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2022 MICA UP/Start Venture Competition Finalists Announced

MICA is happy to announce this yr’s UP/Start Venture Competition finalists, who have been chosen after the Spherical 1 Digital ‘Pop Up and Pitch’ occasion on November 19. 

This yr’s finalists embody:

Blvck Door
Iman Carr ’22 (Design Management MA/MBA)

Blvck Door is an internet platform that bridges the hole between creatives of coloration and employers who see the advantages of an equitable, diversified workforce.




Herschel Ruben ’21 (Product Design BFA)

There may be an estimated world inhabitants of 70 million folks on the autism spectrum—80% of whom are unemployed or severely underemployed. Individuals on the spectrum are hypersensitive to gentle, style, sound, scent and contact. For them, even the smallest stimuli can really feel overwhelming. When their nervous methods get overloaded, it could actually trigger a battle or flight response that disrupts workflow. Making use of stress on sure factors within the nervous system, corresponding to outer thighs and shoulders, can calm or stop sensory overload. The Compressent Desk Chair is for individuals who expertise overstimulation of the nervous system and want a relaxing mechanism to be productive of their on a regular basis lives. Deep stress contact, notably when it may be self-controlled with Compressent, is a method of assuaging the necessity to settle down by disconnecting. Discovering a manner for this to be utilized in on a regular basis life led to designing the Compressent Desk Chair, a product that can be utilized—with out stigma—in any work surroundings.


Emma Koramshahi ’22 (Design Management MA/MBA), Aleks Romano ’22 (Design Management MA/MBA), and Julia Breskin ’22 (Design Management MA/MBA)

How do I take up area in a dialog?

Convo is a knowledge visualization instrument that makes use of AI and animation to convey fairness into the digital assembly area. In your assembly, every participant is represented by a reactive circle. As a participant speaks, their circle will increase in dimension. Beneath every circle, a operating timestamp information the cumulative period of that participant’s speech. Participant quantity determines the speed of progress of their respective circle. As a instrument offering each real-time suggestions and a visible abstract for dialog participation, Convo has the potential to make your instructional, skilled, or private conferences an area the place all voices are heard. As soon as developed, Convo might be licensed business-to-business and could be a worthwhile addition to firms like Zoom, Skype, and WebEx to combine with their APIs.

The crew at Convo has the spark and the drive. We wish UP/Start to be the catalyst to realizing our dream of self-reflective dialog in a digital surroundings.

Core Immersive Labs 

Paolo Narciso ’22 (Information Analytics & Visualization MPS)

​​The metaverse is turning into a actuality with over $3 Trillion {dollars} being invested to construct what many are calling the subsequent era of the Web. The chance is anticipated to double within the subsequent 5 years. Similar to the Net was not nearly web sites, and serps, the metaverse isn’t just about Combined Actuality. It essentially can change commerce, economies, and human interplay. However, identical to the Net, the builders and designers are usually from the privileged populations, leaving out underserved communities and the voices/concepts by gender, race, age, and ethnicity.  Our mission is to supply the coaching, instruments, and alternatives for these underserved populations world wide to be entrepreneurs, builders, and designers of the metaverse.  The coaching can be free to the contributors. The corporate will generate income as a world innovation lab, and thru job placement providers. 

Knock the Block

E book Karnjanakit ’21 (Illustration Follow MFA)

Coping with artwork blocks isn’t simple. “Knock the Block” is right here to assist.

Most artists and inventive folks, no matter expertise degree, have skilled durations of artwork block: the state of not having the ability to provide you with concepts or feeling caught. This typically results in disappointment or doubt, which simply creates extra blocks. The causes of a block may vary from being mentally and bodily drained from always creating, to simply the other when one hasn’t created something for some time. 

“Knock the Block” is a mild deck of artistic and self-care card prompts to assist folks overcome this common inventive problem. Place the deck inside attain, and each time encountering an artwork block, simply choose a card (or just a few!) and comply with by way of with the prompts. Each card is playfully illustrated with the aim of bringing a smile to the readers’ faces.

Every “Knock the Block” deck incorporates 60 playing cards divided into 3 totally different classes: topic prompts, approach prompts, and self-care prompts.


Jana Thompson ’21 (UX Design MPS), Mackenzie Legg, ’21 (UX Design MPS), Kelly Lynch ’21 (UX Design MPS), Justine Cantu ’21 (UX Design MPS), and Heather Waugh ’21 (UX Design MPS)

Mira is your digital twin that can assist you meet your targets and take the breaks you want throughout your day. Each particular person can create their very own distinctive avatar that will get by way of the day with them and thru the ups and downs of life.

You create your individual customized Mira avatar with a singular face, voice, and character that can assist you set every day, ongoing, and long-term targets. Your Mira will examine in with you all through the day to see the way you’re doing and encourage you to perform what you imply to, but in addition that can assist you perceive you and meet you the place you are at.

With the Mira app, it is possible for you to to trace your targets, in addition to take a look at your stress ranges and well-being over time. 

Mira is supposed to assist your well-being by being an outdoor voice to provide the reminders and the encouragement you want.







Kristen Karlovich ’21 (Product Design BFA)

Pharma-D is a instrument library of at residence/take residence medical gadgets that provides extra widespread and simpler entry to taking care and monitoring an people well being. Pharma-D doesn’t exchange pressing cares, hospitals, or common medical doctors workplaces, however relatively allows folks to make informative selections on their well being care. 

There are such a lot of medical gadgets in the marketplace that most individuals don’t know they’ve entry to. All the things from screens that may detect cancers, to several types of digital stethoscopes, and coronary heart screens that may detect coronary heart assaults or emotional misery days prematurely. 

Pharma-D would permit folks to entry and perceive their very own well being. Pharma-D would permit people to make educated selections and provides professionals extra perception on the well being and care one wants. Pharma-D would assist minimize down on the price of pointless, extremely costly testing, detrimental ready occasions of checks, and be an assist to medical professionals and amenities.


Monika Reddy Vootukuri ’21 (Graphic Design MFA)

Storypets are voice assistants that ship bedtime tales to children within the voice of the dad or mum or the grandparent as a substitute of a generic AI voice. The prototype is an try to design for pleasure, responding to the present panorama of voice computing and digital merchandise. Storypets explores how households can use expertise to share an inclusive and non-robotic expertise with their children. The product connects cultures and generations whereas redefining the principles in consumer expertise design. Storypets is particularly delicate to household settings the place numerous languages are spoken and customary diction or accents are usually not the norm.

The product works along side a cellular utility. The dad or mum information both a pre-written or a private story within the cellular app, this story can be saved within the bodily product (i.e the pet) and youngsters can select to listen to it each time they need. Moreover, children can narrate tales to the pet.

The UP/Start Venture Program & MICApreneurship are generously supported by The Philip E. and Carole R. Ratcliffe Basis. Winners can be introduced throughout the finale occasion on Tuesday, April 12, 2021. For extra info, go to https://micapreneurship.weebly.com/. 

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