Students participate in the SAP InnoTakeoff Competition

Three college of Business students stand at a table with their project SmartCan

Students Lauren Ung, Mia Voight, and Kevin Ng's project SmartCan were among the five finalists in the student's track of the SAP InnoTakeoff Competition.

The main theme of this year’s InnoTakeoff competition was the Internet of Things. In the first week of March, all participants submitted their prototype with a video explaining the main use case and usage scenario. Then, 13 finalists were selected for the final showdown event. Out of those 13 teams, there were five student teams, five employee teams, and three startup teams. They were invited to a 48-hour hackathon, with on-demand support from coaches and engineers, at the SAP Campus in Palo Alto.

After standing next to the three busiest recycle bins in the Westfield San Francisco Centre Food Emporium to observe and interview users, our students came up with the SmartCan project. The idea was that there are sensors in the bins that identifies the trash as recyclable, landfill or liquid waste, for example, and separates it accordingly. The end-user does not have to worry about figuring out which bin to place their trash. The SmartCan will help society as a whole by minimizing litter, educating users, and sorting trash in an effective way. Each persona will experience different benefits: The Environmentalist will be at ease knowing that he or she is making the right bin choice and that those around them are doing the same, The Average User will be happy knowing that they are making the right disposal choice without having to exert any additional effort, and The Don’t Know! Don’t Care! group will still be able to quickly dispose of their trash and unknowingly be making the right choice for the environment.

Lauren, Mia, and Kevin were very excited about this event, they bought their own Raspberry Pi and Arduino devices and prototyped their idea during the weekend prior to the Hackathon. They even made their own logo and T-shirt for the project! During the Hackathon, they worked with SAP engineers until 4 a.m., then crashed on the floor for two hours before getting up to continue working on their project again. Due to their accomplishment, they are invited to present their idea at SAP Startup Forum and attend SAP Sapphire in Orlando, Florida this coming May and SAP TechEd in Las Vegas held this October.