Passion projects prepare to launch

Young man addresses panel of three people who will judge competition.
Miguel Dávila Uzcátegui (right) addresses questions from the judges (left to right): Frank Pawlitschek, director, HPI School of Entrepreneurship, Potsdam, Germany; Yscaira Jimenez, founder of LaborX; and Magnus Ingi Oskarsson of Eyrir Venture Management, Reykjavik, Iceland. (Photo credit: Maria Iacobo)
  • Atacama, a company that is developing biomaterials to replace plastics, received the “Most Innovative” award and $5,000. The company accelerates the adoption of renewable and sustainable materials through machine learning and robotics, ensuring performance, cost-effectiveness, and environmental impact. Its founders are Paloma Gonzalez-Rojas PhD ’21, Jose Tomas Dominguez, and Jose Antonio Gonzalez.
  • Grain Box, a startup focusing on optimizing the post-harvest supply chain for smallholder farmers in rural India, was awarded “Greatest Impact” and a $5,000 award. Its founders are Mona Vijaykumar SMArchS ’22 and T.R. (Radha) Radhakrishnan.
  • Lamarr.AI, which offers an autonomous solution for rapid building envelope diagnostics using AI and cloud computing, was recognized for “Best Presentation” and awarded $2,500. Its founders are Norhan Bayomi PhD ’22, Tarek Rakha, PhD ’15, and John E. Fernandez ’85, professor and director of the MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative.
  • Honorable Mention: “News Detective,” a platform combining moderated, professional fact-checking and AI to fight misinformation on social media, created by rising senior Ilana Strauss.
  • Honorable Mention: “La Firme,” which digitizes architectural services to reach families who self-build their homes in Latin America, created by Mora Orensanz MCP ’21, Fiorella Belli Ferro MCP ’21, and rising senior Raul Briceno Brignole.

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