By Eric Heinz
Five San Clemente High School students recently placed first in a global entrepreneurial competition in Milan, Italy for their invention that could help elderly people.
The Hype Youth Global Startup Expo Awards, which took place Oct. 26 and 27, selected the Memory Optimizing Manager as this year’s top submission.
The group members are SCHS sophomore Nicky Chin, marketing and fundraising; sophomore Mikayla Hartigan, marketing and finances; junior Hannah Reed, publicity and marketing; junior Lauren Woodstra, market research; and senior Lance Woodstra, technology and development.
“The intended utility of the Memory Optimizing Manager was designed to help elderly people to remember daily tasks. It can also be used for other tasks by a variety of people,” Reed said. “Our device enables you to record those tasks and you can look back and track your progress.”
MOM is a moveable button that connects to a blue tooth device via smart phones.
“It’s essentially a button you can stick on anything (you need to remember to do),” Lance said. “When you get an alert from your phone or necklace, you have to go to that place and hold down the button for five seconds to deactivate the alert. That’s what makes it different from just an app; with the button, you’ll know you didn’t forget.”
The parent advisers to the team said the students had only a few weeks to conceptualize and prepare their idea before the competition as well as raise funds for the trip to Italy.
Students said they spent between 15 and 20 hours a week leading up to the competition.
“We were interviewing senior citizens and started brainstorming what their main struggles in life are, like all the medicines they have to take,” Lauren said. “When they start to forget to take their medicines or forget to lock their door, it becomes dangerous for them. That’s where we came up with this idea, to enable senior citizens to live in their home longer rather than being sent to a nursing home.”
Hundreds of thousands of people attend the expo, which includes various disciplines in technological innovation.
“It was overwhelming at first, but on competition day we really pulled it together,” Hartigan said.
The prizes for taking first place include a three-month scholarship with the European Alliance for Innovation, which works with startup companies, as well as connections with investors to get the product off the ground.
The Memory Optimizing Manager is currently going through the patenting process.
The student group has set up a fundraising page to fund the development of their product. For more information, visit www.mommanager.com. For more information on the Hype Expo, visit www.expo2015israel.com.