Thursday, February 9, 2012

We're Back, Baby!

Last month's Thousand Dollar Thursday on Thursday, January 26, our first of 2012, took place at the UBU Lounge at Theatre Junction GRAND, a fitting venue as the Grand recently celebrated its 100th anniversary.

Thursday, January 26 was also what we dubbed "Awesome Alberta Day" as AF-Edmonton also held their monthly Pitch Night at the same time.

Hosted this time by Calgary Trustee of Awesome Ken Sedgewick, a diverse set of Top4 Finalists for January took to the podium for 90 seconds each hoping to convince the AF-Calgary Trustees that they were deserving of the $1,000 prize.

Pitch 1: The Awesome Science Road Show

First up was the Awesome Science Road Show by Ed Kusmirski. Loyal AF-Calgary followers may recall that Ed pitched the same idea at the last Thousand Dollar Thursday back in November 2011. Ed thought his idea was so awesome that it was worth re-submitting, and we thought it was awesome enough to highlight it and give it another chance.

Previous science road shows in the past have attracted up to 700 adults and children. Like last Pitch Night, the Awesome Science Road Show would showcase science experiments and demonstrations for kids, this time happening at the Fish Creek Library in March. Their hope is to attract 1,000 people to participate this time around, with eight different science topics and 16 interactive presentations, and the $1,000 would help pay for the consumables used in the road show, including such things as liquid nitrogen and dry ice, plus other logistical costs involved in running the event.

Pitch 2: Projection Bombing

Up next was Projection Bombing by Tyler Longmire. Tyler is a theatre artist, animator and self-professed tinkerer who wishes to build a device that would allow the public to create art all over the city by allowing citizens to paint blank city walls with interactive video or tag buildings with lasers.

The device would be an independently powered mobile video projection unit mounted onto a modified bicycle trailer complete with computer, projectors, lasers, lights and diodes that the public can interact with, as well as a power generator. The public could then use the devices mounted on the mobile projection unit to make quick, non-destructive visual art almost anywhere in the city.

As Tyler already possesses most of the video equipment needed for the project, the $1,000 would go towards building the portable rig, specifically to help procure the bicycle and trailer to be modified, power generator/battery system, and the lasers, diodes, sensors and other electronics to make everything work.

Pitch 3: Free Range Youth

Third was Free Range Youth by Kevin Hayes. Kevin's idea is to create a youth entrepreneur peer program that empowers youth aged 13-25 to plan, build and start their own businesses using the resources they already have by providing an environment for success, creative thinking, confidence building and collaboration. Graduates of the program would then be responsible to teach the next generation of students in the program, teaching all involved vital leadership skills and ensuring that the program remains sustainable.

The $1,000 would be used to start off the program with the first group of 20 youth. The money would help to pay for Business Starter Kits including the creation of business cards and other promotional materials, printed course curriculum materials including course guides and workbooks, and IT infrastructure such as web space and email services that participants can build their businesses on.

Pitch 4: R.A.P.S. (Railway Accident Prevention System)

Final pitch of the night went to R.A.P.S. (Railway Accident Prevention System) by Brad Blois. R.A.P.S. is a sophisticated system that aims to warn people and animals wandering or loitering on railway tracks of incoming trains. The mechanism to warn people on the tracks would consist of a device mounted to the front of the locomotive that would fire projectiles at objects on the track as a final-warning that a train is approaching, the hope being that alerting people on the tracks would give them enough time to get out of the way.

As the entire project is a large endeavour, the $1,000 would be used to help finance the creation of a 3D video demonstrating the R.A.P.S. system in action to be used in presentations to Transport Canada and the International Rail Safety Conference in Washington DC.

And the winner is...

It was another tough month to decide, with a wide array of projects and ideas crossing many industries and spaces.

But at the end of the day, AF-Calgary's January 2012 no-strings-attached $1,000 winner was Projection Bombing by Tyler Longmire. Tyler hopes to start construction of his device right away to be debuted in the spring.

Special thanks to UBU Lounge for allowing us to host our event at their venue. Thursday nights are half-price sushi and Sapporo beer nights at UBU, which a) you should definitely check out, and b) many people partook after the night's festivities.

Kudos to everyone who submitted (or re-submitted!) an idea or project for consideration this month, and congratulations to all of January's Top4 Finalists and Honourable Mentions!

And a BIG Thank You to our Awesome Support Team for January: Elissa Lynn with photography duties, and Sarah Pynoo, Kelsie Fraser, Tara Prudhomme, Danelle Wettstein and Jenn Dunwoody with the Twitter work for the night.

Congratulations, Tyler!

February's Thousand Dollar Thursday will be held on Thursday, February 23 at AcceleratorYYC in Inglewood, right before GrowLab. As such, in order to help accommodate GrowLab, we'll be starting a bit earlier this time around, 5:30 p.m. rather than 6 p.m.

We're still accepting submissions for the February 2012 prize. The deadline is Friday, February 10 at 11:59 p.m. To apply, fill out this handy-dandy web form!

Thanks to everyone who joined us back in January, and we hope to see you again this month at AcceleratorYYC!

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