Spark Ideas Challenge winners chosen

20:36, May 22 2013

The University of Auckland has selected 32 prize winners in this year's Spark Ideas Challenge.

Entry numbers this year reached 365, an increase of 40%.

Spark CEO William Lockie says the entry numbers reflect support from faculties across the university and the continuing development of the Spark programme.

The co-director of the university's Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning, Geoff Whitcher, says, “The success of Spark since it started up 10 years ago has seen a huge increase in the interest in innovation and entrepreneurship right across the entire campus."

The next stage of the programme is the $100k Challenge, for which entries close in early August. In that challenge, Ideas Challenge entries can develop their ideas further.

The Ideas Challenge winners for 2013 are:


Community Service

Volunteer Share (Arts Prize)

A web and smartphone-based app to organise resources for charity initiatives. 

iHelp (Property Prize)

Technology that assists the disabled. 

WeGive (Social Prize)

An online charity shopping platform aimed at connecting individuals, charities and non-profit organisations. 

The Together Initiative (Social Prize)

Allows people to help their communities, with a focus on hunger relief. 

Young Carers: Our Time, Our Place (Social Prize)

An ongoing supportive network for young carers up to the age of 25 who are providing substantial care for a family member with a disability or illness. (Social Prize)

A sale website where users ‘buy in’ to the funding of a charitable project in exchange for products/rewards. 

Medical and medical devices

PacyMatrix (Chiasma Prize)

Hopes to offer a treatment that modifies the behaviour of keratoconus, an eye disease.

Aesthetic and Reliable Dental Crowns (Commercial Prize)

InfinityTek (Computer Science Prize)

Helps people manage their sun exposure by offering personal UV sensors that talk wirelessly to a smartphone.

DTTAce (Social Prize)

A multi-touch software application to help certified behaviour analysts and parents conduct and monitor Discrete Trial Training (DTT) sessions with children on the autism spectrum.

Bactisafe (UniServices Prize)

Proposes to develop a novel portable optical device to enable fast, sensitive and accurate monitoring of microorganisms in solution.

DNA Sensors (UniServices Prize)

Capitalises on a recently developed first-of-its-kind tentacle DNA sensor bound to a fluorescent polymer-coated magnetic nanoparticle, which opens up only in the presence of target DNA.  

LearnEmotion (UniServices Prize)

Has developed a novel digital application based on an ‘emotional engine’ technology that has been used in movies such as Avatar to assist children with autism spectrum disorder.

Productivity improvement

Danimal (Commercial Prize)

Developed sensing electronics and algorithms for use with soft, stretchy rubber film that can be used to make motion-capture clothing garments useful in creating computer-generated imagery in films and sport.  

MDCB Solutions (Commercial Prize)

Offers software ventures that take out the repetitive elements of architect calculations.

Access Legal (Commercial Prize)

Will offer a platform that enables companies to adopt an appropriate legal risk management framework using technology as an enabler to automate ‘first level’ legal activities.

Consumer retail

FlavourCap (Commercial Prize)

An advancement in the flavoured bottled water industry which allows consumers to bypass purchasing a complete water bottle, and instead the flavoured bottle cap.  

SCOrCh (Commercial Prize)

Will provide a new approach to custom chocolate production, aiming to provide individualised chocolate products for events such as weddings and birthdays. 

Swift Supplements (Commercial Prize)

Aims to provide quality, cost-effective supplements.

MyLabel (Social Prize)

A smartphone app designed to inform people about the ingredients in the food and cosmetic purchases they make.

Environmental and personal safety and security

Micro Pure Water (Commercial Prize)

Aims to develop an emergency field water technology for areas affected by tsunamis, floods, earthquakes and other natural disasters.  

Polar Eyes (Commercial Prize)

An automated black ice detection and warning system. 

Mind Truth (Engineering Prize)

Developed an electroencephalograph (EEG)-based lie detector for government agencies and private agencies to bypass conscious cognitive processing and the peripheral nervous system.  

A Novel Design to Produce Cement (UniServices Prize)

Proposes a process which produces cement with the same quality but consuming smaller amounts of energy, pollutants and cost. 

Closed Loop Disposal (Social Prize)

A way of decluttering homes.


Code Camp (Commercial Prize)

A nine-week intensive web development course.

Legacy Online (Social Prize)

A project that uses the younger generation’s social media savvy to elevate stories, experiences, knowledge and profiles of older generations that are often unheard.

CareerMap (Law Prize) i

An online web tool that dispenses career information tailored to each student’s aspirations.


Auckland Augmented Tourist (NICAI Prize) i

An augmented reality web channel for smartphones so that tourists in Auckland can audiovisually navigate key sites of interest.


Avatar anonymous (Social Prize)

Aims to explore a solution to health risk behaviours by creating a virtual reality environment for group-based behaviour change.  

My Mood Diary (Social Prize)

A smartphone application that aims to promote mental health and reduce depression among adolescents and young adults. 

Composeable App Store (UniServices Prize)

Will offer Tele-health, a library or store ‘composeable’ mobile services or applications for health facilities at a distance.