General/High-Tech Ventures Track:

First Place

Epic CleanTec

Epic CleanTec is redefining urban wastewater management by installing on-site treatment systems into individual buildings. The Epic system collects and processes all of the wastewater within a building—from toilets, showers, sinks, etc.—instantly converting the organic solids into a high quality fertilizer that can be used to grow crops, enhance gardens, and beautify green spaces. The separated water, with the solids now removed, can be treated and reused for toilet flushing, irrigation, and cooling towers. Epic’s proprietary scientific approach has been recognized by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Cleantech Forum, and the Environmental Protection Agency. @EpicCleanTec

Epic CleanTec Team: Aaron Tartakovsky A12; Igor Tartakovsky; Ilan Levy; Alessandra Buonfrate

Second Place

Cambridge Crops****

One-third of the total food produced in the world is wasted every year. Cambridge Crops has developed an innovative biomaterial coating able to naturally extend the shelf-life of perishable foods such as fruits and vegetables and thus reduce food loss from the farm to the home. The coating is natural, odorless, biodegradable and fully edible. It plays the role of a protective shield reducing the exchange of gazes and water preventing decay. Cambridge Crops aims to bring this innovation on the market in both developed and developing areas.

Cambridge Crops Team: Fiorenzo Omenetto, Associate Dean for Research, School of Engineering; Benedetto Marelli, Postdoctoral Scholar 2012-2015, Tufts Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences; Livio Valenti; Jacques Grislain

Third Place

Lithio Storage

Lithio Storage is utilizing their laboratory-developed ion gel electrolyte to fabricate batteries that are safer, flexible, and last longer on a single charge. Electric vehicles, wearables, and portable electronics require better performing batteries to meet the demands of these rapidly advancing technologies. Lithio Storage aims to commercialize the first lithium metal battery that allows for a drastic (2-3 times) increase in capacity compared to current commercial lithium-ion batteries. The Lithio Storage battery possesses a resilient gel design that is capable of adaptable configurations for next-generation wearables and eliminating the risk of a fire hazard. @LithioStorage

Lithio Storage Team: Anthony D’Angelo EG18; Huan Qin EG19; Elliot Taylor EG21; Daphne Warlamis F17; Ignacio Obejero-Paz F18

Honorable Mention:

BluCloud (formerly Hujambo)* / ***

BluCloud is bringing an innovative modular hardware solution to market. They have already applied this to their Slate tablet, which can have modules easily swapped in and out. Slate is a low-cost, high-power modular tablet that is perfectly suited for classrooms — they even have an education software suite and online platform for seamless integration. But, the technology is suited for many other purposes beyond the classroom. BluCloud’s endless possibilities of modules make it perfectly suited for the uses of consumers, medical practitioners, IoT industry professionals, and creative minds around the world. @blucloudtech

BluCloud Team: Daniel McCormack A19; Michael Morscher E19


Groove makes custom products for the music industry. Their first product is the Groove Guitar Pick, which custom-molds to a guitarist’s own digit structure—down to the last fingerprint ridge. They pride themselves on the strategic brand: “it’s personal.” They believe music is made good through an individual’s personal connection with it, and Groove seeks to facilitate that connection through accessible, personalized gear. Groove plans to utilize the supply-chain created through the Groove Pick to introduce other products to the music space, starting next with custom-molded headphones, and eventually branch into a more generalized market.

Groove Team: Jordan Lange A17; Jason Dong; Brandon Price; Joshua Whitener; Zac Wong; Michael Sanky


Qipo is Facebook for getting things done: one shared agenda for working with multiple groups that are using different tools. Qipo brings chats, schedules, and tasks from your whole life into one place that syncs up with all the major providers. You stick with your usual system, but now you can work with people who are on different ones. Qipo’s open productivity platform keeps everyone on the same page and makes it painless to work between organizations. Tech consultants are Qipo’s first customers, because they work with different companies on incompatible toolsets and deeply feel their pain. @qipoco

Qipo Team: Javier Garcia EG17; John O’Sullivan

Winners of the 2017 Social Impact Track

First Place

Adelante Shoe Co.**

Adelante Shoe Co. is a new social enterprise making it effortless to choose a socially responsible pair of shoes without compromising on quality, style, or price. We work with craftsmen in Guatemala to handmake modern classic footwear, and we pay our craftsmen a living well wage for work well done. Adelante launched with a Kickstarter campaign in November, 2016, selling 400 pairs of shoes raising $65k. Our next objective is to raise a seed round of funding in summer 2017 to fast track growth. @adelanteshoeco

Adelante Shoe Co. Team: Peter Sacco F17; Michael Pelzner; Bob Mott; Michelle Cloud

Second Place

-sPARK+ Technologies**

-sPARK+ is revolutionizing modern playground equipment’s capacity for education, energy efficiency, and entertainment.  -sPARK+ products harness childrens’ mechanical energy and convert it into electricity in the form of lights and sounds. This real time feedback reflects the amount of energy being generated, creating an interactive and engaging atmosphere for the children, and giving them an intuitive sense of their relationship with energy.  -sPARK+ uses the feedback to add a competitive gaming aspect to each play structure, increasing its ability to entertain, while simultaneously providing a beautiful art installation for the surrounding area.

-sPARK+ Team: Hermes Suen E19; Eddie Futterman A19; Nate Silberman A19; Zach Zager A17; Richard Ding E19; Tommaso Lombardi A19 

Honorable Mention:

1DEA Studios

1DEA Studios aims to create user-friendly software for resource-strapped organizations  serving the community, specifically vulnerable populations, to provide them with efficient ways to manage their data and interact with users. Currently, we have developed an end-toend operations management software to automate clothing inventory and distribution at  homeless shelters. 1DEA Studios hopes to deliver the most impact per line of code and use technology to solve pertinent local problems.

1DEA Studios Team: Sravya Madabhushi M20; Edwin Thai, Tufts Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences


Blockparty is a two-sided platform that connects millennials to the causes they care about through an interactive online user experience, allowing users to put a face to local causes and invite friends to join in. The innovation lies in bringing the volunteer experience into the 21st century. Blockparty uses gamification to incentivize continued action; users earn badges and build an online record for their actions, earning exclusive rewards and experiences from the brands and local businesses that they love. As a B-Corp, Blockparty is well positioned to grow and achieve scale through a sponsorship and targeted advertising model.

Blockparty Team: Abe Stein A12; Adatm Mitchell; Lisa Tacoronte 


Undivided is a free and open-source political engagement platform that helps users take simple, meaningful action on the issues and causes that are important to them. When users sign up for Undivided, they select the various issues, policies, and organizations that they are passionate about. Undivided provides a personalized dashboard of actionable items based on these preferences, where users can find scripts for calling congressional representatives, a calendar of rallies, townhalls, and marches, and likeminded organizations to join and support.

Undivided Team: Rowan Krishnan A17; Joseph Leone A16


YourMedPal is a unique social support website where people with the same medical diagnosis and/or their caregivers can come together to share experiences and emotions.  YourMedPal matches people based on more than just their diagnosis; it incorporates age, interests, hobbies, lifestyle, and more to create a highly personal and beneficial support system.  In addition to matching, YourMedPal provides an area to join specific medical communities, focused around your diagnosis.  YourMedPal also keeps you up to date on all news pertaining to your diagnosis by delivering relevant articles straight to your homepage.

YourMedPal Team: Joshua Torrey M19; Benjamin Seiler  

* indicates a 2016 Montle Prize Winner

**indicates a 2016 Ideas Competition Winner

***indicates a 2016 Ricci Prize Winner