Voce—it’s the Italian word for voice, and it’s exactly what the winners of Whitman’s fall 2014 capstone competition want to give back to women on college campuses with their award-winning product.
Last fall, the team worked together to develop a bracelet that monitors alcohol and drug intake levels through transdermal sweat sensors. This bracelet, which also offers additional health features such as calorie counting and step tracking, is similar to many of the fitness wearables seen on the market today, but with additional features intended to keep women safe during a night out. Alcohol intake information is sent to the user’s smart phone application, which can notify the user’s friends if an alert is triggered that the individual is in a potentially dangerous situation. Geo-tagging technology then allows the user’s contacts to find and assist their friend if needed, keeping her out of harm’s way.
After winning the capstone competition, the team began to work with Professor Gary Lumpkin to put together a presentation for the national Values and Ventures student business plan competition, held at Texas Christian University’s Neely School of Business in April. Under Lumpkin’s direction, the team shared their entrepreneurial ideas with the judges and dozens of other schools in attendance. The team presented their plans for operations, marketing and financials, while emphasizing their personal connections to Voce’s groundbreaking product.
At the conclusion of the competition, Voce was presented with The Ripple Effect award, which is a $500 prize sponsored by the Women’s Foundation of Dallas intended to honor women entrepreneurs helping women. “The judges believed that our product would truly benefit and answer a problem in our society,” explained senior EEE major Jeni Penunuri, “thus causing a ripple effect by touching others in society.”
Voce’s product was designed with college women in mind, intending to give them the same safety as a man in a drinking environment. “Voce combines both today’s best medical technology and unique fashion trends to reduce the number of attacks in situations where alcohol and/or date rape drugs are present,” said Penunuri. “Women have been voicing and demanding to take back the night, and now with Voce, they can.”
Other members of team Voce included Whitman seniors Daniela Rodriguez, Matt Ehde, Justin Penney and Haley Yeranossian. Congratulations to the team on their receipt of the Ripple Effect Award!