4 Inventions from The Uptake Intern Internet of Things Challenge

Robots that monitor your coffee consumption. A desktop device that lights up when rideshare rates are increasing. A sensor that monitors pressure and moisture conditions for high-risk shipments.

It’s not an episode of Shark Tank. These are projects Uptake interns tackled as part of their internship experience.

Our interns have the flexibility to create their own opportunities that speak to their interests, all within a supportive space to try new challenges. As integral members of our community, they work on cross-functional teams alongside our employees and take on real, impactful projects. And for even more experience in working collaboratively, they participate in a challenge with their peers to research, build, and present a prototype for an Internet of Things invention.

Working in small teams, this year’s class used hardware components to create products that could address any kind of problem in any industry, from office cultures to global trade, incorporating data analytics. In coming together to find creative solutions, they were able to learn real-world skills: collaborating with people across skill sets and communicating their ideas in a formal setting.

Since Uptake makes cloud-based predictive analytics software, the teams imagined ways to use connected devices to launch new products, considering a timeline, constraints, costs, development, and design. Interns with technical backgrounds were able to teach those with less hardware and software development experience, ensuring that everyone could take part in the building and coding.

“The most challenging part was making time for the project in general,” said Engineering Intern Remy Bubulka, who worked on a device that identifies the best times to avoid ride share surge pricing. “But it was rewarding to see everything come together and get done, between finding the right API documentation and making the sensor cooperate.”

During the final presentations, mentors from Uptake’s Internet of Things and Product Strategy teams asked questions and offered feedback while judging each team’s project on innovation, creativity, execution, use of the sensor, usefulness, and enthusiasm.

Members of the winning group – Nathan Blank (Internet of Things), Daniel Fishbaum (Emerging Products), Chad Kowalewski (Engineering), Imani McLaurin (Engineering), and Kevin Zen (Corporate Development) identified two common issues in large work environments: the difficulty of meeting new people and the strain of keeping up with co-workers as an organization grows and employees get busier. The result was their winning invention: HitchBot, a handheld device that randomly matches newer employees with veteran employees, alerts them, and encourages them to accept an invitation go out for lunch or coffee and get to know each other better. They imagined that every new employee would receive a HitchBot on their first day to help them meet their cohort.

“Their presentation was very professional,” said Engineering Manager Jared Cohen, who helped organize the challenge and led this year’s Engineering interns. “There was full buy-in from the whole team, and they found a creative solution to a real problem.”

The judges were also impressed with the team’s ideas, which demonstrated Uptake’s core values of curiosity, clarity, flexibility, industry, and trust.

“That team promoted those values through what they made,” Cohen said. “It’s a big credit to them for demonstrating those values in how they worked together.”

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Jess Sattell is a Content Strategist on the User Experience Team at Uptake.