Jonathan Massachi, a Bioengineering student, became one of three Grand Prize Winners of the FuturizeX 2016 Student Challenge at UCLA. On his road to win the $4,000 grand prize, Jonathan first competed with over 250 registrants to become one of six UCLA campus-wide finalists by making a video that described a serious problem and his proposal for solving it. His idea was Solar Turf, and was inspired by structures called villi and microvilli within the small intestine which resemble a field of grass. These structures are used to maximize the effective surface area within the intestine while keeping the intestines relatively small. His idea leverages the unique advantages of recently developed flexible solar technology by giving the solar cells a 3-D structure like microvilli or a field of grass to increase the total effective surface area, and thereby the efficiency of the panel. He presented this idea to a distinguished panel of judges on February 4, 2016 at the FuturizeX Student Challenge Awards Night, who selected him as a Grand Prize Winner.
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