Callaghan's C-Prize Challenge attracts 96 entries, last year's finalist snapped up by US tech accelerator

The C-Prize Challenge finalists will be announced on July 24.

There were 96 entries in Callaghan Innovation's biennial C-Prize Challenge, where innovators have been invited to create the next generation of wearable technology, said Callaghan Innovation's chief technology officer Chris Hartshorn.

Entrants need to create a hardware-software wearable solution that captures and processes user data and communicates feedback allowing the user's actions enhance their outcome. They can participate in one or more of three challenges: live healthier, work safer and play smarter.

Of the 96, 46 were for the living healthier category, 30 for working safer and 16 for playing smarter, said Hartshorn.

The C-Prize Challenge invites Kiwi innovators and entrepreneurs to create technology solutions in a designated area. Up to 10 finalists will receive a $35,000 prize package to develop prototypes of their ideas while the overall winner will receive a $100,000 prize package, including a trip to a major overseas technology trade show.

The C-Prize Challenge finalists will be announced on July 24.

The inaugural 2015 C-Prize focused on Unmanned Aerial Vehicle or drone technology for the screen industry. Last year's runner-up Dotterel, a company that created noise-suppressing technology for drones, is reaping the benefits of the challenge, said Hartshorn.

Founded by three brothers in 2015 to address unmanned aerial vehicle noise in cinematography, it is the first New-Zealand based company to be accepted by an American technology accelerator called TechStars. Dotterel will participate in Techstar's first Asia-Pacific programme, to be held in Adelaide from mid-July. The 3-month programme will focus on defence-applicable technologies and is mentored by Boeing, Thales and Saab - three of the world's largest defence contractors.

"It takes a lot of courage to make the leap into innovation," said Hartshorn. "An opportunity like C-Prize can be just the nudge that people with ideas and ambition need to create a tangible concept - and to achieve international success, as evidenced by Dotterel."

(BusinessDesk receives assistance from Callaghan Innovation to cover the commercialisation of innovation)

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