Tactile Takes Top Prize at MIT Pitch Competition

Tactile MIT

In the first stage of MIT Sloan‘s ongoing $100k Pitch Competition, the early winners earned praise for social awareness.

Twenty teams presented 90-second elevator pitches then fielded questions from judges. The $5,000 top prize went to Tactile, a portable device that converts small text from agendas, printed receipts, and snail mail to braille, co-founded by Grace Li (SB ’17) and Charlene Xia. Li talked of the pressing need for a device like hers. “A lot of printed texts don’t have Braille translation, and there are 39 million visually impaired people.”

Boston’s “strong community for the visually impaired” has proven to be the ideal testing ground for Tactile where Li’s team is currently conducting beta testing. “We’re starting out in the U.S. market working with public institutions like libraries and schools, plus centers like the Carroll Center for the Blind and the Perkins School for the Blind.” According to the Sloan article, Tactile will “use the prize money to refine and streamline the prototype, intending to make the device even smaller.”

The $2,000 technology prize went to aam, a “smart device and app duo [that] reminds its user to take a birth control pill at a specific time and sends reminders to her phone if she forgets.” Co-founded by Aagya Mathur, MBA ’18, aam takes the form of a “birth control pill blister pack inserted into a smart sleeve.”

The second phase of the MIT $100k – dubbed “Accelerate” – pairs teams with mentors to publicly present new prototypes where teams will compete for a $10,000 prize and $3,000 audience choice award.

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