Langley students TJ Li and Olivia Xu are members of a team who developed a tooth-based appliance to monitor eating habits. It won top prize in the Young Entrepreneur Leadership Launchpad (YELL) program. Contributed photo

Langley students put some teeth into monitoring eating habits

Participants in young entrepreneur course win top prize for their idea

A tooth sensor to track eating habits was a winning idea for a group of Langley students.

Olivia Xu, Casey Hsu, Emma Lee, T.J. Li and Adria Matthews won top prize in the May ‘outstanding idea’ pitch competition of the Young Entrepreneur Leadership Launchpad (YELL) program.

They came up with an idea for a nutritional tracker, “Sensamon,” that monitors the intake of sugar, carbs, and salt, as well as biting pressure.

A retainer that fits on back molars, the tracker has a chip in it that sends the information to an app.

Xu, Hsu, Lee and Li are R.E. Mountain students.

Matthews attends the Langley Education Centre full-time.

They won a scholarship prize and $500 for their charity of choice, the non-profit Weekend Fuelbag that provides meals to students.

“SensaMon” was chosen for the name as a combination of “sensor” and “monitor,” inspired by the Pokemon game, explained Xu.

READ MORE: Langley students get an education in entrepreneurship

Casey Hsu said the application “can help solve global health concerns related to eating habits.”

Adria Matthews said the program was a “great learning experience ” that she would highly recommend.

All of the students praised their mentor, Brad Kiendl from Ashdown Capital.

YELL is a year-long high school course and program for students to learn about and discover local and global societal needs and come up with entrepreneurial solutions.

This year, YELL will run on Wednesdays, starting mid-late September.

The class is open to current Langley students as well as those from other schools and districts who will be in Grades 10-12 for the school year.

Participants attend their own school during the day and YELL one day a week after school.

Local entrepreneurs regularly present in classes and students are matched with an outside mentor while also having opportunities for field trips and other events.

Dawne Tomlinson, Director of Instruction for the Langley School District, said the program provides “authentic learning experiences” to hone the skills they will need to be successful in a rapidly changing world.

YELL teacher Alyssa Shore said watching the students grow was inspiring.

“[They went] from barely knowing each other to working together through challenges, learning from their mentor and other professionals to improve week over week,” Shore said.

The course culminates with a province-wide Venture Challenge at the end of the year where groups present their ideas to entrepreneurs and investors.

The Langley student did not win at the challenge, but when they were given the opportunity to pitch again at the I.D.E.A. Summit, they emerged winners.

To apply, and for more information about the program, download the forms at https://lec.sd35.bc.ca/programs-courses/yell/.

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