Congratulations to our Spring 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 spring, thirteen projects were selected by our Student Advisory Board and leadership team to be part of the grant program. Eight groups were selected for our Ignite grant, which awards student groups up to $2000 to continue in-progress projects; and five groups were selected for our Spark grant, which offers up to $500 for early-stage project ideas. This semester’s cohort includes follow-up projects from fall 2021’s grantees, as well as students from the Berkeley Master of Design (MDes) program.
Learn more about each project below, and make sure to mark your calendars for our Spring Design Showcase, May 4+5, where you can interact with our grantees and their projects at Jacobs Hall.
Kevin Rubio (Mechanical Engineering, 2022), Mohamed Mohamed (Mechanical Engineering, 2022), Monet Garrett (Mechanical Engineering, 2022)
Emerging from the course ME 102B, the Assistive Cabinet team seeks to create a solution for those in need of better assistance with reaching high kitchen cabinets, including wheelchair users, children, and those who normally rely on stepping stools. The Assistive Cabinet is an automated kitchen storage unit that lowers high shelves, while maintaining the high cabinet design aesthetic. The device implements LEDs, with a rack and pinion system for the user to reach the desired shelf.
Balance Board Math (BBM)
Sofia Tancredi (Joint Doctoral Program in Special Education, 2023), Helen Li (Master of Information Management & Systems, 2022), Julia Wang (B.S. Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, 2022), Genna Macfarlan (Undergraduate in Cognitive Science and Education, 2022)
Continuing from their fall 2021 Ignite grant, Balance Board Math (BBM) enables exploration of mathematical concepts through movement. Learners interact with functions and graphing related digital displays by rocking on a wooden board. The team aims to co-design with public school teachers to develop the existing platform into a classroom-friendly tool and test it in classrooms.
Cameron Chaney (Mechanical Engineering, 2023), Luke Seybold (Mechanical Engineering, 2023)
BudE is a crash detection system designed to keep cyclists safe while in the deep outdoors. It accomplishes this by constantly sensing for crashes, and notifying emergency personnel via satellite communication if someone is unresponsive. BudE was a recipient of a Spark grant in the fall of 2021, and now includes a second member, Luke Seybold.
Yangyang Yang (PhD in Information Management and Systems, ~2026), Jiaxuan Ren (Master of Design, 2022)
Emoshion is a biosensory virtual fashion that transforms real-time emotion data into dynamic and fluid digital clothing, reinforcing distinctive personal expression and shaping digital identity. Using a small wireless sensor, one’s instant emotional status data can be displayed as their digital clothing. Through a smart device with AR technology, the user can create online content such as social media posts and live streams wearing their Emoshion.
Luis Fernando Ayala Cardona (Bioengineering, 2022), Alvin Kristoff Agatep (Bioengineering, 2022), Kaleo Leonhardt (Bioengineering, 2022), Leslie Martinez (Bioengineering, 2022)
KALL CPR is a device that minimizes hands-off time during CPR to reduce the mortality rate of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest patients. The device, which is a patch meant to be placed on top of any major artery (carotid, radial, or femoral), detects spontaneous blood flow through PPG sensors and provides visual and auditory feedback. The team’s goal is that the device would be easily incorporated into the CPR workflow and help people save time and focus on quality chest compressions.
Kaila Negron (MDes Fa22), Jacob Kritzinger (MDes Fa22), Ramyani Roy (MDes Fa22)
Kube is a sensory toy created for children with autism to help overcome anxiety and optimize collaborative play and social reciprocity. Kube emerged in the fall of 2021 in the Master of Design course, Technology Design Foundations. Negron’s own experience of helping care for her 6 year old cousin with autism during the pandemic fueled her desire to provide support to children with similar challenges. Collaboratively, the team hopes to realize a technically sound, and thoughtful solution for children with autism.
Ryan Mei (EECS and Business, 2023), Will Panitch (EECS, Cognitive Science, Data Science 2023)
Another returning project from the fall 2021 cohort, Nanodext is a desktop cell manipulation robot designed to image, grasp, manipulate, and inject thousands of cells per minute at nanometer precision. Nanodext executes a variety of weeks-long genetic, cell, and tissue engineering workflows in a matter of hours and replaces a roomful of equipment. At the core of the Nanodext mechanism is a combination of advanced light-field imaging and nanorobotic techniques that allow the team’s system to achieve an unprecedented level of precision and speed.
Jessica Malow (Bioengineering 2022), Paulina Salgado Marshall (Bioengineer 2022), Christopher Lung (Bioengineer 2022)
SpiroGuide is a method to improve the technique of asthma patients over the age of 60, using telehealth services for spirometry taken at home, due to the insufficient guidance in order to increase the reliability of data collected. From this project, the team hopes to provide a more reliable and cost-effective method of performing spirometry at home.
Battery Snack Packs
Katherine Song (PhD, 2024)
With a DIY-friendly process and edible materials such as cheese, activated charcoal, seaweed, and eggs, we can create “Battery Snack Packs” that can power simple circuits, such as temporary wearable displays. Battery Snack Packs are non-toxic (edible, even!) and 100% degradable in our very own backyards at end-of-life, potentially opening up a new class of designs that are “sustainable” in a much truer sense than what is possible today.
Akash Kulgod (Cognitive Science, 2022)
DogDoc’s goal is to utilize a customized EEG headset and ML algorithm to detect and identify the presence of specific odorants from canine brain activity, with the goal of using this technology to enable mass medical diagnosis systems.
Dual-Use Simulator System
Akshat Kumar (Mechanical Engineering 2025)
Dual-Use Simulator System is a low-cost modular and customizable simulator system that enables users to demo hardware simulations as well as practice vehicle control (such as cars or planes) in a virtual environment.
Jennifer Wong (MDes Fa22), Lisa Wang (B.A. Computer Science + Biochemistry)
Empathie is a self-guided mobile app that delivers affordable, clinical-grade, and easily accessible mental wellness content and tools for racial minorities. On-demand and bite-sized videos make mental health approachable and are taught by licensed therapists who are people of color.
Escalator Handrail Sanitizing Device
Parth Behani (Mechanical Engineering, 2025)
Escalator Handrail Sanitizing Device is a clip-on device which continuously and actively sanitizes the surface of escalator handrails, thereby increasing levels of public hygiene and safety.