By Sara Cody
A team of ECE entrepreneurs won first place in the BUzz Lab Student Venture Competition at the Tech, Drugs and Rock n’ Roll (TDRR) event sponsored by the BU Office of Technology Development. Their project, THOR, was selected by the public, who voted on a pool of 14 finalists online, and netted the $1,500 cash prize.
THOR aims to address the significant cost of human labor in agriculture by employing the use of an autonomous drone to provide valuable data collection and analysis. The platform consists of an iOS mobile app for autonomous mission planning and image processing, a cloud-based algorithm to determine crop health, a drone for image collection, a system to create a digital terrain model, and a web app to easily view and manage data.
The members of team THOR originally came together to complete their ENG senior design project. Since graduation in May, they have been attending twice-weekly sessions as a part of the BUzz Lab Summer Accelerator program, where they learned the skills to turn their engineering project into a business. The program provides guidance from mentors in business, such as patent lawyers, marketers, and entrepreneurs, who advise the students on developing a viable business plan.
“Our idea has the potential to save farmers time and money by helping them monitor their crops and we can tailor the setup based on the farmer’s needs, whether they have a small farm or a large farm and whether they operate wineries, orchards or wheat fields” says team member Emily Ubik. “The Summer Accelerator was a great opportunity for us because we had access to mentors who were able to guide us through all of the different aspects of building a business.”
The members of team THOR include:
- Junkai He, EE’16
- Barron Roth, CE’16
- Emily Ubik, EE’16
- Daniel Vasilyonok, EE’16
- Yiyang Wu, EE’16
TDRR is an annual networking event designed to connect scientists and engineers with entrepreneurs, investors, and innovators. The event highlights emerging technologies from Boston University’s research programs in the fields of life sciences, physical sciences, medical technology, new ventures, and student-based ventures, with the additional presence of participating applied and translational research centers.