Small innovations and big changes: winning teams at the GIX Innovation Competition 2018

On August 26, 2018, the final of the GIX Innovation Competition 2018 was held at the Garden Lobby of TusPark in Beijing.
"This year, we've received not only applications from more than 50 leading universities around the world, but in more diverse fields - we added FinTech as a special track and on-site semi-finals in four cities, while hosting an online semi-final for participants who couldn't travel to the on-site events," said Yang Bin, Vice President of Tsinghua University. "We also added an 'online advisor panel', which gives contestants in the final a direct link to a group of experts who provide advice on both technical matters and how to take their ideas to a start-up stage.”
The finals were overseen by nine judges, including Vikram Jandhyala, Vice President of the University of Washington; Shwetak Patel, CTO of GIX;  Jia Qingshan, Vice Dean of GIX at Tsinghua University; Zhang Jinsheng, Vice President of TusHoldings and Chairman of TusStar; Lan Yanxiang, CTO of Youxin Financial; Tim Pan, Senior Director of Microsoft Research Asia Outreach; Chi Yufeng, Chairman and founder of Perfect World; Liu Jiang, Head of Meituan-Dianping Institute of Technology; and Deng Feng, Founder of Northern Light Venture Capital. Xu Bin, Vice Dean of GIX at Tsinghua University, hosted the competition. Over 200 people including the competition judges, guests, contestants, and audience members were present at the event.
Many contestants and projects impressed and inspired the judges and finalists, such as Mira Therapeutics and DEXMO. Mira Therapeutics offers digital therapeutics for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder treatment, acting as a virtual patient assistant. Communicating between other contestants also helped greatly open up people's horizons. Air Faucet System won the First Place prize.
Air Faucet System subverts traditional methods of water utilization by using self-developed low-pressure high-efficiency atomization technology, achieving a water-saving rate as high as 90 percent while providing a positive cleaning effect and comfortable user experience.
Three teams – DEXMO, Small Cluster Underwater Robot Design with Variable Pitch Propeller and FocuSTAR – won the Second Place prize. Aegis AI, RoboDog, and five other teams won the Third Place prize. In addition to the prize money, several outstanding projects will receive incubation services from TusStar, a globally famous incubator based in Beijing. The finalists were selected from nearly 300 entries submitted around the world. The competition connected a great deal of people including potential customers, clients and investors. For all participants, the competition is a fulfilling challenge and provides them with unprecedented experiences in this year.
The gains here are beyond our expectations

Li Qizhang, a student from Tsinghua University and the CEO of Air Faucet System – who won First Place – said that this year's competition was rewarding and his team has benefited a lot. "It's great that we could have an exhibition in front of the public before the competition road shows. The resources and specifications of the competition are very high; the gains here have exceeded our expectations." Through the competition, Air Faucet System formed a relationship with Parkson, the parent company of many foreign fast food restaurants, and gained the opportunity to incorporate their products into Parkson’s supply chain system. Air Faucet System’s products will be placed into every KFC and Pizza Hut, a huge opportunity for the startup company.
Startups getting attention from the Chinese media

As a Third Place prize winner, Masyithah Nur Aulia said her team learned many things even though they didn't win First Place. "We had a great experience, were able to network effectively, and received a huge amount of useful feedbacks for our product which has helped us improve both ourselves and our product." Masyithah Nur Aulia is from Indonesia, and her innovation project rushed into the finals and secured the opportunity to showcase herself in Beijing and connect to the Chinese market. "We received a lot of contacts from the Chinese media and have even been invited to participate in a Shenzhen event. We also received additional funding to upgrade our products.”
A major fan of the GIX Innovation Competition

"Through this competition, I have learned a lot from other people's projects, which has driven me to work harder. In the competition I met many investors, which has brought more opportunities to my project," said Song Jiyuan, one of the founders of Small Cluster Underwater Robot. This year was Song's second attempt at the competition after missing the finals last year. This time, his team, Small Cluster Underwater Robot won the Second Place prize.
Entrepeneurs recommended to participate in the GIX Innovation Competition

Zhang Hongming is not only the founder of Portable Near–Infrared Spectrometer but also a founder of the incubator in Shenzhen's Tustar. Zhang Hongming highly recommends that entrepreneurs around him participate in the future competition. Through the GIX Innovation Competition he has met many practitioners and interested investors in the same industry, providing an important resource for future product performance improvements and project financing.
After the road shows, Deng Feng, as the representative of the judging panel, gave his comments and advice for the contestants. "You can see the innovation is really happening. Actually, for the next five, ten, or twenty years, you can see the innovation is going to happen continuously." Deng also gave his suggestions on the importance of addressing technical issues for prospective markets.  He suggested competitors should look not only at technical problems but at what the target market's issues are and the main customer pain points, to help strengthen ideas and innovation.
Shi Yuanchun, Dean of GIX at Tsinghua University, and competition organizer for three years said, "The GIX Innovation Competition has real impact on society." She mentioned that competitors see a problem with true social demand. This year's competition has been the most effective to date at combining innovative technical solutions with addressing genuine social problems and bringing about positive changes.
Vikram Jandhyala, Vice President of the University of Washington, gave the closing speech, stressing the importance of global innovation. "It's truly heartening to see such a global collaboration at a time when the world needs it very much. And it’s one more confirmation that innovations come from everywhere. Specifically, with regard to innovations from China." said Vikram. "GIX is developing talent that will address future global challenges in technology disruption, workforce, environment, and health. As Mr. Yang Bin often remarks, GIX is founded on several 'I's: International, Industry, Interdisciplinary, Innovation, and Integration. Please stay connected. GIX will become a good model for global collaboration that we need more of.”
The 2018 GIX Innovation Competition
The 2018 GIX Innovation Competition called for university students and young innovators to bring their "Connected Devices" projects that are original and technologically inventive, covering areas such as the Internet of Things, wearable devices, intelligent hardware, VR, AR, ubiquitous computing, intelligent sensors, natural interactions and related applications in various fields such as education, environment protection, healthcare, transportation, fitness, entertainment, and information accessibility. Since its launch on March 28 2018 in Seattle, USA, 20 teams out of over 400 participants entered the finals five months later, with team members originating from the US, China, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, France, South Korea, Indonesia, and many others. Among the 20 finalists, many aimed to provide solutions for current practical issues as well as focusing on future technology and trends this year. Ten winning projects shared the prize pool of $150,000.
About the Global Innovation eXchange (GIX)
The Global Innovation eXchange (GIX) is a global partnership between major research universities and innovative corporations to develop thought leaders in innovation. The University of Washington and Tsinghua University are the first two academic partners, with initial support from Microsoft. GIX pioneers new forms of teaching and learning by connecting world-class learners and faculty with research-led companies and non-profits to collaborate on solutions to global challenges. GIX is located in Bellevue's Spring District, a new urban development east of Seattle, and is scheduled to open in September 2017.