Isolate & Ideate Challenge



Thanks to everyone who participated—it was a blast! Congratulations to the winners:

Manav Modi | Sophomore | Grainger Engineering

Winning Idea: GrayKea, which is a student-alumni ecosystem that fosters mentorship and reduces student financial stress, by enabling sustainable alumni giving. GrayKea aims to connect students-in-need to alumni through their platform since alumni truly understand what most students face and will be motivated to help.  

Kavya Sood | Junior | Liberal Arts & Sciences

Winning Idea: OpenIt! Plastic Bag Opening Assistance Device. OpenIt! is a germ free plastic bag opening assistance device that improves grocery shopping experience by alleviating the frustrations of not being able to open produce bags. Throughout this pandemic, the one persistent problem Kavya noticed whenever she went grocery shopping was that people couldn’t open plastic bags. Silicone finger covers, with a design similar to infant toothbrushes, are a simple solution to combatting this issue.

Dre Abdullah | Sophomore | Division of General Studies

Winning Idea: Project Connect. Project Connect is an app to connect people in need with individuals who can help them with new everyday life during the pandemic. Dre’s idea is to create an app that can help in-need groups – especially those who've had trouble adapting to life during the pandemic. Whether it's learning how to use technology, assistance with everyday things like groceries, or just finding someone to talk to, Project Connect is intended to be a service that helps connect these people with others who can assist them.

Tabish Shaik | Sophomore | Grainger Engineering

Winning Idea: Baby Thought Translator. The baby thought translator is the Rosetta Stone for infant interaction, bridging the communicational gap between us and the adorable little humans we call babies. Through machine learning and data mapping, the baby thought translator would allow us to finally understand what the coos and babbles of our tiny humans mean. This product would impact the way we interact with babies by giving us a clear window into how they think.

Stuck inside and looking for a challenge? We've got you covered! In light of the recent campus restrictions, we want to offer a fun contest to our students. This is designed to get you to thinking about problems and opportunities facing society today, all from the comfort of your home. We’re encouraging students to think about innovative solutions to problems we are all facing right now, especially during this pandemic. These ideas can be simple life hacks or other creative ideas with the potential for commercialization or to become a business.

We are awarding (4) $150 cash prizes* in the following categories:

Do you have a wild idea that has potential to become a business?

Do you have a life hack idea that simplifies everyday life, especially during this pandemic?

Do you have an idea that would shine during COVID?

Do you have innovative ideas that would enrich Illinois campus life?

Any idea qualifies for this competition, so don't let the categories above limit your creativity!

Schedule of Events

Quick Links

Creativity Workshop RSVP

Office Hours

Submit Your Idea


* Prizes will be deposited into your student account.

Note: These events are open to all enrolled UIUC students (all undergraduate & graduate students). All majors are encouraged to apply!



Technology Entrepreneur Center

The Grainger College of Engineering

351 Coordinated Science Lab, MC-228
1308 W. Main Street
Urbana, IL 61801

We're here to help! Contact Tara Flesner, TEC Office Manager, at the phone number or email above, and you'll get a quick response during normal business hours.

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