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UH Competition Winner’s Project May Help Rail Construction

May 9, 2021, 3:37 PM HST
* Updated May 9, 9:41 AM
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University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa student-led project that may help to expedite the completion of the Honolulu rail project earned a prize package totaling more than $33,000. New startup company Pulse Utility won the UH Venture Competition (UHVC), hosted by the Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship (PACE) in the Shidler College of Business.

Led by Craig Opie, a UH Mānoa information and computer sciences undergraduate student, Pulse Utility aims to assist the rail project with locating underground utilities along the rail line, a job that has added major costs and time to the project. Pulse Utility uses ground penetrating radar, a safe and non-invasive technology, to locate all buried infrastructure. Opie said the team plans to finish its data collection and present its solution to the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation with the goal for a potential contract.

“This entire competition has been a lot of work and dedication by all of our team members, and it feels amazing to know that our hard work has paid off,” Opie said. “We are excited to provide our solution, which reduces time and money in the search and permitting process for buried utilities.”

Pulse Utility was one of three finalists which presented to a group of judges at the venture competition’s final virtual event on May 5. View the event on PACE’s YouTube channel. Pulse Utility’s prize package includes $10,000 from American Savings Bank, professional services by Vantage Counsel LLC, Pineapple Tweed, Blue Logic Labs and Business Consulting Resources, and coworking space at The Hub Coworking Hawaii.

Pulse Utility’s team includes Opie, Yosef Ben Gershom, a UH Mānoa Hawaiʻi Space Flight Laboratory mechanical engineer and UH Mānoa executive MBA student; Anthony Lopez, a UH Mānoa electrical engineering student; Josh O’Neill, a Honolulu Community College computing, security, and networking technology student; and Isaac Rodrigues, co-owner of Death Star Development, LLC and a senior-level electrical engineer. Pulse Utility also won the spring 2021 Innovation Impact Challenge hosted by the UH Office of Innovation and Commerc ialization (OIC), receiving $15,000 in funding from OIC and Hawaiian Telcom.

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