Avnet Backs Student Entrepreneurs Competing for $100,000 Prize in 2019 ASU Innovation Open

Wednesday, January 23, 2019 11:04 am MST

For the last three years, Avnet has partnered with Arizona State University (ASU) to encourage students to flex their entrepreneurial muscles by tackling today’s most challenging problems to create tomorrow’s most innovative technology.

This year’s competition is as fierce as ever, with “incredible innovation, imagination and sophistication seen from these young entrepreneurs,” according to Avnet Vice President of Corporate Affairs Melissa Gray.

“The competition keeps getting better and better, and it’s very exciting to watch that progression,” Gray continued. “The types of technology solutions presented today take on some of the world’s toughest challenges, underscoring our own guiding mantra to ‘reach further’ and make a difference.”

During an intense round of semi-finals in December, the competition whittled down to five finalists in the running for the $100,000 prize. Check back in early February for the winner of the 2019 ASU Innovation Open from among the top contenders: 

  • Cloud Agronomics
    • Team: Jack Roswell and Oleksiy Zhuk, Brown University
    • Description: Disrupting the agri-tech space can do more than just optimize crops. It can also reduce food waste. Cloud Agronomics aims to do this through ultra-HD aerial imaging of crops to assess disease and advise farmers on next steps.
  • Infinite Cooling
    • Team: Maher Damak, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    • Description: Water is one of our most precious resources and the Infinite Cooling technology, already in use at an MIT power plant today, can capture water from the evaporative losses of power plant cooling towers for recycling and reuse.
  • Solemate Solutions
    • Team: Surabhi Kalyan and Kristine Khieu, University California, San Diego
    • Description: When a patient walks out the door, it’s important to ensure the healing continues. Solemate Solutions’ smart shoe insole aggregates data from lower-extremity rehabilitation patients by measuring weight applied and providing real-time feedback to improve recovery.
  • Soundskrit
    • Team: Sahil Gupta, McGill University
    • Description: Amping up audio capture through biomimetic microphone design can help audio engineers better capture sound on multi-directional Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) microphones, which dynamically track and listen to multiple inputs.
  • Strella Biotechnology
    • Team: Katherine Sizov, University of Pennsylvania
    • Description: You’d never miss the peak of your fruit’s freshness with Strella Biotechnology, which produces biosensing platforms to measure ripeness through ethylene gas production—technology already being leveraged by Washington and Pennsylvania apple packers. 

Learn more about the ASU Innovation Open at


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