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The first GIX graduation class. (Photos by Tara Brown/University of Washington)

The latest milestone for the Global Innovation Exchange (GIX) came Sunday as the U.S.-China tech institute celebrated the graduation of its first cohort of 37 students.

GIX is a partnership between the University of Washington in Seattle; Tsinghua University in Beijing; and Microsoft, which put $40 million toward the first-of-its-kind graduate school designed to train students in entrepreneurship and encourage new ideas around real-world challenges.

GIX opened last year at a brand new 100,000 square foot building in Bellevue, Wash. Students have an opportunity to study in both Bellevue and at Tsinghua while earning graduate degrees. Faculty includes top professors from both UW and Tsinghua.

Microsoft President Brad Smith speaks at the GIX graduation ceremony on Sunday.

Speakers at Sunday’s graduation included Microsoft President Brad Smith; UW President Ana Mari Cauce; Tsinghua University President QIU Yong; and GIX co-executive director Vikram Jandhyala.

The graduating students worked on projects in collaboration with industry partners. Here’s a look at each project, with descriptions from GIX:

1. AT&T

Project name: MAST

Students designed and developed a physical retail concept store and an Android phone app to create a more engaging and interactive in-store experience for AT&T customers. The students paired AR technology with user testing and research to propose an improved end-to-end, in-store user experience.

2. Baidu

Project name: CyberStorm

Students explored ways to identify and defend against cybersecurity adversarial attacks, with the broader goal to provide safe AI-driven services to the public. Specifically, they designed a new CAPTCHA solution that’s more effective in foiling bots and easier for humans to use.

3. Boeing

Project name: Quaternion

Students designed and developed a mobile app that improves the end-to-end user journey for air travelers. The app keeps passengers up to date with their flights by providing real-time flight status alerts, airport tips and in-airport navigation maps, and a flight profile with all the users’ flights logged. The app was designed specifically for Chinese airports, as they strive to cater to the increased number of travelers exiting and entering the country. However, it can be applied to other airports.

4. Microsoft: FarmBeats

Project name: CluckAI

Students developed an AI-driven solution that interprets chicken vocalizations and then notifies farmers when their chickens are in distress. The app is designed to help decrease the number of chicken deaths, especially amongst egg-laying hens which is now at 25%, by identifying threats to chicken health – including disease, predation, overcrowding, heat stress, theft, and bullying from other chickens – and alerting farmers in real time.

5. Microsoft: AI for Earth

Project name: Diversita

Students designed and developed a sophisticated and low-cost backyard camera trap that integrates machine learning (ML) on the Edge, connectivity, and cloud services to offer a real-time window into biodiversity. The device can capture and identify over 5,000 species and has built-in notification/alert features to inform the user in real time when species are spotted. After conversations with conservationists, ecologists, and wildlife researchers, the students determined the technology could potentially be applied to support new methods of conservation research and management, and to inform conservation policies.

6. T-Mobile

Project name: FlaminGO

Students designed and developed an augmented reality (AR) mobile game that explores and showcases the capabilities of the 5G network. By leveraging the high-speed, low-latency, and wide bandwidth features of 5G, students were able to implement an AR experience that integrates real-time and multi-player collaborations.

7. LANXUM (Chinese company)

Project name: SparkEd

Students designed and developed an educational game app that allows parents to personalize and remotely guide their child’s learning experience. It provides parents with the opportunity to customize the lessons and skills they teach their children, relative to their own values and beliefs. The game incorporates AI capabilities like image processing, voice interaction, and drawing recognition.

8. Regentsoft (Chinese Company)

Project name: Regentsoft

Students utilized machine learning algorithms to develop an automatic sales forecasting system for clothing retailers and manufacturers. Their solution strives to improve the efficiency and accuracy of clothing sales predictions, which are currently based primarily on the subjective experiences of sales experts.

9. Kico (Chinese company)

Project name: PlayerX

Students designed and developed a mobile app to help transplants connect with other foreigners and locals in the area. The number of Seattle newcomers has increased in the last eight years by 20%, and out of those, only 29% have felt welcomed by locals. With the goal to boost the sense of community in the Seattle area, and help people make new, lasting friendships, the app strategically connects people that frequent the same places, and engage in similar activities.

10. UbiRight (Student-initiated project)

Project name: UbiRight

UbiRight is an original content monetization platform that provides a tamper-proof blockchain timestamp for original written and visual content posted online. UbiRight strives to make copyright protection available to the masses. By providing access to copyright protection in a way that’s simple, free, and timely, UbiRight is demystifying and removing the barriers that currently exist in the process of pursuing legal copyright licensing.

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