Meet the winners of the 2022 Utah Innovation Awards | #education | #technology | #training




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n partnership with Stoel Rives, the Innovation Awards pay tribute to the innovative spirit permeating Utah companies and the talented people working to alleviate complex problems with elegant solutions. Nominees in the program are evaluated by leaders within Utah’s business and academic communities, who vote to select the finalists and award winners. The result is a cohort of awe-inspiring innovations that impact a broad spectrum of markets and industries. Below are the 2022 Innovation Awards winners, finalists, and honorable mentions.

Advanced Manufacturing, Construction, & Design

Winner: Intergalactic

LinkedIn

What is your innovation?

Intergalactic’s patent-pending microtube heat exchanger—specially designed and marketed as Boreas3 for aviation and BoreasX for space—is a step change innovation in aerospace thermal management. Microtube technology has been used for years in high-performance auto racing, but Intergalactic has perfected the technology for airborne applications. Intergalactic’s microtube heat exchanger is the heart of the company’s integrated thermal management systems, which combine proprietary hardware and software for next-level thermal regulation on the most demanding air and space missions. 

What challenge or need does this innovation solve?

The aerospace defense, civil aviation, and commercial space sectors are experiencing innovation pressure not seen since the original Space Race. This urgency to innovate puts increased thermal demands on every program, as mechanical, computational, and avionics systems are all increasing centers of temperature extremes. In addition, the prospects of supersonic flight, permanent lunar bases, and advanced comms satellites imply operation in more extreme physical environments. At the same time, everything in air and space must get smaller, lighter, and more robust. Intergalactic’s microtube heat exchanger allows for exponentially more thermal rejection in a smaller, lighter package, which is vital as modern air and space programs have strict size and weight requirements. This innovation enables a wide array of technologies that aren’t feasible with legacy thermal management solutions. 

Runner-up: Northrop Grumman

LinkedIn

What is your innovation?

Northrop Grumman (NG) Aerospace Structures Business Unit (ASBU) External Protection System (EPM). EPM is an elastomer-based coating designed to protect missiles (or other vehicles) traveling through adverse or hostile environments and thus increase the reliability of our nation’s defense systems.

What challenge or need does this innovation solve?

As the nation faces new adversaries and potential harm from existing threats, the next versions of defense missiles will be required to travel faster, higher, and through more aggressive environments than prior generation vehicles. These environments will include rain, hail, lightning, and snow. At higher speeds, they will also experience significantly higher aerothermal heating. All of these natural environments increase risk to the structural components of the missile and reduce reliability. In addition to natural threats, these missiles may be required to operate in hostile environments where conventional or nuclear detonations are present. To maintain the reliability of our nation’s defense systems, it is necessary to develop new materials to protect these missiles. The NG ASBU EPM is a new material system specifically designed to enable a flight vehicle to be launched at any time under any condition. It has multiple layers to address the various types of environments. The NG ASBU EPM contains new technologies developed that not only drastically improve performance from previous thermal protection systems but at a lower weight and a comparable cost.

Honorable mention: Fluid Power Training Institute

What is your innovation?

MF 500 Hydraulic Training Simulator—an advanced hydraulic training simulator for teaching construction, agricultural, forestry, and mining machinery.

What challenge or need does this innovation solve?

There is a critical worldwide shortage of technicians with the skill sets to safely service and repair hydraulic systems. The MF500 is a solution.

Commercial Software

Winner: Converus

LinkedIn

What is your innovation?

EyeDetect+, the world’s first automated polygraph. It makes the testing process impartial, accurate, and less intrusive. It detects deception by monitoring and recording ocular activity plus physiological activity.

What challenge or need does this innovation solve?

Being the world’s first automated polygraph, EyeDetect+ fills a vital niche in the credibility assessment industry (lie detection) because it solves the following problems: 

1. Human bias. Potential human bias is removed from the polygraph testing process. It cannot discriminate based on a person’s age, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation. Automating the testing process eliminates the need for a polygraph examiner to administer and score the test. Instead, test data are collected and then analyzed by an advanced algorithm.

