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SAN JOSE, CA — Sixteen teams of creative and imaginative San José State University students will showcase their technological solutions for many of their city’s most pressing issues – including downtown safety, traffic congestion, the homeless, and support of local small business entrepreneurs – on Saturday, April 8, at the Paseo Public Prototyping Festival in downtown San Jose.
The Paseo Festival Expo will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the Hammer Theatre Plaza, 101 Paseo De San Antonio. In the evening, teams will present their final pitches from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on the Hammer Theatre Center main stage.
Admission is free and the public is invited.
Students tackling pressing issues
In preparation for the festival, students majoring in art, design, engineering, business and the sciences have spent the past year in collaboration with fellow team members to develop and refine their proposed solutions for improving life for the people of the city of San José.
The student teams, selected by a competitive review process headed by university faculty members, as well as industry professionals, will demonstrate their prototype devices and apps and be available to answer questions throughout the daylong festival.
Concepts to be exhibited by the SJSU teams include:
- A skateboard modified to generate electricity that can be used to charge a cell phone or power a headlight for the board to be safer at night;
- An app to better control city traffic and enhance access to public transportation;
- Devices to collect solar energy during the day in order to light up pedestrian walkways at night;
- A social app enabling residents to follow the actions of their local government, while communicating with it to access services and report problems;
- An inventory-tracking module to help local food entrepreneurs provide fresh fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods to city residents;
- An app to help drivers more efficiently locate available parking spaces near their downtown destinations, while eliminating excess traffic jams;
- A collaborative educational game that encourages learning and offers first-hand experience, while keeping students continuously engaged; and
- An app that helps individuals with niche interests and hobbies find other like-minded persons as well as events and organizations related to those pursuits.
A skateboard that generates electricity
“San José State University students are making a difference through their creative and technical talents,” said Gary Craig Hobbs, faculty director of the Paseo Prototyping Challenge and Festival. “The festival is the culmination of a year-long civic innovation challenge designed to incubate solutions to pressing social and environmental problems in San Jose.”
One of the teams – Traxis Design – created the modified skateboard that features an axle team members call “a truck” that allows the moving board to generate electricity while it is used during daylight hours. The collected electricity can then be used later for multiple purposes.
“We ride a skateboard to get around, so one of our team members thought it would be really convenient to add features to create and generate a source of electricity that can be used later,” said Josh Siqueido, a senior finance major from Oxnard.
His collaborators on the Traxis Design team are Connie Jiang, a graduate student in human factors and ergonomics from San Francisco; Aaron Caprino, a sophomore mechanical engineering major from San Jose; John Chaloeicheep, a junior aerospace engineering major from San Jose; and Omar Riaz, a freshman software engineering student from San Jose.
Siqueido indicated that he and his Traxis Design team plan to stay together to market their creation and work to develop other innovative products in the future. A similar goal was expressed by members of other participating festival teams.
Collaborating with industry
In September of last year, San José State University – in collaboration with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the City of San José, Intel, Microsoft and Autodesk – launched the Paseo Public Prototyping Challenge and Festival.
The “Challenge” portion of the partnership was designed to create model solutions to social and environmental challenges in the city through student-focused multidisciplinary collaboration and technological innovation, according to Hobbs. “The festival will celebrate the culminating prototypes.”
A panel will announce the top three innovative creations from among the 16 teams, with first place winning $5,000; second place earning $3,000; and third place awarded $2,000.
(Editor’s note: SJSU Contributing Writer Barry Zepel wrote this release.)
About San José State University
The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San José State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 250 areas of study – offered through its eight colleges.
With more than 35,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San José State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing more than 7,000 graduates to the workforce.
The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 220,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.