Jan. 31, 2013 -- Three students in Lehigh University's master's of Technical Entrepreneurship program won awards in the annual EUREKA! Ventures Competition Series that recognizes the university's most innovative student ventures. The competition is hosted by Lehigh's Baker Institute for Entrepreneurship, Creativity and Innovation.
Azim Sonawalla '12 '13G -- Grand Prize
Azim Sonawalla and his Second Shift Innovations won the EUREKA! Ventures Competition Series Joan F. and John M.Thalheimer '55 Grand Prize in the EUREKA! Ventures Competition Series. His "Cool Talk Communicator" device helps firefighters talk more clearly when wearing self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) masks, reducing confusion and increasing their efficiency.
Sonawalla, with a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Lehigh, drew on his more than six years as an emergency medical technician working with firefighters in developing the device. The award comes with $5,000 in cash and $12,500 in in-kind
prizes, including business incubation space at Ben Franklin TechVentures tech incubator on Lehigh's Mountaintop Campus.
Matt Fuchs '11 '13G and Zachary Hyder '12 '13G -- Second Place, Levin Advanced Technology Competition
The team's Das Bier Macher is a streamlined at-home brewing system that allows home brewers to customize the creation of their own beer. Due to the cost and setup of most home brewing systems, the average craft brewer brews infrequently as a side hobby. The device allows more flexibility, customization and frequent brewing.
The venture formed out of Lehigh Valley Startup Weekend at Ben Franklin TechVentures on Nov. 2, 2012, where it won second prize and was the first-ever startup weekend participant to file for a provisional patent during the event. Fuchs, who has B.S. in mechanical engineering from Lehigh and Hyder, who has a B.A. in psychology from Lehigh, receive $2,000 for the win in the Michael W. Levin '87 Advanced Technology Competition.
Sonawalla, Fuchs and Hyder will graduate in May 2013 with their M.Eng. in Technical Entrepreneurship. They and all EUREKA! Ventures Competition Series winners will be honored April 9, 2013, at the Innovate! Celebrate! awards dinner hosted by Lehigh University's Baker Institute for Entrepreneurship, Creativity and Innovation.