For 10 weeks each summer, a group of impact-driven individuals from around the world come to Singularity University’s Silicon Valley campus to embark on our flagship Global Solutions Program (GSP).
Seven weeks into the program, the participants take on SU’s 10^9 challenge with the goal of building a company that will positively impact a billion people in 10 years by leveraging exponential technology.
For many of these teams, GSP is only the beginning. Here’s a look inside five GSP 2015 team projects turned into startups and some of their post-program achievements.
Applications for the 2016 Global Solutions Program have been extended until March 7th. Click here to begin your application.
1. Aipoly: Artificial intelligence for the blind
The Team: Marita Cheng, Alberto Rizzoli, Simon Edwardsson
Aipoly is an intelligent smartphone assistant for the visually impaired. It uses convolutional neural networks trained on several millions of images to identify items in real time. The AI speaks whatever it sees out loud becoming a sighted assistant for the blind. Sighted users can help the visually impaired by teaching it new objects.
Aipoly’s app officially launched this January and was released in Apple’s app store. Since launch, 33,000 visually impaired individuals have downloaded the app.
Co-founder Marita Cheng was recently listed as #6 in StartUp Daily’s Top 50 Female Entrepreneurs under 40, and the company won a booth at CES 2016 after being named a winner of a CEA Foundation contest. The company has been written up in TechCrunch, The Daily Dot, Kurzweil AI, and more.
2. AIME: Artificial intelligence in medical epidemiology
The Team: Rainier Mallol, Dhesi Baha Raja
AIME is using big data analytics and machine learning to predict the location and time of infectious disease outbreaks in real time. During tests of their dengue prediction platform in Malaysia and Brazil, AIME predicted where outbreaks would occur with 84-88% accuracy in advance of the outbreak.
After GSP, AIME secured a spot in Singularity University’s Field Innovation Exchange program (FIX) and worked with Brazil-based NGO Viva Rio. During the exchange, AIME predicted dengue outbreaks in Rio de Janeiro with 84% accuracy and were selected as winners of PitchGov Sao Paulo in the health category.
Since January, AIME has been working with Viva Rio and the government of San Paulo on a pilot program focused on preventing the spread of Zika and dengue virus in Brazil—just in time for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
With the data AIME is gathering, the team is working to define future research requirements to be incorporated into the decision-making process of public health officials in the city of San Paulo.
The team has also been invited to present at the World Health Organization/Pan American Health Organization and TedXYouth.
3. Iris AI: Artificial intelligence to navigate scientific research
The Team: Anita Schjøll Brede, Jacobo Elosua, Maria Ritola, Victor Botev
Every day, new academic research is published around the world, but most of this research is only accessible to a small community of academic researchers. Iris AI is building an AI tool they’re calling “a shortcut to science.” They hope their software will make navigating complex research intuitive, fast, and available to the public.
This month the team is launching their first product in beta to coincide with the annual TED conference. This first version of Iris AI can scan over 2,000 TED talks and create a visual display of all research related to the talks. The display includes a subject overview plus details and links to the in-depth studies used in the talk.
4. Emerge: A platform to communicate virtually through touch
The Team: Isaac Castro, Mauricio Teran, Sly Lee
Emerge is a new communication tool that digitizes the sense of touch. The goal is to give people a sense of closeness when connecting with loved ones remotely.
The team developed a proof-of-concept prototype during GSP and was recently accepted into top hardware accelerator Make in LA.
Co-founder Isaac Castro, an MIT Technology Review Innovator Under 35, was invited to the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos where he hosted two panels. Co-founder Sly Lee will present at Skoll World Forum later this year.
5. iHelmet (RedOlive): A low-cost smart helmet for motorcycle safety
The Team: Ganindu Nanayakkara
iHelmet is an intelligent and affordable motorcycle helmet that uses built-in sensors and a Bluetooth-connected app to communicate safety information to motorcycle drivers.
Features include high-speed warning, blind-spot assistance, an air-quality sensor, and SOS alerts to pre-identified contacts. Founder Ganindu Nanayakkara was recently a finalist in Verizon’s multi-million dollar challenge for entrepreneurs Powerful Answers Awards.