UNM Rainforest Innovations

Open to university students, faculty, staff, entrepreneurs, and the community, the Lobo Hackathon took place on April 11 and 12 at the Lobo Rainforest Building where a staggering 16 teams formed to fast-track and collaborate on developing their ideas.

For two days, teams worked diligently to refine and develop their ideas that addressed a problem, utilized a technology, or created something entirely new. This year’s event also provided a 3D printing lab for prototype development along with the support of dedicated mentors that offered advice and assistance.

The first evening kicked off with dinner and presentations at the Lobo Rainforest Building where participants were welcomed by Donna Riley, PhD, the Jim and Ellen King Dean of Engineering and Computing at the University of New Mexico (UNM). The presentations included Hacking 101 by Robert G. Frank, PhD; Prototype Resource Availability by Christina Salas, PhD; Intellectual Property Overview by Gregg Banninger, PhD; and Pitch an idea or Problem by Robert Delcampo, PhD.

After the presentations, participants were invited on stage to pitch their ideas and begin forming teams. They had all evening to work on team formation and to begin collaborating on their ideas. The next morning, participants were invited back to the Lobo Rainforest Building to begin working on prototype development, a business model, and developing their pitches for the final presentations.

At the end of the two days, teams pitched their ideas to a panel of judges, following by a few minutes of questioning, for the chance to win cash prizes. The judges this year included:

  • Jeff Benefiel, SVP of Core Applications and Digital Innovations, Nusenda
  • Bill Szaroletta, Chief Innovation Officer, Project ECHO, UNM
  • Justin Muskopf, Lead Software Developer, RESPEC

“We were very impressed by this year’s participants,” said Lisa Kuuttila, President of UNM Rainforest Innovations. “This was the best turnout to date and all 16 teams developed some very interesting ideas given the intense time constraints. The judges had their work cut out for them.”

After much deliberation, the judges selected the following teams to split the $19,000 prize pool.

$5,000 Awards:

  • BowelSense– A Smart Toilet Attachment that automatically tracks your bowel movements (Ahmed Eltelbany, Joshua Zamora-Griego)
  • Cybercharge– Mobile EV Charging (Gabriel Gurule, James Gentry, Michael Alvarado)

$2,500 Awards:

  • Lingualens– A tool that stream lines intervention programs and student learning (Ahmed Hersi, Abdulrahman Hersi, Ahmed Alatawi, Seyf Saadi)
  • This is Albuquerque– Using AI to increase tourism and exploration in New Mexico (Ivan Pineda Dominguez, Fermin Ramos, Dominic Larranaga)

$1,000 Awards:

  • Earthwise Living– DIY Affordable Housing (Tony Wallace, Joe Yelk, Miko Roura, Nyah Wilson, Kan Pal, Celia Ameline)
  • Create Ai + VR – VR application that uses AI to generate objects (Estevan Romero, Reza Pirayeshshirazinezhad)

$500 Awards:

  • LoboGym– progressive web application that allows you to make full use of the Johnson Gym facilities (Ashish Khatri, Joseph Marchbanks, Ingrid Renteria, Jessika Otero)
  • SonicAI– Merging the concepts of ultrasound and AI for real-time breast cancer tumor detection on edge device (Daniel Manu, Liangkun Yu, Zhirun Li)
  • PlayPath– Health/Wellness idea for Parents that are wondering what sports their kids should play (Chaeeun Park, Yuchan Choi)
  • AA Innovations– Non-kill method to prevent rats from entering home through sewage (Aboutaleb (Sam) Abarham, Monireh Sadvand, Cristal Quezada)

The additional six teams also received gift card prizes for their participation and hard work.

We would like to thank all those who participated in this year’s hackathon and the sponsors of this year’s even who made this event possible: 

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