Published On: Wed, Feb 3rd, 2016

A Breath of Innovation

Near-death experience gives rise to idea for divers’ distress bracelet; concept takes top prize in 3-Day Startup (3DS) entrepreneurship contest  

Technion-Israel  the distress bracelet developed by  team

Omer Arad, a student in the Faculty of Computer Science at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, was on a routine dive when he had one of the most terrifying experiences of his life.

“More than 80 feet below sea level, a malfunction prevented the airflow from the tank to the regulator in my mouth, ” said Arad. “In an instant one of my favorite hobbies turned into a genuine nightmare. I tried to signal my buddy, but he was far away and wasn’t looking in my direction. Luckily, I came out of it alive.”

The experience led Arad to conceptualize a wearable panic bracelet that lets the diver call his partner even when there is no eye contact between them. The idea earned his team first place at this year’s “3-Day Startup (3DS)” competition, held at the Technion, and organized by the university’s Bronica Entrepreneurship Center.

 

Technion-Israel (2) Students during the 3DS contest at the Technion

 

Dubbed “BLU, ” the wearable distress bracelet would be sold in pairs, to be worn by the diver and his diving buddy. A simple press of a button immediately transmits a distress signal – via light and vibration – to the other diver.

“Our mission was to make the diving world safer, ” said Arad. “Hundreds of divers die in diving accidents every year, and the currently available solutions for transmitting a distress signal are inadequate, very expensive and designed for professional divers.”

Other members of the BLU team were Aviv Tahar and Oz Meir from the Technion; Manik Arora and Bernadette Che, from Johns Hopkins University; Orit Dolev, a graduate of Shenkar College of Engineering and Design.

 

Technion-Israel (L to R),   Omer Arad,

 

This year’s 3DS competition included 45 students from various faculties, selected through a rigorous screening process. Divided into nine teams (“startups”), the students worked with mentors from industry – venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, marketing and business development professionals – and each team presented their concept to a panel of professional investors from leading venture capital funds, including Glilot Capital, AfterDox and the Alon Incubator. The first- and second-place teams earned entries to BizTEC, the Technion’s renowned national student entrepreneurship competition.

 

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