Big Ideas 2015 winners in “IT for Society” Challenge: BCAPI takes first place

Big Ideas 2015 winners in "IT for Society" Challenge: BCAPI takes first place

CITRIS held its poster and judging session on April 10, for the Big Ideas 2015 competition, with seven innovative projects competing for $22.5K in prizes. Congratulations to this year’s winners!

This year, our first prize winner, BCAPI, will participate in the April 28 Grand Prize competition, and everyone is invited to the Big Ideas@Berkeley Awards Celebration on May 5. For more information on these events or any questions about the contest, please contact

  • 1st place: BCAPI
  • co-2nd place: Lifenik
  • co-2nd place: Tiro
  • co-3rd place: Smart Diaphragm
  • co-3rd place: Aqua Power
  • honorable mention: OhMyCause!
  • honorable mention: Piezoelectric Shoe Sole GPS Tracker

(1st prize ): BCAPI
Controlling electronics with your mind is no longer science-fiction. Recent advancements in Brain-Computer Interfacing (BCI) have enabled people with physical disabilities to drive wheelchairs, write, and communicate. We are developing an open-source BCI software API that will enable developers to create BCI assistive technologies.

(co-2nd prize): Lifenik
Lifenik makes games that help kids develop their brains in ways that promote optimal emotional health. Just like learning math or a foreign language, research has shown that practicing certain skills can lead to greater emotional health, well-being, and fewer mental health issues. Lifenik helps kids learn these skills.

(co-2nd prize): Tiro
Tiro tackles the problem of wage arrears experienced by construction workers in China. Tiro is an Interactive Voice Response system that acts as an intermediary between labor supplier subcontractors and construction workers. We connect workers to various projects spreading the risk of non-payment over a diverse set of employment options.

(co-3rd prize): Smart Diaphragm
Vaginal infections in pregnant women pose two major health risks for the unborn child: preterm birth and vertical transmission of infection. Currently, there are limited options that accurately monitor vaginal conditions. Our device incorporates pH and temperature sensors to ascertain vaginal health and incorporates wireless technology for real-time physician monitoring.

(co-3rd prize) Aqua Power
Feed forward to a secure water future. Aqua Power is a water use measurement device installed on faucets and showers to provide feedback on the quantity of water being used. Our product is based on the concept that providing continuous real-time feedback is the best change agent, similar to roadside radar speed signs influence drivers to slow down.

(honorable mention): OhMyCause!
We know there are causes and issues in the world and want to make a difference but don’t know where to start. OhMyCause! is a web platform that connects people with causes and non-profits. A one-stop place for curated information, actors, and projects that match your skills, passions, and situation.

(honorable mention): Piezoelectric Shoe Sole GPS Tracker
We endeavor to manufacture a low-cost and ergonomic children’s shoe with an embedded GPS data logger powered by piezoelectric materials. The technology will provide a powerful, more reliable, energy-efficient tracking solution to the growing child abduction epidemic.


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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