2. Uncomfortable blood pressure cuff. Unlike the traditional polygraph, an EyeDetect+ test is less intrusive because the blood pressure cuff—which can become extremely uncomfortable when contracted for long periods of time—has been replaced with small sensors attached to the wrists. 

3. Cost and time. An EyeDetect+ test costs less than a standard polygraph, and because there are no uncomfortable sensors used, the testing time required is less than half that of a standard polygraph.

4. Increased Accuracy. According to the American Polygraph Association Meta-Analytic Review (2012), a polygraph screening test is 85 percent accurate. The EyeDetect+ screening test is 91 percent accurate.

Runner-up: Coreform LLC

LinkedIn

What is your innovation?

Isogeometric analysis (IGA). Coreform IGA radically accelerates simulations of the behavior of manufactured products like cars and phones by directly analyzing design data, bypassing time-intensive approximation steps required by legacy software.

What challenge or need does this innovation solve?

The need for automotive, defense, and other companies to get safe products to market faster. It will enable global automotive companies to bring cars to market several months faster. It will enable companies to decrease production costs by using simulation more and eliminating costly physical prototypes.

Honorable mention: Emmersion.ai

LinkedIn

What is your innovation?

The Emmersion Adaptive English Speaking Assessment. This assessment is the first fully-automated and adaptive English-speaking assessment on the market, utilizing AI, speech recognition, and advanced research-backed assessment development methodologies.

What challenge or need does this innovation solve?

Assessing how well someone speaks a foreign language is really hard to do. Typically, a highly trained language evaluator would need to interview a test-taker, using a sophisticated rubric to evaluate elements such as pronunciation, fluency, usage, structure, etc. This takes a lot of time, costs a lot of money, and is difficult to scale. The Emmersion Adaptive Speaking Assessment is fully automated, only takes 15 minutes or less, and is rated immediately upon completion. This innovation makes assessing spoken language ability quick, scalable, and affordable—making it accessible to many of the billions of English language learners that can’t afford the high cost of human-based assessments.

Consumer Products & Services

Winner: Listen Technologies Corporation

LinkedIn

What is your innovation?

Listen EVERYWHERE streams audio over Wi-Fi to personal smartphones. Users can hear audio clearly via headphones or earbuds connected to their smartphones, or they can stream audio directly to their Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids and speakers.

What challenge or need does this innovation solve?

Listen EVERYWHERE solves the challenges hearing loss, distance, background noise, and poor acoustics pose to clear communication. Listen EVERYWHERE streams audio over Wi-Fi to personal smart devices, so they function as receivers for assistive listening systems. In venues offering Listen EVERYWHERE, guests can listen to venue audio from their smartphones or smart devices using headphones or earbuds. They can also stream sound from their device directly to Bluetooth-enabled speakers, headphones, or hearing aids. They are able to hear clearly in challenging audio environments. Listen EVERYWHERE is ideal in challenging audio environments such as museums, houses of worship, classrooms, lecture halls, corporate boardrooms, conference rooms, and other spaces where it can be difficult to hear clearly.

Runner-up: Brandless

LinkedIn

What is your innovation?

Influence-as-a-Service. Influence-as-a-Service rewards customers for sharing products they love. Regardless of social following, customers use a social selling link to share products they’re passionate about and get direct commission for sales.

How does your innovation change your industry?

Influence-as-a-service leads the people-as-a-platform movement by building a tech stack that delivers IaaS and rewards customers for sharing products they love. Instead of reserving influencer relationships and impact for those with large social followings, it allows everyone, regardless of the size of their social network, to be a force for good. Brands curated by Brandless as mission-driven who qualify for the marketplace pay direct commissions to the social seller whose link led to a completed sale. In return, brands get direct access to customers and new revenue streams. Social sellers earn passive income, and customers discover and purchase products that their friends curate for them. Everyone wins. IaaS makes its products even more accessible by removing social barriers and providing potential customers with products that are “friend-filtered.”

