Sri Lankan Innovator Among Top 12 In Contest Organized By Verizon.

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A drone that acts as a lifeguard? A Wi-Fi network that can be airdropped into a disaster area? Yes, these exist and they are not the only ones. Another product, EmergenSee transforms your smartphones into a portable security system that has the ability to stream live audio, video and location information to friends or first responders in times of need.

Among these seemingly new-fangled gadgets are 10 more start-up ideas that are all set to share a 6 million dollar prize pool courtesy of a contest organized by US-based wireless giant Verizon.Each of these startups is a winner from the “Powerful Answers” contest, and will each will receive a specific prize which are to be announced at an event scheduled to be held on the 9th of December 2015 in San Francisco.

So why are talking about a competition halfway across the world? Because in the Transportation category, we have Sri Lanka’s own iHelmet. That’s right. We have a finalist in the competition as well. A brainchild of Ganindu Nanayakkara who when not acting out his part as a software engineer is also an innovator.

Image taken from http://recode.net
Image taken from: from http://recode.net

We first saw iHelmet almost 2 years ago at Infotel 2013 where it was actually designed to be used by the military! Since then Ganindu has taken his idea a long way. Today, iHelmet is designed for anyone and everyone that rides a motorcycle. iHelmet combines a variety of sensors which are tuned to warn motorcycle riders of incoming threats.iHelmet offers features such as blind-spot assists, high-speed alerts, directions to parking spots, smart tail lights, and even an air quality sensor.

Other products in the category include Pogo, a ride-sharing service which enables parents to get trusted  rides; Swiftmile, an electric scooter maker and Israeli startup i4drive which transforms a smartphone from a distraction to an aid to drivers by using it to project real-time warnings and other information.

Being in its’ third year, Verizon stated that out almost 1,400 entries, nearly a quarter of them were from female-led startups and three of the 12 finalists were women-led ventures as well. Winners in each of the three categories will get $1 million and the runners-up will receive prizes of $500,000 and $250,000 respectively in each category.

As such, winning this competition is an incredible achievement for Ganindu. We wish him and the rest of the team behind iHelmet the best as they introduce Sri Lankan innovation that could potentially save thousands if not millions of lives, to the world.

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