Innovation Challenge #1 Letter to Developers

Dear Developer Community,

I am delighted to share the news and highlights of our first Epson Innovation Challenge that took place from April 13-20, 2023. We are also announcing our second Epson Innovation Challenge, scheduled for July 12-20, 2023. We invite all developers to apply for this exciting opportunity and submit your application by July 5, 2023.

The Epson Innovation Challenge was a one-week “hackathon” style hybrid event for US-based companies.  We aim to provide an attractive ecosystem for innovative partners like you to develop new solutions and user experiences using Epson’s print and scan products.  Logistics and facilities were provided by Foundry415, and held in San Francisco, California.  This challenge focused on assistive print and scan use cases using Epson hardware and the cloud-based Epson Connect™ API.

Eight exceptional teams participated; developing their Minimum Viable Product (MVP) demos using Epson EcoTank printers and the Epson Connect™ API. Insightful workshops were conducted by the Foundry 415 team, covering topics such as rapid design and launching experiments, and creating effective project pitch presentations. Epson’s Digital Innovation team mentors also provided guidance and support to ensure seamless integration with the Epson Connect™ API.

The culmination of the challenge was the Demo Day held on April 20th, 2023. It was a hybrid event at Galvanize in San Francisco, where team members pitched solutions. Sandra Miller, CEO of Foundry 415 Innovation Group, moderated the demo pitches. We received live feedback from a distinguished Silicon Valley jury, including representatives from NTT Ltd., Toyota Research Institute, Marubeni Ventures Inc., and Epson’s top management.

The jury members were highly impressed with the originality and quality of the submissions from the participating teams. They are excited to witness how these solutions will further evolve and contribute to driving positive change in our communities. It was heartening to observe their enthusiasm for exploring new fields and considering how printers and scanners can be used in our society, especially concerning assistive technology.

I am thrilled to announce the winners of the Epson Innovation Challenge #1:

1st Place

Voiceitt – They develop speech recognition software to offer voice accessibility systems for individuals with non-standard speech. Their MVP idea focused on voice-enabled printing for users with non-standard speech through the Voiceitt mobile application. Integrating the Epson Connect API with the mobile app enables voice-enabled printing and scanning for people with speech and motor disabilities.

2nd Place

Fly Parrots – This team designs smart devices to assist people with neurodegenerative and neurological disorders. Their MVP idea involved printing medical reports directly from doctors through a telemedicine interface, leveraging an AI-based assistive robot and integrating it with the Epson Connect API.

3rd Place

Key2Enable – This start-up develops a head movement navigation device to enable those with no movement neck down to operate and navigate a personal computer, tablet, or smart.  Their MVP idea aimed to provide a more inclusive and accessible printing experience for individuals with disabilities. They adapted their head movement navigation device to allow users to navigate the printer’s display without using their hands, enabling greater independence and control.

We extend our sincere congratulations to these teams for their outstanding achievements. Each of the top three winning teams received an Epson EF12 projector and cash prizes based on rank.

The Epson Innovation Challenge #1 was a great success, thanks to the hard work, dedication, and innovative ideas brought forth by all participants. We believe that programs like the Epson Innovation Challenge foster effective collaboration between global organizations and startups, allowing Epson to achieve its purpose of enriching lives and helping to create a better world.

We are excited to announce the Epson Innovation Challenge #2, scheduled for July 12-20, 2023. Applications are now open on the Epson Innovation Challenge webpage through July 5, 2023. This is another fantastic opportunity for creative developers and teams to showcase their skills and develop innovative solutions to real-world challenges.

Best regards,

Jack Rieger

Director, Digital Innovation

Epson America, Inc.