Sunday, April 10, 2016

Chicago team from 1871 competes for $1 million on new TBS makers show

Chicago team competes for $1 million on new TBS makers show

Contact ReporterBlue Sky Innovation
Three members of Chicago’s maker scene are set to appear on a new TBS show that follows teams as they battle to make the best connected or wearable device.
The show, “America’s Greatest Makers,” premieres at 8 p.m. Tuesday. The show's 24 teams are required to use Intel's Curie, a tiny computer module, in their creations. The winner after eight episodes gets $1 million.
Intel designed the Curie for wearable devices, according to the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company’s website. It is low-power, about the size of a keyboard key and includes flash storage and SRAM.
The Chicago team, NWTN (pronounced Newton), will create a concussion-detection device on the show, said team member Neil Kumar. The quarter-size device attaches to an athlete’s helmet, chin strap or mouth guard and sends data to coaches’ phones.
“Anytime a hit is larger than a threshold that you set, it notifies the athletic trainer and coaches and lets them track all of those hits throughout their career,” said Kumar, who founded digital recruitment service ImployMe.
Dave Krawczyk, another team member and co-founder and director of iOS at Windy City Labs, which builds connected objects, said the team built an app that connects to the device, also called NWTN. 
“It shows exactly how the head moved during the hit and where the hit came from,” Krawczyk said. “This is info we verified is really useful with athletic trainers.” 
Aaron Fazulak, co-founder at Designation Labs, a career accelerator for designers based in 1871, rounds out the three-member team.
Fazulak said the team formed in early September, after TBS reached out to him to gauge his interest in participating. Krawczyk and Kumar went to Neuqua Valley High School, but the three team members had never worked together.
“Compared to other teams, who will be coming into the show with a product they had before, we started without any idea,” Fazulak said. “We had a piece of paper.”
But Fazulak knew the damage concussions can cause. He'd seen the repercussions of repeated hits in a close friend who played college football.
“It was a problem I was aware of personally,” he said. “When we came together, we had all the resources necessary to look at that problem.”
The team members couldn’t reveal many details about the show, which finished shooting in March. Teams are judged on their ideas, feasibility of technology, business plans, team composition and presentation.
In the first two episodes, each team will pitch its idea to a judging panel, which will choose 15 teams to move forward. The next five episodes will each feature three teams facing off for $100,000 and a spot in the finals. The five finalists will present their products in the final episode.
The show was created in collaboration with Intel and produced by Mark Burnett, who has also produced “Survivor,” “Shark Tank” and “The Voice.”

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