Honorable mention: Ivy City Co.

LinkedIn

What is your innovation?

We offer our original dress designs in more sizes than any other company. We are the first dress company to offer 24 sizes in a single design. Our sizes range from 0/3 months to women’s 5X, with more sizes coming. 

What challenge or need does this innovation solve?

There is a huge demographic of women who have little to no options when it comes to finding high-quality dresses in petite or plus sizes. Most retailers only offer five sizes, sometimes less. By creating 12 sizes in our adult dresses alone, we are helping women feel seen who normally get left behind. 

In partnership with Stoel Rives, the Utah Innovation Awards pay tribute to the innovative spirit permeating Utah companies and the talented people working there.

Consumer Software

Winner: OCAVU 

LinkedIn

What is your innovation?

The OCAVU Platform empowers a native Web3 ecosystem enabling businesses to step into the future through solutions that make the creation, management, and distribution of 3D content easy and effective across every device and platform.

What challenge or need does this innovation solve?

The OCAVU Platform allows customers to interact with a company’s products in their own space without wasting needless time in a store or going through the annoying process of returning items that they later discovered didn’t fit in their space. This AR solution has allowed both customers and companies to save money on unnecessary returns while giving consumers a unique experience with the product in the comfort of their homes. For brands, the OCAVU Platform seamlessly creates, manages, and deploys 3D assets without needing to code for every device or platform. OCAVU’s patented technology is unique compared to other 3D providers because it is “future proof.” As technology continues to evolve rapidly, 3D assets stored and deployed from the OCAVU Platform will remain functional, meaning brands don’t need to worry about updating their 3D assets every time an operating system is upgraded, as this is done automatically in the platform.

Runner-up: V School

LinkedIn

What is your innovation?

An outcomes and mastery-based online education platform. Our students have as much time as they need to master the curriculum, gain the job experience necessary, and make the industry connections needed to land an amazing career in tech. 

What challenge or need does this innovation solve?

Every learner learns differently. When a school focuses on mastery rather than time spent, the world opens up for a student. They can fit their complex lives within the framework of their education, which should focus on an outcome (job) rather than a bunch of curricula that may or may not lead to a better life.

Honorable mention: CoinZoom

LinkedIn

What is your innovation?

Cryptocurrency exchange. CoinZoom offers users an opportunity not only to invest in cryptocurrency but to send crypto and fiat to friends overseas for free and earn interest on crypto holdings.

What challenge or need does this innovation solve?

CoinZoom is more than just a cryptocurrency exchange. We offer consumers the complete crypto experience as the first US exchange to launch a true debit card that instantly converts crypto to fiat at the point of sale, allowing users to seamlessly spend their crypto at 53M merchants worldwide. CoinZoom is the only US exchange to offer a global peer-to-peer remittance solution, allowing users to send crypto or USD internationally for free and boasting some of the lowest trading fees in the business. We also offer users the ability to earn up to 7.5 percent APY on their cryptocurrency holdings. 

Fintech

Winner: Assure

LinkedIn

What is your innovation?

Glassboard, the most complete private transaction platform. Glassboard revolutionizes private investing by allowing more startups to get funding and paves the way for more investors to participate in private investment deals. Investor deals now realize increased transaction speed, reduced complexity, and lower costs.

What challenge or need does this innovation solve?

Raising funds or SPVs for private investment has traditionally been extremely manual, time-consuming, and expensive—limiting who could use the SPV structure for investing. Glassboard makes SPVs quick to create, easy to administer, extremely cost-effective, and available to a much wider and more diverse community of investors.

Runner-up: MX

LinkedIn

What is your innovation?

In late 2021, MX launched MXaccess, an open-finance application programming interface (API) platform for banks, credit unions, digital banks, and digital banking providers.

What challenge or need does this innovation solve?

