Kibo, Chatbot Tech That Enhances Interest In Books, Wins 2019 JagStart Competition

Radhika Ravindran pitches Kibo during the 2019 JagStart competition. Photo courtesy of the IUPUI Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research
Radhika Ravindran pitches Kibo during the 2019 JagStart competition. Photo courtesy of the IUPUI Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research

An idea that originated more than five years ago was developed and refined into a project that won IUPUI’s 2019 JagStart Student Idea Pitch Competition on April 12.

Radhika Ravindran, a master’s degree candidate in the School of Informatics and Computing, has a younger brother who doesn’t enjoy reading but likes using his smartphone, including sending text messages to friends. She wondered why the same activity couldn’t be used for reading books.

“While there are services to help consume books differently, nothing addresses the lack of attention span and engagement aspects of it,” Ravindran said. “My solution, Kibo, uses chatbot technology to make book-reading like a conversation and more engaging than ever.”

Ravindran delivered a three-minute elevator pitch and participated in a two-minute Q&A session with a panel of judges during the IUPUI student competition. Kibo was named the best of the 11 projects in the competition, and Ravindran was awarded $2,500 to further develop it.

“Originally I thought of making Kibo an application for home use,” Ravindran said. “But with the JagStart competition award and insights from two contacts I have made, I’m planning to turn it into an education application that could benefit students up to the university level.”

Samuel Kropp, a bachelor’s degree candidate in the Kelley School of Business, won second place and $1,500 for The Aquaponics Company. The company is based around the sustainable science of aquaponics — the combination of fish farming and hydroponics. The goal is to scale down commercial aquaponics to an in-house system to be sold directly to household consumers.

Eli Hoopengarner, a double bachelor’s degree candidate in the School of Engineering and Technology and the School of Liberal Arts, won third place and $750 for The FlexWheel. The product improves motorsport driver comfort, allocates stronger muscle groups to decrease a driver’s fatigue and provides energy dissipation upon impact.

Kristina Tinsley, a bachelor’s degree candidate in the Kelley School of Business and a member of the Honors College, and Madhura Mhatre, a master’s degree candidate in the School of Informatics and Computing, won the audience choice prizes and $500 apiece. Tinsley pitched Archived, a smartphone app that increases visitor engagement at museums and helps maintain museum inventory. Mhatre pitched Swelter Produce, which addresses the challenge of desert farming by using renewable resources to generate clean energy from heat and to extract water from humid air in arid environments for irrigation.

JagStart is organized through IUPUI’s Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research. It has undergone different iterations, including a business pitch competition, since it started in 2012. Simon Atkinson, vice chancellor for research, said it is important that resources like JagStart are available for innovative IUPUI students.

Simon Atkinson
Simon Atkinson

“These students are future entrepreneurs and leaders for Indiana,” Atkinson said. “Competitions like JagStart and other resources offered by IUPUI help them hone the soft skills that will carry them far in whatever career they choose.”

Other competitors in the 2019 JagStart Student Idea Pitch Competition and their projects were:

  • Michael Daniells: Breeze Microloans, a mobile application platform that provides access to short-term, low-principal, low-interest-rate loans.
  • Sneh Khatri: Kidzie, an application that promotes the development and well-being of young children through features that enhance parent-child communication.
  • Dakota Merkel: Rest in Peace, a social media platform that allows people to actively remember their loved ones years after they pass away.
  • Yi-shan Tabitha Tsai: epiQ, a mobile application that helps students achieve basic furniture needs.
  • Natalie Woods: Green Roofs, a product designed to allow residents in an urban environment to have their own green spaces.
  • Szu-Yu Yang and Swaroop John: Pickcart, an online-shopping-style mobile application for university students to access free food items from their on-campus food pantries.

Read the original story from IUPUI NewsSteve Martin 

5 Tips For Getting Into Grad School

For some of us, graduation means no more grades or homework. For those who can’t get enough of the college experience, it means the cycle is about to start all over again with graduate school.

If you’re going to graduate school and you know it, clap your hands — and give these tips a try.

Students who have questions about graduate school are encouraged to reach out to others for guidance. Indiana University

Research the program
Whether or not you know what you want to study in graduate school, it’s always a good idea to research any program you’re interested in. Find out what the program offers and what’s required to get in. You should also look up the faculty and their interests and strengths. This will help you create your personal statement and cater it specifically to the program you want to enter.

Take the GRE early
Similarly to taking the SAT when you were looking past high school, it’s a good idea to take the GRE your sophomore or junior year in college. That way, if your score is lower than you want, you have time to retake the test. Also, some of your general education classes, such as math and English, help prepare you for the GRE questions, so it’s good to take it when the information is still fresh in your mind. If you missed this mark and are taking the test later, it’s not the end of the world. It only means you have a little less time than people who started earlier.

Write, revise and tailor your personal statement
Your personal statement is not something you should write overnight. You might have several drafts throughout the process, and that’s OK. The more revisiting and revising you do, the more satisfied with the final product you’ll be. This is your chance to showcase your accomplishments and goals and explain why you’re a perfect fit for the program.

Ask for strong letters of recommendation
Making sure to ask the right people for “strong” letters of recommendation is key. Ask people who will promote you and your abilities in an effective way. It’s important to choose people who know how you work, what your accomplishments are and what your future goals are. Specifically requesting a “strong” recommendation letter shows that you’re serious about this program, and it encourages the recommender to put real thought and effort into what they write for you.

Ask for help and pay attention to deadlines
Getting all your materials turned in on time is extremely important. Make sure you know when the deadline is and have everything done a little early. That way, if you have questions about the application process, you’ll have time to ask people who know. Reach out to the admissions staff in your program, and they’ll help you create a successful application. The IUPUI Graduate Office offers workshops on getting into graduate school; see the website for details.

Read the original article from IUPUI News’ Ashlynn Neumeyer 

IAHI and Indiana Humanities Present: Mathew Powers, “Why Everything is a Game” (November 15)

Mathew Powers Flier
Mathew Powers, “Why Everything is a Game”
Date: 11/15/2012
Time: 7:30-8:30
Location: IUPUI University Library, Lilly Auditorium
Gaming and gaming culture is not just a leisure activity, it is becoming a crucial element of our everyday lives. Games will soon become integral to job advancement and education, from 1st grade through college.  Mathew Powers, a professor of gaming at the IUPUI School of Informatics, explores the gamification of our lives in this informative talk.
Co-hosted with the Indiana Humanities
Tickets are free, but make sure to reserve your tickets here.
Contact: iahi@iupui.edu