A helmet that contacts 911 upon impact wins UH Breakthrough Innovation Challenge

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Tracy L T Carnate, (808) 956-5357
Program Manager, Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship and E-Bu
Posted: Dec 5, 2019

Kent Tsukamoto, Managing Partner of Accuity LLP; and Ty Uehara, UH Computer Science student and crea
Kent Tsukamoto, Managing Partner of Accuity LLP; and Ty Uehara, UH Computer Science student and crea

Computer science student Ty Uehara took home the top prize of $2,000 at the 2019 University of Hawaiʻi Breakthrough Innovation Challenge for his helmet called ConTekt. The helmet allows riders who have fallen from an accident to be in immediate contact with 911 emergency services without having to move any part of their body.

The challenge, hosted by the Shidler College of Business’ Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship (PACE), was sponsored by one of the state’s largest CPA firms, Accuity LLP. The competition gives outstanding UH student entrepreneurs the opportunity to experience entrepreneurial ways of thinking and offer ideas for more efficient products and services.

Prior to the final event, UH students submitted a two-minute video detailing their breakthrough idea and its market potential where a preliminary judging panel then selected the finalists. PACE matched the finalists with mentors from the local business community to help the teams further identify commercial opportunities for the idea and develop a five-minute presentation.

“The success of this particular challenge, for PACE, has been engaging students from technical fields of study and introducing them to business and entrepreneurial concepts,” said Peter Rowan, executive director of PACE. “I am continually impressed by the creative and ambitious ideas of our students, and am excited to be able to help them in their entrepreneurial journey that’s just beginning.”

The three other finalists of the Breakthrough Innovation Challenge were:

  • Auctor—software that helps to sort waste for recycling
  • Hawaiʻi Innovation Lab—a vest that keeps the body cool with liquid metal
  • Hempire—eco-conscious clothing made from hemp

Hawaiʻi Innovation Lab captured the 2nd prize of $1,000, and the $1,000 Audience Choice award that was determined by audience votes.

The finalists presented their ideas to a judging panel comprised of Len Higashi, interim director of Hawaiʻi Technology Development Corporation; Julia Okinaka, President of Accuity Consulting Services; and George Yarbrough, co-founder of Impact Hub Honolulu. 

About UH Breakthrough Innovation Challenge

Now in its 9th year, the UH Breakthrough Innovation Challenge is an entrepreneurial competition that exposes UH students in all disciplines to entrepreneurial and innovative ways of thinking; provides a platform for participants to showcase their ingenious ideas to offer more efficient, stronger, better, and novel products or services; and brings recognition and attention to outstanding entrepreneurs at UH. The Challenge matches competitors with business mentors and teaches students to research market opportunities, seek customer validation, and determine the commercial potential of their idea. The Challenge is sponsored by Accuity LLP and organized by the Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship in partnership with the UH College of Engineering, the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, the William S. Richardson School of Law, and the UH Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation. For more information, visit pace.shidler.hawaii.edu/bic

About the Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship

Founded in 2000 at the Shidler College of Business, the Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship (PACE) is the home for a set of experiential entrepreneurship programs at the University of Hawaiʻi (UH). The Center’s 20+ programs offer mentorship, training and resources to all UH students and faculty, and are designed to encourage entrepreneurial thinking across disciplines and inspire entrepreneurs to move their ideas from conceptualization to commercialization. For more information, visit pace.shidler.hawaii.edu.


For more information, visit: http://pace.shidler.hawaii.edu/bic