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BIG Pitch Collegiate Competition awards $10,000 to innovative MIT team

College of Business Dean Allen Amason, Ph.D. with the winning team of the 2017 BIG Pitch Competition.

Pipeguard Robotics, a student-led innovative solution by a team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), was named the winner of the BIG Pitch competition, sponsored by the Georgia Southern College of Business and the Business Innovation Group (BIG).

The MIT team won the $10,000 award for its sustainable solution that will detect leaks inside pipes. The soft body robot uses innovations in sensor membranes and the soft body drone to find leaks long before they become catastrophic, with the objective of reducing the amount of clean water lost to leaks daily.  

“It’s an elegant and practical solution to a vexing and widespread problem,” said Allen C. Amason, Ph.D., dean of the College of Business at Georgia Southern University. “I salute Pipeguard Robotics for their innovation and their hard work; they are going to save their clients a lot of fresh water, as well as a lot of money. I also salute the Ocean Exchange and all the participants in this year’s event. We are happy to be involved.”  

In addition to the winning grant recipient, seven additional collegiate innovators presented sustainable solutions to a distinguished group of conference guests representing business and industry, entrepreneurs, academia, government and non-governmental organizations. Schools represented in the finalist round were from Arizona State, Columbia, Cornell, MIT, Oregon State, Rutgers and University of Texas-Austin with solutions for precision agriculture, risk management for hydrology, waste heat to energy, water conservation in power generation, wind energy and energy storage.

About Ocean Exchange

Each year, the Ocean Exchange seeks innovative, proactive and globally scalable sustainable solutions with working prototypes and applications that can cross industries, economies and cultures, in a competitive process in which two $100,000 and one $10,000 awards are granted to early stage companies.

About Georgia Southern University Business Innovation Group

The Business Innovation Group (BIG) at Georgia Southern University, located in downtown Statesboro, Georgia, is the business outreach arm of the University, committed to developing a vibrant entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem for the Southeast region. BIG provides resources for students and entrepreneurs to gain skills and training necessary to understand business principles, experience how businesses operate, and successfully launch new enterprises.

Georgia Southern University, a public Carnegie Doctoral/Research University founded in 1906, offers 118 degree programs serving 20,673 students. Through eight colleges, the University offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs built on more than a century of academic achievement. Georgia Southern is recognized for its student-centered and hands-on approach to education. Visit



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