September 30, 2022 | 9:18 am

Congratulations to our Fall 22 Innovation Catalysts grant recipients! The Jacobs Institute Innovation Catalysts is a grant program that helps Berkeley’s student innovators unlock potential in their projects. Over the semester, grant winners will work on their projects with the support of funding and mentorship from Jacobs Hall and the CITRIS Invention Lab. Recipients will receive a Maker Pass and have access to all of our Makerspace resources, in addition to on-going mentorship from our Student Advisory Board, Jacobs Technical Staff, Design Fellows, and others.

This fall, ten projects were selected by our Student Advisory Board and leadership team to be part of the grant program. Six groups were selected for our Ignite grant, which awards student groups up to $2000 to continue in-progress projects; and four groups were selected for our Spark grant, which offers up to $500 for early-stage project ideas. This semester’s cohort includes undergraduates, masters, and Phd students, as well as students from the Berkeley Master of Design (MDes) program.

Learn more about each project below:



Xochitl Ramos (B.S. Mechanical Engineering December 2022), Lizzette Corrales (B.S. Mechanical ENgineering), Kevin Rubio, Miro Garrett

This project aims to solve the problem of high wall-mounted kitchen pantry shelves. The design of the mainstream kitchen cabinet has unintentionally made basic home necessities inaccessible to a large group of people. The CABiNET would give more independence and freedom to members of our community who are wheelchair-bound, vertically challenged, children, and visually impaired.

Constructing relational concepts: A pedagogical design for children with complex communication needs

Brittney Cooper (PhD Special Education, 2024), John Kim (PhD Special Education, 2027)

CRC is a language intervention to teach relational concept vocabulary to kids with severe motor-speech disabilities. The intervention activity is a barrier game using contrastive materials that elicit various relational judgements during game play.

Empathie Health

Jennifer Wong (UC Berkeley Master of Design Fall ’22), Joshua Martow (UC Berkeley MBA Spring ’22)

Empathie is a self-guided mental wellness app that empowers people with practical tools for managing stress and self-awareness. We provide strategies on how to navigate difficult life situations involving family, career, and other life stresses through interactive activities that are bite-sized and on-the-go, giving you the freedom to use the resources whenever and wherever. Our content and frameworks provide perspective that is inclusive of intersectional identity (gender, ethnicity, etc.) and are created by licensed therapists who share relatable backgrounds.


Holly Pilling (Psychology, 2023), Sharicka Zutshi (Bioengineering- Biomedical Devices, 2023)

We are developing a neural-integrated soft robotic exoskeleton glove to support hand motor recovery in patients with hand paralysis. The ExoGlove will provide convenient, accessible rehabilitation for hand paralysis patients, allowing them to practice motor function without aid from a physical therapist. The long-term solution will also prioritize the use of less costly, more widely available mechanical design materials and electronics, so the 5.2 million people living with paralysis in the U.S., and more worldwide, can access necessary rehabilitation devices.


Megan Chan (Mechanical Engineering 2023), Paige Lyles (Civil Engineering 2023), Ariana Dominick (Mechanical Engineering 2023)

Hebee is a software and hardware system developed to mitigate period poverty and increase accessibility to menstrual products in the education sector. Hebee combines a tampon/pad dispenser and app technology to increase accessibility to period products for menstruators. The system provides the location of dispensers and tracks the stock availability for each.


Christopher Ferenci (Master of Information Management and Systems, 2023), Sarah Barrington (Master of Information Management and Systems, 2023)

This project aims to improve upon a lack of available environmental data by building an environmental low-cost sensor system that can be attached to mobile transport systems like drones, automobiles, and public transportation to collect location, particulate matter, humidity, and temperature data and analyze in real-time. We will also create a web application to visualize and analyze the sensor data for use in research and potential citizen safety applications.



Raghav Mittal (Development Engineering, Fall 2022), Jean Roberts (Development Engineering, Fall 2022), Shubham Salunkhe (Development Engineering, Fall 2022)

DigiScope is a social enterprise dedicated to improving the teaching and learning of auscultation in underdeveloped countries using an inexpensive digital stethoscope. Our stethoscope shall enable heart/lung sounds to be transmitted digitally to a central unit for recording, sharing, post-processing, labeling and performing analytics improving the available pedagogical tools for medical school students.

Magic Compass

Michael Yang (Integrative Biology, Fall 2022)

The Magic Compass aims to provide a new tool for novelty, to allow people to reconnect with their cities and navigate without having to have their phone in hand at all times. This is an arduino-smartphone project that will always point to your inputted destination, without having to deal with navigating smartphone maps.

Microdrones + Diffusion Model Based Hyperrealistic 3D Mesh Synthesis From Video Segments

Anshul Kashyap (EECS, 2025), Aneri Sheth (Materials Science + Engineering, 2026)

Our vision for this project consists of microdrones smaller than any commercially available drone with a mass of less than 8 grams that consume less power and have a resulting longer flight time. We also envision creating drones with the ability to communicate in a swarm, and attach cameras/sensors for numerous use cases. This fleet technology of drones compatible with other drones is very novel and has various applications including military surveillance and for converting multiple viewpoint video segments of objects in real life into hyper realistic 3D meshes with textures using latent diffusion models.


Joseph Benedetti (Mechanical Engineering Fall 2022), Marco Abbiate (Mechanical Engineering and EECS Spring 2023), Calvin Stephens (Mechanical Engineering and EECS Spring 2023)

The WalkerAssist is a multipurpose walker that allows users to be able to be more independent at home. They can lift, lower, extend and retract a tiltable tray all while being supported by the walker.