Computer science student Ty Uehara took home the top prize and $2,000 at the 2019 University of Hawaiʻi Breakthrough Innovation Challenge for his helmet called ConTekt. The helmet immediately contacts 911 emergency services when riders have fallen from an accident.

The challenge is in its 9th year and is hosted by the Shidler College of Business’ Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship (PACE).

Prior to the final event, UH students submitted a two-minute video detailing their breakthrough idea and its market potential where a preliminary judging panel then selected the finalists. PACE matched the finalists with mentors from the local business community to help the teams further identify commercial opportunities for the idea and develop a five-minute presentation.

“The success of this particular challenge, for PACE, has been engaging students from technical fields of study and introducing them to business and entrepreneurial concepts,” said Peter Rowan, executive director of PACE.

The three other finalists of the Breakthrough Innovation Challenge were:

  • Auctor—software that helps to sort waste for recycling
  • Hawaiʻi Innovation Lab—a vest that keeps the body cool with liquid metal
  • Hempire—eco-conscious clothing made from hemp

Hawaiʻi Innovation Lab captured the 2nd prize of $1,000, and the $1,000 Audience Choice award that was determined by audience votes.