For decades, people have wanted the ability to see all their finances in one place online. This process, known as financial account aggregation, started in the mid-1990s. The bulk of external financial account connections today occur via screen-scraping or the process of gathering financial data from one app by inputting user credentials (such as username and password) and displaying that data in another app. However, the process of screen scraping also carries a range of shortcomings, especially when the connections aren’t whitelisted. Screen-scraped connections intermittently break, and they carry an element of risk as consumers share their credentials, which potentially increases risk across the ecosystem, compromises privacy, and poses security threats for fintech companies, financial institutions, and consumers alike. 

In partnership with Stoel Rives, the Utah Innovation Awards pay tribute to the innovative spirit permeating Utah companies and the talented people working there.

Honorable mention: Finicity, a Mastercard Company

LinkedIn

What is your innovation?

Finicity’s open banking platform. This platform adds intelligence and deep learning to deliver secure and accurate financial data with the use of APIs, putting the consumer in control of their financial data for better financial literacy, inclusion, and outcomes.

What challenge or need does this innovation solve?

Finicity’s open banking API platform puts consumers in control of their financial data and helps customers get better financial literacy, inclusion, and outcomes. Five core tenets of our open banking platform make this possible and ensure the safest experiences.

Hardware & Electronics

Winner: Elphel, Inc.

LinkedIn

What is your innovation?

Long-range thermal 3D perception in low contrast environments. We invented a novel method for the 3D thermal imaging contrast improvement over an order of magnitude to revolutionize thermal imaging and enable long-range 3D perception with uncooled Long Wave Infrared (LWIR) sensors.

What challenge or need does this innovation solve?

LWIR 3D provides a passive (emitting zero radiation) depth-sensing method required for stealth operations in military applications, such as navigation for military vehicles in degraded visual conditions and GPS-denied areas. LWIR cameras provide images regardless of the ambient illumination; they tolerate fog, and oncoming car headlights do not blind them. These features make LWIR cameras attractive for autonomous navigation, security, and military applications. Thermal images can be used similarly to the visible range ones, including 3D scene reconstruction with two or more such cameras mounted on a rigid frame. The challenges specific to LWIR—such as lower image resolution, lower contrast of the textures, and high thermal inertia—prevented its use for robust 3D. Our invention mitigates all three limitations of thermal sensors and allows its use for autonomous vehicle navigation in the dark.

Runner-up: Spark XR, Inc.

What is your innovation?

The XR-One sensory reality pod. The XR-One is an arcade-style “pod” designed and built exclusively by Spark XR. The pod contains electronic and interactive software components that allow it to provide immersive, virtual reality experiences for consumers using proprietary and dynamic 360-degree sensory effects (wind, haptic effects) for increased realism and immersion. The XR-One is intended for use at exhibitions, museums, family entertainment centers, bowling alleys, theaters, and more.

What challenge or need does this innovation solve?

Have you ever wanted to walk onto the “Star Trek” Holodeck or take part in the immersive worlds of “Ready Player One?” That was the journey we went on to see how close to those concepts we could deliver the truly immersive worlds we have always dreamed of. Modern-day virtual reality has been falling short of consumer expectations, and we saw an opportunity to build a product that can truly deliver the concept of complete immersion—allowing users to believe the virtual world they experience is real, even just for a short amount of time. It also solves the challenge of making the highest-end virtual experiences cost-effective, portable, and safe for all users.

Honorable mention: Skullcandy

LinkedIn

What is your innovation?

Skull-iQ is a game-changer for active consumers as it enables Skullcandy fans to experience the freedom of truly hands-free voice control through their earbuds. Using only your voice, you control your content, phone calls, and headphone settings without ever having to touch your phone.

What challenge or need does this innovation solve?

With each passing day, we’re all becoming more and more comfortable talking to computers or other technology like smart speakers in the kitchen, car assistants, TVs, phone assistants, and more. We know Skullcandy’s youthful, adventurous consumers are on the go—they’re driving, multitasking, skateboarding, pedaling up a mountain, etc. It’s not convenient (or safe) to have to pull a phone out of a backpack, purse, back pocket, or any other place not easily accessible. Being able to simply talk to our headphones or earbuds to control our communications and access audio content, make a call, or send a message makes it more seamless to navigate our days and the activities that fill them.

