With its central goal of fostering innovation and academic excellence, the University of California, Irvine (UC Irvine) has become a leading advocate for future technologies through the UCI AI Innovation Challenge. Spearheaded by the UCI ANTrepreneur Center, the challenge unfolded in a series of rigorous and illuminating stages: a vibrant kickoff, targeted workshops for each of the three tracks, a pitch workshop, special office hours, a mentor mixer day, and a collaborative environment where interdisciplinary teams flourished.

Ryan Foland, Director of the UCI ANTrepreneur Center, captures the essence of this endeavor: 

“We are really proud of all the teams who decided to participate in this challenge. Our goal is to help inspire students and give them a reason to start their entrepreneurial journeys. And we are committed to supporting their journeys. Through our resources and mentorship, we encourage each team to continue on with their development regardless of how they place in the challenge.”

Tom Andriola, UCI Vice Chancellor for Information Technology and Data (ODIT), echoes this sentiment: 

“Once again, our innovation challenge shows the power of bringing students across campus together to work in teams towards solving problems. The experiences gained from all participants will serve them far beyond the competition.”

From a pool of 85 ambitious teams that entered the AI Innovation Challenge, 61 forged ahead to the semifinals, showcasing the breadth of talent and innovation at UC Irvine. The competition was fierce across all categories. AI in Health Impact drew 19 teams, each with a unique vision for transforming healthcare. AI in Storytelling and Entertainment saw 15 entries, with creative narratives that captivated audiences. Finally, AI in Student Experience led the charge with 27 entries, offering diverse solutions to enhance academic and campus life. This level of participation demonstrates how eager UC Irvine’s student body is to utilize their innovative thinking and diverse expertise to make positive differences in the lives of others.

With the semifinals behind us, 16 teams are now preparing for the finals where they will showcase their visions for leveraging AI in health impact, storytelling and entertainment, and student experience. These teams are not just competitors; they are pioneers carving out new paths in their respective fields. To recognize the ingenuity and impact of the finalists and their ideas, we would like to introduce our finalist teams.

Finalists in the AI in Health Impact Track

  • DOSE: Tackling the health risks of unregulated supplement use, DOSE’s AI app identifies potential medication conflicts and promotes safe supplement consumption. Watch DOSE’s video pitch. 
  • Team Saddleback: Aiming to prevent pediatric adverse drug reactions, Team Saddleback’s solution offers real-time predictions to enhance child patient safety. Watch Team Saddleback’s video pitch.
  • KidoCare: KidoCare offers a compassionate AI companion for hospitalized children, providing comfort through interactive storytelling and personalized care. Watch KidoCare’s video pitch
  • Move AI: With a focus on movement evaluation, Move AI assists healthcare professionals in making informed decisions for better patient outcomes. Watch their video pitch.
  • A-Eye Scan: A-Eye Scan introduces a retina imaging device linked to AI for early disease detection, aiming to revolutionize healthcare diagnostics. Watch A-Eye Scan’s video pitch

Finalists in the AI in Storytelling and Entertainment Track

  • Overshoot: An AI-powered photography assistant, Overshoot enhances photo quality and community engagement for an improved photography experience. Watch Overshoot’s video pitch. 
  • VenArt: VenArt’s TimeEcho brings history to life with AI-generated avatars of historical figures for an interactive learning experience. Watch VenArt’s video pitch.
  • Vango.AI: Vango.AI is an AI-driven marketing platform that aids startups in creating comprehensive digital media content. Watch Vango.AI’s video pitch.
  • Cova: Cova’s app fosters goal achievement by pairing users with accountability partners and AI-powered guidance. Watch Cova’s video pitch.
  • Feel Frame: Feel Frame innovates online learning with a real-time engagement scoring system powered by AI, reimagining student assessments. Watch Feel Frame’s video pitch.
  • Vision Board: Vision Board blends physical board games with digital enhancements through AI, elevating the gaming experience. Watch Vision Board’s video pitch. 

Finalists in the AI in Student Experience Track

Looking Forward to the AI Innovation Challenge Finals

As these teams prepare for the final showdown on January 12, 2024, at UCI Beall Applied Innovation, they face the challenge of condensing their vision into a live, five-minute pitch followed by a two-minute Q&A session. The judging panel will score each pitch using the same rubric from the semifinals. Teams will compete for more than $50,000 in total prize money set to be distributed among the top three teams across each track. 

The UCI AI Innovation Challenge finals invite the public to a vibrant evening of discovery and discussion. Admission is complimentary, and attendees can enjoy dinner, network with peers, and engage with the 16 student teams delivering live pitches. Additionally, the event will feature a health impact panel and a keynote by Jay Ashok Modh, founder and CEO of Intuitive.

Those interested in witnessing the intersection of academia and industry and the future of AI innovation are encouraged to attend. 

UCI Community: RSVP on CampusGroups HERE

Off-Campus Community: RSVP via MeetUp HERE

Opportunities for All Challenge Participants

Teams that didn’t advance to the finals of the UCI AI Innovation Challenge are not at the end of their journey. The UCI ANTrepreneur Center, alongside The Hub, will continue to offer a wealth of resources and support to continue nurturing these innovative projects. From mentorship and networking opportunities to workshops and funding, we are dedicated to fostering the entrepreneurial spirit of our  students. This commitment ensures that every idea has the chance to grow and every team remains an integral part of the vibrant UC Irvine innovation ecosystem. Further resources are available through established programs, designed to empower and propel forward even those ideas that are still in their infancy.

Additionally, the journey of innovation continues at and beyond UC Irvine’s campus. The AI Innovation Challenge is a stepping stone into the world of transformative competitions such as the Stella Zang New Venture Competition, the Taco Bell Ambition Accelerator, the James Dyson Award, and more. Each event is an opportunity for these bright minds to refine their concepts and to embrace feedback as a guidepost for development.

Thank You to Our Sponsors

The AI Innovation Challenge is made possible through the generous support of our sponsors. These partnerships are not just financial—they are collaborative relationships that fuel innovation and embody the spirit of community engagement in technological advancement. Please visit the official challenge website to learn more about our track sponsors, including our Technical Sponsors and Community Sponsors.

For more information about the UCI ANTrepreneur Center, including programming, speaker series, Micro-Internships, funding, and more, visit our website. You can also learn more about our valuable collaborations with Blackstone LaunchPad, Tech Coast Angels, Tech Coast Venture Network, OC Startup Council, SoCal Celebrates Entrepreneurship, the Hub @ UCI, and follow us on  Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), and even Threads.