Meet the Next Generation
of Bluetooth Pioneers

When we first created the student category of the Bluetooth Breakthrough Awards, we wanted to recognize and encourage young innovators and inventors working with Bluetooth technology in their school or side hobby project to build on their passion for technology and engineering. Today, we’ve realized this category embodies much more. Our young innovators are looking to solve the world’s challenges – both big and small – and they’re turning to Bluetooth to make it possible. In turn, we are committed to

championing a technology and fostering an environment where this ambitious next generation can further human innovation.

Congratulations to our Bluetooth Breakthrough Award student finalists who are making our future more rewarding, safe, and worthwhile.

Julia Gong, DateSense: Julia wants to prevent a culture where we can’t socialize without being afraid of the unknown. She created DateSense to decrease the frequency of date rape cases through a system of prevention. A small, affordable Bluetooth sensor discreetly embedded into common objects such as a watch, ring, or straw can be used to detect potential date rape drug molecules. If a dangerous substance is found, a pre-customized message is sent in a way that only the user knows its meaning (i.e. “Message from Lacy Smith: Have fun! Don’t drink too much!”).

Josh Kaplan, BrailleBoard: Josh noticed that sometimes technology promotes exclusion rather than inclusion. He wanted to help the visually impaired gain fuller access to the technology around them and feel socially connected (especially teens) to their peers in the digital world. He developed BrailleBoard, a flip-open keyboard case that connects to smartphones via Bluetooth to help the visually impaired not only text and type on their smartphones in an easy and practical manner but allowing them full use of their phone’s features.

Vishwa Nathan, Arduino Smart Shelf: The simple act of grasping a handle and opening a drawer can be difficult and painful for people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and Parkinson’s disease. Vishwa was insipired to make opening and closing things a normal activity again for everyone. With Smart Shelf, Vishwa leveraged Bluetooth to connect a wearable armband with the sensor in a drawer so they could communicate through gesture control.

Sanjana Shah, Smart Flood Sensor: Sanjana knows you can’t control the weather, but she found a way to alleviate the countless incidents that result from flash floodings – such as traffic, lane blockages, property damage, and even tragic deaths. Her project uses Bluetooth and flow sensors to analyze the volume of water flow in a city’s drainage system and identify areas prone to severe water accumulation, and then calculate the number of pipes and time needed to drain a specific volume of water.

Rohan Suri, kTrace: Through his research, Rohan realized contact tracing to prevent the spread of infectious diseases was a costly technique, in terms of money, time, and lives. Rohan is developing a mobile app that uses Bluetooth to accurately track duration and proximity of people’s contact with infectious diseases. If a user becomes infected, medical authorities can identify and notify the people that came in contact with the user so they can seek immediate medical attention.

Maya Varma, Wireless Smartphone-Based Pulmonary Function Analyzer: Early detection of prevalent pulmonary illnesses such as asthma and chronic bronchitis can be instrumental to slowing the disease’s progression. Maya wanted to find a portable, power-efficient, and low-cost way to accurately diagnose respiratory illnesses in developing countries where 90 percent of deaths from pulmonary illnesses occur. She built a wireless smartphone-based system using Bluetooth to identify these illnesses, collect and transmit vital medical data, and monitor patients over time.