Medical & Health: MedTech

Winner: IONIQ Sciences

LinkedIn

What is your innovation?

IONIQ Sciences has developed a truly non-invasive platform that detects the body’s earliest response to the presence of cancer in just 20 minutes—no needles, no radiation, and no surgery required.

What challenge or need does this innovation solve?

One in two of us will be diagnosed with cancer during our lifetime, and one in five will die. We, as a society, can do better. We have to do better. Early detection saves money and lives. Today, cancer is detected much too late. If cancer can be detected in the earliest stages, the survival rate is ~90 percent, whereas it’s just 5 percent in the latest stages. Early detection has repeatedly proven that it saves money and lives. By measuring the body’s earliest response to the presence of cancer, we can provide that early detection. We envision moving our early-stage cancer detection platform from the hospital to physicians’ offices and pharmacies and ultimately to your home.

Runner-up: Matia Robotics

LinkedIn

What is your innovation?

The Tek RMD® is a robotic mobility platform that re-imagines the way individuals with walking disabilities move throughout the world.

What challenge or need does this innovation solve?

The Tek RMD® enables people who use a manual wheelchair to stand up and move around their environment independently. The Tek RMD® allows a wheelchair user to have mobility and independence from a caregiver while in a standing position for use inside and outside of the home. The psychological and health benefits of being in a Tek RMD® are unmatched in our industry.

Honorable mention: Merit Medical

LinkedIn

What is your innovation?

SCOUT® Radar Localization System. SCOUT was an early innovation in the move to breast-conserving cancer treatment. SCOUT’s radar guidance helps surgeons precisely target tumors, minimizing the removal of healthy breast tissue. The tiny, implanted SCOUT markers provide a more comfortable, streamlined patient experience.

What challenge or need does this innovation solve?

The goal of breast conservation is to minimize damage to healthy tissue while completely removing cancer cells. To do this, surgeons must be able to precisely locate the tissue to be removed. Traditionally, if cancer cells were detected following a biopsy procedure, a radiologist used imaging technology to insert thin wires into tissue that was to be removed just prior to surgery. These wires protruded through the skin to show the surgeon where to operate. As you can imagine, this was awkward and uncomfortable for patients. The required coordination between radiology and surgery departments often resulted in waits for patients and delays in scheduled procedures. With SCOUT, a small radiopaque marker the size of a grain of rice is implanted beneath the skin to identify tissue for removal in the days or weeks prior to surgery. During surgery, the surgeon locates the marker and is able to precisely excise the right tissue using a small hand-held wand. 

In partnership with Stoel Rives, the Utah Innovation Awards pay tribute to the innovative spirit permeating Utah companies and the talented people working there.

Professional Services

Winner: DevPipeline

LinkedIn

What is your innovation?

The DevPipeline apprenticeship: Innovation of a centuries-old learning model (the apprenticeship) into software development apprenticeships for nontraditional hires, providing educational and work opportunities, on-the-job training, and guaranteed job placement.

What challenge or need does this innovation solve?

DevPipeline has created a pipeline of trained, experienced, and job-ready software developers by providing greater access to technology careers. Currently, there are over 1 million jobs in software development that go unfilled each year in the United States. At the same time, there exists crippling student loan debt, massive barriers to entry for those who want to break into the industry, and problematic hiring practices within tech companies. DevPipeline has disrupted traditional educational trajectories by offering affordable education, on-the-job training, and paid apprenticeships for dedicated and well-deserving individuals from diverse backgrounds regardless of their job title, education, or social status. 

Runner-up: AlignOrg Solutions

LinkedIn

What is your innovation?

The AlignOrg virtual facilitation platform is loaded with methodologies that replicate an in-person collaborative strategic design experience for companies all over the world. It is an enabler that ensures virtual consultations deliver the same client outcomes as in-person events.

