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19 March 2007
The TouchSight Vision Mitt
The TouchSight team
Engineering students have triumphed yet again in an international competition for young entrepreneurs with a product designed to help blind and partially-sighted people.
The TouchSight Vision Mitt – designed by a team of four manufacturing engineering students – took first prize, worth 10,000 Euros, at the Next Generation Entrepreneur Forum (NGEF) competition in Monaco.
TouchSight, a new startup company started by Manufacturing Engineering Tripos (MET) students Pete Davies, Karan Keswani, Samaan Rahman and Jessi Baker, beat off five other teams from leading institutions around the world. To do so, they faced the daunting task of pitching to an audience of 200 people, most of them successful venture capitalists, and were then quizzed by a panel on stage.
Their winning invention is a glove-shaped mobility aid that enables the user to “sense” their surroundings using ultrasonic sensors and vibration feedback actuators – a low cost alternative or supplement to white sticks or guide dogs.
Last month the same team won the new Varsity Pitch competition between Cambridge and Oxford, dubbed “the business boatrace”. In January the team was one of 10 winners in the Cambridge University Entrepreneurs Business Ideas competition.
The NGEF event is a three-day networking competition attracting many venture capitalists and business angels, and offering students a chance to win international exposure.
TouchSight won particular praise for their social entrepreneurship from Candace Johnson, the co-initiator of the Astra satellite system and SES global, one of the world's largest satellite systems.
Pete Davies said: “We have learnt a huge amount about entrepreneurship and have met amazing people from around the world with similar interests and great connections. TouchSight will now take the next steps to bring the product to market. We will build more prototypes and work more closely with distribution channels to make this happen. Hopefully we will bring real change to the lives of the blind and visually impaired across the world.”
For more information on the Next Generation Entrepreneur Forum (NGEF) competition please visit www.ngefmonaco.org
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