Big Ideas winners announced for 2012

This year, CITRIS awarded five student-led proposals a total of $45,000 in prize money at the April 5 poster session for our annual competition. The judges had a very difficult time determining these winners, as all of the proposals that we received were outstanding, and everyone who entered should be congratulated for their hard work and insightful ideas about complex societal problems. Congratulations to this year’s winners of the CITRIS Big Ideas competition!

First place ($20K): Politify ( – Politify is the first tool to quantify the personal financial impacts of political scenarios.  Users simply input their information and Politify forecasts the effects a candidate or policy will have on their lives—in dollars. Using economic models from non-partisan think-tanks, Politify brings  academic analysis of politics to consumers. Led by Nikita Bier, B.S. Business Administration/B.A. Political Economy. UC Berkeley 2012.

Second place ($10K): Pathologicode – The microcirculation in the eye can serve as a biomarker to gauge pathogenesis of prediabetes. Pathologicode combines peer-reviewed research and novel technologies to analyze the microcirculation, detecting diabetes earlier than any other non-invasive method. Early detection leads to early intervention, and better health outcomes. Ultimately, more lives are saved. Led by Wilson To, Pathology PhD Candidate at UC Davis.

Third place ($7K): Pika Pen – Handwriting is essential for communication and improving self-confidence, but is difficult for children living with autism. We will develop a low-cost, intuitive, sensor-rich pen that allows children with disabilities to improve their handwriting alongside occupational therapists or independently. Led by Evan Chang-Siu, UC Berkeley.

Honorable mention ($4K): Pop-Up Radio Archive: Rescuing Lost Culture – Independent radio producers hold culturally significant collections that lack archival systems and structured metadata. These producers desire interaction with their audiences using new web technologies and platforms. We are working with local producers, open-source communities and national radio organizations to build a replicable and scalable solution for oral history archives. Led by Anne Wootton, Bailey Smith, and Christen Penny, Students at UC Berkeley.

Honorable mention ($4K): TxtWorker – The mission of TxtWorker is to create direct access to social services for low-income wage-workers by providing targeted information about community resources directly to the worker’s mobile phone. Led by Amber Abdullah, undergraduate student at UC Berkeley.

View more photos of the poster session on our Facebook page.