Emerging Tech Weekender: Teenage team win with Brush!

A technology venture called Brush! which enables a toothbrush to tell parents whether their children are brushing their teeth has won Best Commercial Potential and Audience Selection at Emerging Tech Weekender 2014.  Team Brush! is the brainchild of 13 year old Joana Baptista; her team, aged between 11 and 20, contained the only children competing at the event.

Joana Baptista of Team Brush! says: 

“I literally thought about the idea a few days ago while brushing my teeth. Taking part was scary at first but the weekend has turned out really great.  We never thought we would win - it’s very exciting!”

Winner of Best Use of Technology is SenceSpace, which uses mobile phones to enable multi-player outdoor games, making it ideal for events, team building exercises and schools.

Monika Roozen of SenceSpace also runs the award-winning blog Mumonthebrink.  She says: 

“For me, this weekend was a great example of how bringing people together with different skills and backgrounds can help an idea flourish into the beginnings of a product. We are very excited about how SenceSpace has the potential to draw more people outdoors and revolutionise outdoor play. I'm especially enthusiastic about the potential for enhancing my own children's life and health with SenceSpace games.”

Team Brush! are Oxford High School student Joana Baptista, aged 13, Cherwell School (Oxford) student Tyriah Allison, aged 11, and Oxford Brookes University students Seren Davies, 19 and Andrew Hayzen, 20. 

Brush! sends information to parents and students about whether and how often children are brushing their teeth.  It adds in challenges and different levels for children to share and compete with their friends.  There are capabilities to send gifts and messages from parents as rewards for successful brushing.

SenceSpace has enormous potential for getting young people to be more active outside by creating a platform for addictive physical games.  Its abilities to ‘ring fence’ games in enclosed networks makes it ideal for schools and gamers.

Over the weekend five teams of technology innovators have turned their ideas into ventures with real world potential for commercial or social enterprise ventures, all in just three days. Teams were helped by tech experts and business gurus, then pitched their ideas to a panel of judges.

Dave Fletcher, co-organiser of Emerging Tech Weekender, says:

"This has been one of the most exciting events for tech startups I have seen.  We began on Friday night with a bunch of simply great ideas and have watched them develop into viable business pitches, all in just three days. 

Nigel Crook added on behalf of the judging panel:  “We were amazed at the quality of work throughout the weekend and the most difficult part was making a choice."

The five teams are:

TeamBrush! - Make sure children are brushing their teeth with a toothbrush that sends messages on how often and how long.  Built-in incentives include levels, rewards, social media sharing and messaging.

SenceSpace - Live action real time gaming for events, schools and team building.

Crowd Lighter - Audience participation gaming platform for live events, enabling brands to run competitions, engage crowds with synchronised audio and visual through their mobiles.

Q Control - Reduce queues with dynamic pricing: an application which addresses lengthy queues, for example across different outlets such as coffee shops, by changing prices in response ro demand.

FindMe - Help to find missing persons using facial recognition.

Over the weekend the teams had support from technology mentors Ben Foxall who provided code and mentoring for teams working with real-time browser connections; Ben Ward with advice on internet of things; and Tom Nickson who gave encouragement for teams working with mesh networking.

Business mentors Placi Espejo, Jonathan Gittos, Mark Evans, Tony Hart and Dave Fletcher ran workshops and gave advice on pitching, developing business plans, and preparing ideas for commercialisation.

Judges were Nigel Crook, Head of Computing and Communication Technologies at Oxford Brookes University where he is leading research in cognitive robotics, Julian Jantke, a co-founder of technology startups, and Tony Hart, Network Navigator for Digital, Media, & Publishing for Oxfordshire LEP.

Emerging Tech Weekender was supported by Oxford Brookes University, Oxfordshire LEP, Oxfordshire Business Support, Science & Technology Facilities Council, White October and Digital Oxford. 


•  Emerging Tech Weekender
•  Oxford Brookes
•  Digital Oxford is a committee that promotes and supports Oxfordshire as a centre of digital talent, ideas and opportunities.
•  White October is an award-winning Oxford-based digital agency.
•  Oxfordshire LEP
•  Science & technology Facilities Council
•  Mumonthebrink

Email Karen David - karen@spriggsdavid.co.uk  or mobile 07989 439291 - for more info and images