ASK Applications places first in Bay Area entrepreneurial experience competition
ASK Applications, a team of U-M Computer Science students, has won the University of Michigan’s 2011 Bay Area Entrepreneurial Experience business plan pitch competition, beating out 24 other teams. The competition, which took place March 2-4, is sponsored by the Center for Entrepreneurship and is an annual opportunity for U-M student entrepreneurs to pitch the business plans for their entrepreneurial projects to a panel of tech-focused entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and consultants.
The ASK Applications team includes Erica Christensen, Kimberly Hunter, Scott Jenks, Chelsea LeBlanc, Chris McMeeking, and Michelle Noronha. The team also took second place in the University Mobile Challenge Competition at the Mobile World Congress, in Barcelona on February 14.
In the Bay Area competition, ASK Applications team members Michelle Noronha and Kim Hunter pitched the business plan for the team’s iPad application, ASK Messaging, which helps individuals with fine motor control disabilities or vision impairment to communicate independently. The application provides users with Cerebral Palsy or traumatic brain injuries who have extreme difficulties in using traditional keyboard interfaces a new interface that enables them to successfully navigate menus and compose and send messages.
The idea for the app was born in Fall 2010, as a project for the EECS 481 Software Engineering class taught by Dr. David Chesney. A representative from the University’s C. S. Mott Children’s Hospital visited the class and spoke about the needs of patients at the hospital.
During development, the ASK Messaging app has been tested by the Mott Hospital and The Bridge School, which is dedicated to educating children with severe speech and physical impairments. The potential of the app has become clear quickly, and the app has been featured on the Product Design Show, an informational series of videos on ENGINEERING.com.
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