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ASL communication technology wins the Big Idea Competition

The final round of the Big IDea Competition took place over Zoom, and the five finalists were given up to 10 minutes to present a slideshow. Screenshot by Valerie Vasconez

An American Sign Language Translator took home $8,000 on Monday at the final round of Bradley’s annual Big Idea Competition.

The winning product, called “We Hear You,” was entered by graduate student Pierre Paul. The technology converts American Sign Language into audio and vice versa so that businesses can better communicate with the deaf community.

Paul said the prize money will be used to pay the team members, purchase new hardware to test the product to start leasing to businesses and get a provisional patent on the code.

“Our vision is to teach the world that as you pioneer a new idea, diversity and inclusion should never be the afterthought of innovation; it should be the foundation,” Paul said.

The second place award of $5,000 went to Chance Emanuels for Assistive Construction Technology, a software that significantly simplifies the opening stages of construction projects. 

The Scout’s Larry Larson and Joey Wright, both junior sports communication majors, placed third and were awarded $2,000 for Clutch Sports Media, a broadcast platform that provides live high school sports coverage.

H8 No More, a preventative bullying app, and Sol-Brella, a beach umbrella that can be used to charge cell phones with solar panel technology, both tied for fourth place.

The final round took place over Zoom, and the five finalists were given up to 10 minutes to present a slideshow, followed by a 10-minute question-and-answer session from the panel of judges. The judges’ final scores were calculated as a combination between the presentation and a previously submitted business plan.

“The prize money makes it easier for us to focus on refining the product for those who need it most,” Paul said. “It takes away some of the financial stress and the Big Idea Competition helped us gain valuable skills that would help us make it in the business world.”

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