Connect Hands Out 10 Most Innovative New Product Awards

[Corrected 12/5/16, 9:35 am. Awards were made in 10 categories.] Connect, the San Diego nonprofit supporting local innovation and entrepreneurship, handed out its Most Innovative New Product Awards at a dinner last night in La Jolla—recognizing innovations that range from an inflatable satellite antenna to a mobile app for art museums.

Volunteer entrepreneurs, investors, and business executives evaluated 111 nominations in ten categories for the 29th annual awards. The list was winnowed to about 30 finalists who presented their products last month to a panel of judges seleecting the winner in each category.

There was no William W. Otterson award winner this year. In previous years, Connect bestowed its highest honor on a local technology or product “that has demonstrated a significant impact on society and on our quality of life.”

Listed below are the winners in each category:

Bluetech: Water Pigeon

After winning the EvoNexus Fall Demo Day by popular acclaim in October, Water Pigeon won this Connect award over two other water-related technology startups, Planck Aerosystems (a drone for use with watercraft) and Cardinal Point Captains, with a wireless tracking system for scuba divers. Water Pigeon is an alternative method to collect customer data on water usage, by using a wireless automated water metering device.

Cleantech, Sustainability, and Energy: Cramston Wrather

Cramston Wrather recovers gold and other precious metals and polymers from electronic waste, using “green chemistry” that produces no hazardous waste or byproducts as a result of operations.

Defense, Transportation, and Cybersecurity:  Cubic Corp.

GATR, acquired by San Diego-based Cubic Corp. earlier this year, (NYSE: CUB) is the only provider of inflatable satellite communication (SATCOM) antennas.

Information Communication Technologies: Aira

Aira, supported by the late venture capitalist Larry Bock, has created remote assistive technology that connects the blind or those with low vision with a call center to help them.

Life Science Diagnostics and Research Tools: Echo Laboratories

After winning a $15,000 check in October from the San Diego Tech Coast Angels in their “Quick Pitch” competition, Echo Labs topped DermaTech and NanoCellect in this year’s Most Innovative New Product awards. Echo has developed a new hybrid microscope that easily transforms between viewing glass slides and live samples.

Medical Devices: Onciomed

Onciomed’s gastric vest system is a minimally invasive “wearable” used to enable weight-loss and stomach preservation. The vest system is not available for sale in the United States. Onciomed’s device enables weight loss like the sleeve gastrectomy but does not involve stapling, cutting, or permanently removing up to 80 percent of the stomach.

Pharmaceutical Drugs & Medical Devices: Acadia Pharmaceuticals

Acadia’s Pimavanserin (Nuplazid) is the first and only drug approved by the FDA for the treatment of hallucinations and delusions associated with Parkinson’s disease psychosis.

Robotics and Unmanned Vehicles: CleverPet

The CleverPet Hub is intended to keep a dog left alone busy, using smart hardware to offer pets engagement anytime, automatically, whether their humans are home or not.

Software, Digital Media, and Mobile Apps: Guru

Guru developed a mobile app for the San Diego Museum of Art App that transforms smart phones into a tour guide for the museum, using video, audio, games, augmented reality, and digital tours.

Sport & Active Lifestyle Technologies: Bixby

The Bixpy Jet is the world’s first handheld water propulsion device. The product runs on lithium batteries and is able to attach to anything from a diver’s forearm to the back of a kayak.

Bruce V. Bigelow was the editor of Xconomy San Diego from 2008 to 2018. Read more about his life and work here. Follow @bvbigelow

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