Big Ideas Finalists Announced in “IT for Society” 2016 Competition

Big Ideas Finalists Announced in "IT for Society" 2016 Competition

CITRIS is delighted to have six innovative finalists in the IT for Society category of the 2015-2016 Big Ideas at Berkeley competition, which provides funding, support, and encouragement to interdisciplinary teams of students who have “big ideas.”  This year’s finalists were chosen from more than 50 applications across the UC campuses. The students will compete in a poster session this April for $20,000 in prize money to further their work in information technology for societal benefit.

Learn more about the 2016 Big Ideas Finalists:

Et al. Health. UC Berkeley
Through the use of natural language processing, a number of open APIs, and a user-centered design philosophy, et al. Health is developing the world’s first doctor search tool based on a doctor’s clinical research experience. By providing honest, accurate, and friendly information about physicians who study rare diseases, et al. Health’s mission is to help patients get useful and objective information that will help them get the treatment they need.

Lifted: Student Performance Measurement/Analysis/Reporting for Special Education Professionals. UC Berkeley
All from an iPad, SPED professionals can manage a student’s legally-mandated annual individualized education plan; create/Conduct activities that align with student’s learning goals; receive actionable insight about student’s learning & behavioral trends, enabling real-time modification to teaching methods; and produce data visualizations to share with parents and administrators.

MindFull™: By Medical Students, for Everyone. UC Irvine
MindFull™ is a mobile application, designed by medical students and professionals, for the self-management of depression, anxiety, and stress or simply boosting one’s mood. MindFull™ provides a list of combination therapies that users can like, comment, or mark as favorite, which it automatically rearranges in order of community preference and feedback. Day-by-day regimens are presented as 6 “tiles”; each tile can flip upon a “double tap” to provide users with more information, scientific citations, and local resources and providers.

PillPal. UC Berkeley
PillPal is a simple application that integrates drug prices with a patient’s particular health insurance benefits to calculate a patient’s out-of-pocket costs. The application will feature three important services: upfront cost estimates, value-based suggestions, and price comparisons by location. , PillPal will offer the patients the ability to compare prices for their medications by location so they can choose where they purchase their drugs based on not only proximity but cost as well.

The Smart Braille Board. UC Berkeley
The Smart Braille Board is comprised of programmable braille pins that raise and lower to create tactile graphics. It does not use paper, enabling instant shape transformation. In addition, it enables multisensory learning by allowing users to interact with graphics and discover relevant audio information. With these features, the smart braille board could provide a much more enhanced learning experience to the students with which they could intuitively touch the board, listen to the explanation, and visualize the information.

Wildfire. UC Berkeley
Wildfire sends real-time notifications to your phone when a user reports dangerous activity nearby. Breaking local news delivered to you, without you even needing to unlock your phone. Getting informed on Wildfire is not about who your friends are or who you follow, rather it is about being notified and helping inform others in your community based on who is nearby. If an emergency occurs, write an alert that is sent directly to your emergency contacts, your nearby community, a dashboard monitored by public safety officials, all with one button.


The Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) and the Banatao Institute drive interdisciplinary innovation for social good with faculty researchers and students from four University of California campuses – Berkeley, Davis, Merced, and Santa Cruz – along with public and private partners.

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