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Entries for Red Bull Basement 2020 still open

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Red Bull Basement University 2019 Toronto.
Red Bull Basement University 2019 Toronto.

The past weekend saw Red Bull Basement University host one of its satellite events, building up to the competition’s Global Workshop that will be held in December to crown the ‘Best Idea of 2020’.

Red Bull Basement is a competition open to university students in any field of study. It encourages students to use tech to create solutions that will improve the way we live. To enter the challenge, teams of one or two people need to submit a 60 second pitch of their solution. Entries will be judged on feasibility, impact, creativity and the quality of the pitch.

The series of launchpad events aim to create awareness of the 2020 university challenge by giving students a feel of what the Global Workshop will be like.

Satellite events also serve as networking sessions for students such as Kuhle Shongwe who’s currently studying for an informatics degree at the University of Pretoria. He first heard about Basement two years ago in Grade 11 and while he hasn’t submitted his entry yet, he wants his solution to focus on either of two of the country’s pain points, education and transport, especially in townships.

Team SA finishes in top ten in Toronto

At last year’s Global Workshop in Toronto, the team representing South Africa went as far as the top ten, losing out to Austria’s Audvice: an app to help students learn on-the-go through audio recordings they share of lectures. The offering has since been extended to corporates.

Team South Africa’s solution, C4Me uses a mobile app and special glasses to help visually impaired students navigate around campus.

The two-man team entered the challenge with an existing prototype of C4Me. The Intelligent Industrial Systems duo from the Tshwane University of Technology started building the prototype during their mid-year last June break to keep the project from clashing with their school work.

Spha Mqcina, one of C4Me’s co-creators, says he and his partner Phila Ndlovu are looking at launching the final product sometime next year. “Phila and I are techies, but we've been focusing more on the business side recently, working with our mentors,” he says.

C4Me’s mapping system uses sensor data and voice to guide the wearer, and also warns them of obstacles in their way. Mqcina says they used themoney from the competition to improve the functionality of the glasses, which can now identifySouth African banknotes through the built-in cameras.

Collaborating to drive innovation

Dimension Data is the official technology partner of Red Bull Basement SA and will co-host more local launchpads as well as mentor teams through the month-long development phase of the contest .

NTT – DiData’s parent company, and one of Basement 2020’s global partners – will facilitate live workshops in host nations, offer mentorship and will also form part of the Global Workshop judging panel.

Entire close on 25 October 2020. To enter, currently enrolled university students aged 18 and older need to visit the Red Bull Basement website and upload a 60-second video that explains their idea.

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