Sri Lankan entrepreneur’s ‘iHelmet’ sensor up for $1 million grant
November 7, 2015 06:09 pm
A Sri Lankan entrepreneur who created a motorcycle helmet sensor system is one of a dozen inventors vying for a $1 million Verizon-backed technology prize.
The telecommunications giant’s Powerful Answers Award contest will award three of a dozen finalists a cool million each Dec. 9 to develop their products. Prizes will be awarded in three categories: Emergency Response, The I of Things, and Transportation.
Competing in the transportation category is software engineer Ganindu Nanayakkara with the iHelmet intelligent helmet bolt-on that uses an array of sensors that constantly monitors sensor readings and communicates with the user’s smartphone via Bluetooth. When attached to a motorcycle helmet, iHelmet transmits information like blind spot assist, smart taillights, high speed alerts, directions to designated parking spaces, air quality, and an emergency SOS signal.
The helmet with device and smartphone app sells for $115 online; the device and app (a valid option given American DOT helmet standards) are priced at $75.
“The entire product is designed in a cost effective and modularized way, so it can be provided to the customers at an affordable price with many choices” said Nanayakkara. “Having a low price point is also very important to cater the targeted Asian motorcyclists’ market as they usually represent mid to low-income families.”
More than 1,400 entrepreneurs entered the contest this year. Awards will be given at an event in San Francisco Dec. 9. A live stream of the awards presentation will be available on AOL.com and The Huffington Post.
This year’s contest has a top prize of $1 million in each category. One first runner-up and two second runners-up in each category will receive $500,000 and $250,000 prizes, respectively, for a total of $6 million in awards.
“It’s always exciting to meet these founders and entrepreneurs and share in their enthusiasm for problem solving,” said senior vice president of corporate development and Verizon Ventures, John Doherty. “These winners have not only developed potential world-changing technologies, but they are leading promising companies in a time when the space is incredibly competitive.”
Source: Dealer News