Chatbot Wins IUPUI Competition

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Radhika Ravindran (photo courtesy of IUPUI) Radhika Ravindran (photo courtesy of IUPUI)
INDIANAPOLIS -

An idea from Radhika Ravindran from over five years ago has won her IUPUI's 2019 JagStart Student Idea Pitch Competition. The master's degree candidate in the School of Informatics and Computing has a younger brother who didn't like reading books but did like sending text messages to friends, prompting her to develop a chatbot to try to pique his interest in reading books.

Ravindran's solution, Kibo, uses chatbot technology to make book-reading more like a conversation. She delivered an elevator pitch and interacted in a Q & A session with a panel of judges, and Kibo was named the best of the 11 projects. Ravindran then used the $2,500 award to further develop Kibo.

"Originally I thought of making Kibo an application for home use," Ravindran said. "But with the JagStart competition award and insights from two contacts I have made, I'm planning to turn it into an education application that could benefit students up to the university level."

Kelley School of Business bachelor's degree candidate Samuel Kropp won second place, and $1,500, for The Aguaponics Company, which combines fish farming and hydroponics. Third place went to double bachelor's degree candidate Eli Hoopengarner for his FlexWheel, which improves comfort for motorsport drivers. JagStart has been organized through IUPUI's Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research since its 2012 inception. 

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