Winners of 2016 Illinois Innovation Prize Announced

Category : Recognition & Awards
Posted on: April 29, 2016

URBANA – The Technology Entrepreneur Center (TEC) has announced the Aadeel Akhtar as the winner of the 2016 Illinois Innovation Prize, a $20,000 award given to a University of Illinois student who has demonstated exceptional entrepreneurial skills within the tech field, and who is looked up to as a role model by his or her fellow students. Matt Alonso and Mayank Kale were also announced as the co-runners up of the prize. Nominations were submitted by the students’ mentors, professors, or a faculty member on the basis of the nominees’ passion for innovation and work in technology.

Aadeel is a Neuroscience Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Illinois, currently enrolled in the College of Medicine. He is also the CEO and Co-founder of PSYONIC, a startup developing highly advanced, low-cost prosthetic hands – the first with sensory feedback — to those who need them around the world. PSYONIC was awarded 1st place in the 2015 Cozad New Venture Competition before participating in the iVenture Accelerator the following summer. PSYONIC is currently an affiliate of the EnterpriseWorks startup incubator, located within the University of Illinois Research Park.

Aadeel discovered his passion for helping amputees during a trip to Pakistan in the summer of 1994, when he met a girl his age missing her right leg, relying on a tree branch for a crutch. Aadeel was astonished to see how two people with the same ethnic background could have such vastly different qualities of life. Following this experience, he resolved to help amputees around the world, like the girl he met in Pakistan as a child, improve their quality of life.

If you wish to learn more about PSYONIC’s mission, visit the company’s website.

You can read the full announcement from the TEC here.