3dim (winner)

The Idea
Computing interfaces in the post-PC era engender the notion that the user is the controller through unencumbered, free-form gestural input. Mobile devices are yet to fully utilize these affordances because sensors that capture free-form gesture do not yet fit the mobile form-factor in power, size and cost. 3dim is a patent-pending technology mobile 3D camera technology that promises to enable small devices like cell phones to solve complex computer vision tasks such as understanding free-form human gestures. Our goal is to integrate 3dim into every portable device and change the way humans interact with machines.

The Team
On the 3dim team are a bunch of technology enthusiasts that are excited about the next wave of smart input to portable and wearable devices. The team comprises 3 senior PhD students Ahmed Kirmani (EECS), Andrea Colaço (MIT Media Lab) and Nan-Wei Gong (MIT Media Lab) who have worked close to practical problems in computer vision and signal processing; mobile computing, human computer interfaces; power efficient sensors, and hardware. The team includes Vivek K Goyal (Research Laboratory of Electronics, MIT) who brings expertise in image compression techniques and both industry and academic experience.

 

Moses Membranes

The Idea
Moses Membranes will commercialize its proprietary nanoporous graphene (NPG) membranes to capture the $2 billion annual global market for water desalination and filtration membranes. A Moses co-founder co-developed and patented the material for desalination in the MIT Materials Science Laboratory. MIT research shows that NPG desalination membranes should be superior to conventional thin-film polymer membranes in every respect, producing pure water up to ten times faster or reducing energy use by up to 66% while lasting longer, fouling less and requiring less maintenance. We expect our NPG membranes to be plug and play compatible for retrofit of most existing water systems worldwide.

The Team
Founders include CEO Joshua Adler, a successful serial entrepreneur with over $100 million in principal transactions closed and over twenty years experience launching Internet, biomedical and real estate ventures. Adler holds degrees from Yale and MIT, where he was a Sloan Fellow. CTO David Cohen-Tanugi is the co-developer of NPG, a PhD candidate in the MIT Department of Materials Science and a Princeton-trained physicist. VP Operations Aditya Bhujle is an MIT and Caltech-trained mechanical engineer specializing in water purification systems. VP Finance Michael Nixon is an oil and gas industry and McKinsey Consulting veteran with an MIT Sloan MBA. Science Advisor, Principal Investigator and co-inventor Jeffrey C. Grossman is the Carl Richard Soderberg Associate Professor of Power Engineering in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He received his Ph.D. in theoretical physics from the University of Illinois, performed postdoctoral work at U.C. Berkeley, and was a Lawrence Fellow at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

 

Bluelight

The Idea
Bluelight provides an easy and accessible layaway savings program for low-income consumers in emerging markets. These consumers have a problem – they cannot access high-value goods due to predatory loan rates, little access to credit, and bank savings programs that do not meet their needs. We solve these problems using retailer-specific layaway savings programs that let consumers make deposits at their local neighborhood corner stores in order to save over time for high-value goods. This gives consumers access to high-value goods they could not have purchased previously, and retailers access to a broad new consumer base for their products.

The Team
Bluelight’s team has deep experience working in over 30 countries in microfinance and consumer finance, information and communications technologies, strategy and technology consulting, marketing, and business development. Hoda Eydgahi, MIT G, is an EECS Ph.D. candidate at MIT who has experience creating real-world technologies that have been the basis of successful companies. Manoah Koletty, MIT MBA ’14 and HKS MPA/ID ’14, is an expert in early-stage financing in developing countries, and has designed community-driven programs targeting low-income groups in emerging markets. R. Blaize Wallace, MIT MBA ’13, is an expert in technology systems design and implementation, and has developed strategies for and led teams in product development, marketing, and sales at multiple early-stage startups. John Ikeda, HKS MPA/ID ’13, is an expert in microfinance and base-of-pyramid consumer finance in emerging markets, and has designed low-income savings programs for several leading microfinance institutions.