'Next Launch' Showcases Young Innovators

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The competition involved nine teams from Indiana and Illinois. The competition involved nine teams from Indiana and Illinois.

Launch Fishers founder John Wechsler says this week's first "Next Launch" business idea competition is the first step of what he hopes will ultimately become a national program. High school students from Culver, Fishers and Illinois competed for more than $17,000 in prizes. The top prizes went to teams developing technology for artificial intelligence, joint pain therapy and using sound to extinguish fires.

The competition was organized by California-based Republic of Tea owner Ron Rubin, who also funded the prizes.

Wechsler calls the competition a natural extension of what Launch Fishers does. "Once you've built out the environment and the ecosystem for today's entrepreneurs, you naturally have to look forward to say, 'All right, who's next,'" says Wechsler. "The university ecosystem is very strong here, and one that we're happy to be engaged with. The next logical step is to engage high schoolers."

The top three entries at Wednesday's competition were:

1. Blabl, Ayan Agarwal - An artificially-intelligent mobile application that lets users practice expressing themselves and receive feedback about content, pronunciation and energy.

2. Heat2Heal, Sushil Upadhyayula, Pranav Upadhyayula - A wearable wrap that uses body head to generate electricity for a relieving massage therapy for people with severe joint pain.

3. Flameless, Nikhil Madugula, Sivam J. Bhatt - A fire prevention technology that uses low-frequency sound waves to extinguish fires.

Wechsler says the competition is a "natural extension" of what Launch Fishers does.
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