Philosophy student’s innovative idea wins top prize at business competition

Thursday, November 4, 2021
3 students presenting on a stage

Nathaniel Hunt '21 (center) presenting in the Final Championship Round of the Holloway Prize Competition, with Joey Neleber ’22 (left) and Brayden Esmaili ’23 (right)

Philosophy major and lacrosse player Nathaniel Hunt ’21 had an idea about four years ago: what if you could put a small device in the end of a lacrosse stick that would track diagnostic information, like the speed of a shot, the angle of a release and the number of reps completed during practice or play sessions. It would help lacrosse players improve their game and help coaches know what to focus on. Now that idea has become a budding reality.

Hunt took advantage of UNH’s E-Center to start developing his idea. There, he teamed up with College of Engineering and Physical Sciences collaborators Brayden Esmaili ’23 and Joey Neleber ’22. An E-Center seed grant allowed them to conceptualize the technology that they now call SPAITR™. They took their product idea to a national competition, e-Fest, where they were selected as a top 25 finalist and won a people’s choice award. Then, earlier this year, they brought it to Paul College’s annual Holloway Prize Competition, which recognizes students who conceptualize, develop and pitch the most compelling proposals to bring a product to market. There, they won first place and $15,000 to further develop their product.

Today, Hunt and the SPAITR™ team are working on building a prototype of their product and have lacrosse teams who are interested in using it.

Before he connected with the E-Center, Hunt said he had “no interest in being involved with business after college. In fact, I said it was something I would never do.” But now he’s excited to continue with SPAITR and to see where it goes.

Hunt is in the ethics and social responsibility option within the philosophy major. As he grows his product and enters the business world, his philosophy study will provide critical analytical and communication skills as well as the tools to understand the ethics of markets and money, and the implications of emerging technologies.