What challenge or need does this innovation solve?

Any type of organization can benefit from the ability to collaborate in an interactive, participative virtual setting. The platform and our methodology remedies limitations to organizations’ abilities to host interactive strategic planning events due to geographic dispersity, budget constraints, and more. This is a new solution that combines technology and facilitation concepts to create a unique, highly effective virtual consulting experience.

Honorable mention: World Trade Center Utah

LinkedIn

What is your innovation?

Pathfinding (market selection analysis). This unique and innovative model mitigates risks and yields intuitive information to companies selecting foreign markets for distribution and sourcing partnerships. 

What challenge or need does this innovation solve?

This process mitigates risk for companies growing beyond US borders while supplying information about perspective markets that fit their product or service. It allows domestic companies to intuitively approach new business opportunities with less risk and more confidence. This process is the first of its kind and has already helped more than 100 Utah companies conduct market research, identify new opportunities, and connect with prospective buyers, partners, and investors worldwide. It has quickly become a resource for companies of all sizes and sectors who are looking to refine their international strategies, hedge risk, and explore new opportunities. 

Sustainability

Winner: GlycoSurf, Inc.

LinkedIn

What is your innovation?

Recovery of rare earth elements and other critical metals from aqueous mining waste streams using green glycolipid surfactants. GlycoSurf focuses on the use of green sugar-based surfactants for the recovery of rare earth elements from mining wastewater. Rare earth minerals are critical materials used in numerous applications for the green economy.

What challenge or need does this innovation solve?

Presently, China controls the majority of the supply chain for rare earth metals globally. Very little domestic production of rare earths happens in the US, and the domestic operations for rare earth recovery rely on traditional mining of ore bodies. GlycoSurf is working on using its green sugar-based surfactants to recover rare earths from mining wastes to shift the paradigm away from mining to recovery. This innovation provides a recovery process to extract rare earths for domestic use by creating an additional supplier of these critical minerals.

Runner-up: IntelliReefs

LinkedIn

What is your innovation?

Innovative reef restoration systems. Intellireefs are the result of breakthroughs in science and nanotechnology. These engineered structures mimic established coral reefs to build an oceanic infrastructure that improves resistance to climate stressors and diseases. Twenty years of experience in advanced materials, manufacturing methods, and delivering custom projects using scientific research and architectural innovation combine to offer high-performance marine restoration systems designed from nano to industrial scale.

What challenge or need does this innovation solve?

Restoring the ocean, the environment, the planet, and humankind. In January 2021, the United Nations kicked off the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development with this statement: “The survival of humankind is dependent upon the state of the ocean.” Eighty percent of the air we breathe comes from the ocean. Experts state that humankind has about 10 years to restore and replenish the ocean before it’s too late. Time is of the essence. Intellireefs is the only reef restoration system endorsed by the UN and UNESCO and the only company that can restore, regrow, and revitalize coral reefs in 12 months, attracting over 4,000+ species. This nano-science technology will save the ocean and all sea life. 

Honorable mention: Smart Rain

LinkedIn

What is your innovation?

The Smart Rain SmartController. Our technology is a smart irrigation controller and cloud-based software that utilizes real-time weather data to optimize water use in landscaping and save our most valuable resource: water.

What challenge or need does this innovation solve?

The way we use water for our lawns and landscaping has been a problem for a long time. It has been shown that about 50 percent of water used on landscaping is wasted due to overwatering. Our system uses accurate, real-time weather data to automatically make adjustments to the sprinkler watering programs so that the sprinklers run only when it’s actually needed. This has proven very effective, reducing usage by 35 percent to 55 percent. This is important now more than ever, considering the severe drought that we are facing. The other benefits are the cost savings that naturally come from reducing water usage and the time savings from having a web/app-based software. Smart Rain offers them the ability to manage remotely, reducing the number of visits to the property by themselves or a contractor.

In partnership with Stoel Rives, the Utah Innovation Awards pay tribute to the innovative spirit permeating Utah companies and the talented people working there.



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