How Drexel Students Are Leveraging Tech to Make the World a Better Place
June 20, 2022
The Ciright Dragon Startup Competition is open to any Drexel University student, with the goal to spur innovative app based solutions to real-world and social problems that affect Drexel University and the surrounding communities.
After a call for ideas from across the university, the finalists for the Ciright Dragon Startup Competition have been announced. These six finalists have showcased their ability to not only identify problems in their community, but have also identified potential solutions to help overcome them.
With a prize of $16,000 to be split between 2 to 4 winners, the competition is a great opportunity for young entrepreneurs to receive funding for their business ideas. Winners not only receive funding, they also get invaluable help from technology company Ciright, founded by Drexel ‘87 alum and Close School Advisory Board member, Joe Callahan. The Ciright team is providing key support to take these businesses from inception to completion.
Entrepreneurs and their app ideas:
If you could make a change in your community where would you get started? Let’s take a look at the finalists and see how they’re planning to make a difference!
Harrison Hertzberg: AreoInspect
Problem: According to the Philly Voice, Philadelphia is ranked the fifth-most pest-infested city in America. Pest control companies put technicians at risk on ladders, lifts, and rooftops inspecting and eliminating elevated pests. Our Drexel service providers put themselves at risk to keep the Drexel campus pest-free, while pests pose numerous health and disease threats to Drexel's students, staff, and community.
Solution: Our startup sells aerial camera drones to pest control services to keep workers safe on the ground while empowering these companies to inspect more pests at new heights. Introducing AeroInspect: a mobile and web application for drone-piloting service technicians and inspectors which uses phone and drone-captured photos to generate evidence-based inspection reports for customers. The AeroInspect software bridges the gap between aerial drone hardware for worker safety as well as better inspections and the revenue-increasing opportunities.
Henry Nguyen: Ikanos
Problem: Many local Philadelphia enterprises have a sizable potential marketing budget that is never spent. They have a few options ranging from cheap marketing services offered overseas which is often a hassle due to language barriers, time zone difference and quality control; or to use a marketing firm which can be expensive and doesn't allow them to pick their team.
Solution: Ikanos' app would allow clients to select full service marketing packages, and select a local student freelancing team. It would also allow freelancers to sign up and pair up
into freelancing teams based on their skill sets. This makes it easy for local businesses to find affordable full service marketing and select the teams that will provide the best results.
Ibraheem Ahmad: App to find new friends at Drexel for younger students
Problem: The process of making friends is a problem that has plagued people for centuries, even as an extrovert myself I have run into a plethora of problems trying to make new friends, especially when I was a freshman. Everyone experienced firsthand during the pandemic how hard it was to socialize and meet new people. I recognize that making friends isn’t a problem just at Drexel but my solution utilizes programs and systems only found at Drexel which makes it unique to the University.
Solution: Creating an app that allows Drexel students to easily find and make new friends. After signing up and verifying the user’s identity the user can create a profile, with basic information such as major, hobbies, and interests. The app will have four panels to maximize opportunities for people to connect.
Steve Earth: GrabSome
Problem: Have you ever run out of a simple household item such as milk, diapers, or soap but you don’t have the time to run out just to pick up one item? Ordering delivery for a handful of items or less isn’t cost effective either. What if you were friendly with a neighbor, and they happened to be out shopping, and you had a way to communicate with them? Perhaps you could ask them to GrabSome items for you...
Solution: Introducing GrabSome - residents of large buildings/dormitories would join in the same 'Circle'. A 'Requestor' signals that an item is needed at their apartment, and 'Providers' get pinged when they are in a nearby corner store. The Provider picks up the requested item at the store and simply drops it off at the Requestor's place! The app not only provides convenience for the Requestor and the Provider (who gets tipped by the app), but also has the benefit of community building as you get to know your close neighbors.
Patrick Chapagain: Telemedicine App
Problem: When it comes to mental health issues, the most vulnerable populations are minorities, people who are in this country through asylum, Temporary Protected Status or who took refuge here. Many don’t speak English and mental health professionals around us aren’t able to provide proper care due to language barriers. Taking care of mental health is absolutely essential but these vulnerable populations are not able to do so.
Solution: The app will be a telemedicine platform to connect healthcare professionals to patients, the app will convert language in real time so both the professional and patient can communicate with each other. To start, the prototype will be built with caption generation on both ends for the users and machine learning will be used to accurately translate the two languages. These kinds of interactions and early intervention will prevent patients from being a victim of substance abuse, violence, and other issues.
Charles Gormley: Virtual Reality Classroom
Problem: The problem I am trying to solve is the poor quality of remote education. Studies show that students face a multitude of issues with online school that don’t occur with in-person education. These issues are time management, stress, classroom engagement, social relationships, career networking, to name a few. These factors decrease the quality of education that online schools provide relative to in-person counterparts. Online education is an equal alternative to in-person education, IF the quality of the education increases.
Solution: Virtual Reality Classrooms from your mobile phone: Using your phone strapped onto your head like a VR headset, students will be able to interface with VR classrooms using only their mobile phones. ( NO VR equipment needed). This will lower costs for VR classroom solutions, and increase student engagement in online learning. Students will also be able to seamlessly move back and forth between reality and virtual reality switching between external camera view and virtual reality view.
Students will also be able to view VR monitors on their computer, using their real keyboard/mouse to interface with monitors.
With ideas across the board such as pest control to accident prevention, marketing solutions to team building, and telemedicine to virtual reality classrooms, it’s clear that there are a lot of ways to improve Drexel and the surrounding community through entrepreneurship and innovation. By utilizing app based technology, these ideas can be made quickly and reach a large audience, . infact , 70% of all US digital media time comes from mobile apps. With the help of the team at Ciright, winners of the competition will receive mentorship to help make their app idea a reality along with a portion of the $16,000 prize to help fund their idea. The final portion of the competition will take place on Tuesday, June 28th, from 4-6pm in Baiada for anyone interested in watching the six entrepreneurs present their ideas!