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Team Ultropia Wins the 2022 GIX Innovation Competition

March 15, 2022

GIX IC Winner

pictured left to right: Team Ultropia members Amy Swanson and UW ECE graduate student Cody Birkland (not pictured: Lloyd V. Dees)

adapted from article by GIX marketing staff

Congratulations to teams Ultropia, FuchsiaBand, and Osto-Mate for taking the top prizes in the 2022 GIX Innovation Competition! Now in its fifth year, the competition aims to spur innovative and inclusive solutions to pressing global problems. For 2022, entrants were challenged to create a novel technological or robotic solution for the home that addresses a problem related to health, wellness, or the environment. Teams from 13 countries submitted a broad range of projects that leveraged software, AI, machine learning, sensors, 3D printing, robots, and more.

Cody Birkland, Amy Swanson, and Lloyd V. Dees of Team Ultropia were awarded first place in the 2022 GIX Innovation Competition for their work on a low-energy laundry technology. Their prototype uses ultrasonic energy to clean and dry clothing, significantly reducing energy consumption and making washer-dryer technology more broadly accessible. Judges were impressed with both the technical quality of the team’s work, as well as the plan for bringing their solution to market. Team Ultropia were awarded first prize of $8,000 and three Oculus Quest 2s. Cody Birkland is earning his Master’s in Electrical Engineering from UW Electrical and Computer Engineering (UW ECE). Lloyd Dees is earning his MS in Entrepreneurship from UW Foster School of Business.

“This will help us implement change in laundry machine accessibility to the 5 billion people who still wash clothes by hand with an environmentally friendly machine that will help fight climate change,” said Amy Swanson on LinkedIn. “We learned so much through the GIX process and really appreciate our mentors (Yan (Regina) Song and Jim Pfaendtner) who helped us communicate our message!”

The Ultropia team also won the $1,000 Connie Bourassa-Shaw Spark Award this month at the annual UW Foster School of Business Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge.

Second prize was awarded to Tantai Davis, Jessie Zhao, Yunfan (Euphie) Zhao, Niall O’Rourke, and Taihong Chen of Team FuchsiaBand. Their project combines motion tracking with a custom software solution that aims to help the post-operative rehabilitation of breast cancer surgery through motivation, gamification, and instruction. Judges noted the solution’s low cost and ease of use. Team FuchsiaBand wins the second prize of $5,000. Tantai Davis earned his BA in Business Administration from UW Foster School of Business.

Third prize was awarded to Sai Jayanth Kalisi, Khai Lam, Francisco Luquin Monroy, Thompson Minh-Tri Ngo, and Stefhany Alves Ferreira of Team Osto-Mate. Their project uses phone LiDAR scanning to give people with the ability to create custom fitted, low-cost ostomy wafers. These custom wafers reduce pain and the risk of infection, and cost less than traditional hand-cut wafers. Judges appreciated the novel approach, affordability, and high-quality demo. Team Osto-Mate was awarded $2,000.

The Osto-Mate team was guided by UW ECE Professor Alex Mamishev and UW ECE Associate Teaching Professor Rania Hussein of the Signal, Energy and Automation Laboratories (SEAL) within UW Electrical and Computer Engineering. Stefhany Alves Ferreira is a student at University of Washington pursuing a Biology degree in Physiology with a Pre-med track. Francisco is pursuing a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering at UW. Sai Jayanth Kalisi is an undergraduate research associate with SEAL. Thompson Ngo is an undergraduate student at the University of Washington pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. Khai Lam is a first-year student in the College of Engineering, aiming to apply for placement in the Human Centered Design and Engineering Major.

“I’m very impressed with the quality of the presentations,” said Adam Loving of Pioneer Square Labs. “I love the focus and the arc that they’re following from problem to solution.”

Teams MindMine and Signal Technologies also received honorable mentions for their software applications. MindMine is a remote monitoring application for mental health and wellness, and Signal Technologies has created software that helps visually impaired people identify foods with ingredients to which they are allergic.

“I’m very impressed with the quality of the presentations,” said Adam Loving of Pioneer Square Labs. “I love the focus and the arc that they’re following from problem to solution.”

GIX would like to thank the mentors and judges who contributed to this year’s competition. The judges were Gabe Cohn (Principal Researcher at Microsoft), Aaron Nech (Software Engineering Manager at Meta), Ted Fuse (Vice President and General Manager at Mitsubishi Corporation Seattle Branch), Keyu Chen (Research Scientist at Google), Adam Loving (Principal Engineer at Pioneer Square Labs), and Deli Zhang (Software Engineer at Meta). Thanks also to our dedicated mentors, who included Wesley Beckner, Wesley Muthemba, Justin Ho, Ken Christofferson, Jay Chakalasiya, Ryan Buckmaster, Jim Pfaendtner, Tommy Wood, Hernan Herrera, Kevin Arne,

GIX would also like to thank sponsors Meta and Mitsubishi Corporation of the Americas, without whose support this competition would not be possible.

The GIX Innovation Competition also sponsored by the University of Washington’s M.S. in Technology Innovation Program. Want to develop the next generation of smart IoT and robotics solutions? Learn more about the program here.


For more information, contact Justin Horne at GIX  |   jhorne1@uw.edu | gixnetwork.org