The Foxconn Smart Cities—Smart Futures competition awards banquet was held at MSOE April 25 and the final round winners were announced. Of the 30 finalists, 12 were named winners, including Dr. Jeffrey Blessing, a professor in MSOE’s Rader School of Business. 

Winners received a $5,000 cash prize and the opportunity for Foxconn to invest in their idea. Blessing proposed a way to create cyber-secure smart cities by using AI technologies to develop, prototype and build cybersecurity devices, processors and networks that are immune to malware.   

Blessing’s proposal also was chosen as a finalist in the Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest.   “Essentially, it’s an Internet of Things (IoT) device that uses deep learning to learn the communication behavior of malware in order to identify and defeat it,” said Blessing. “The resulting product could be realized in hardware (a physical device, or embedded device in a router) or software (a security module).”   

“There are established companies that sell network security equipment. However, none of them sell intelligent devices that use machine learning as I’ve proposed,” Blessing continued. “Now is an opportune time to bring established machine learning techniques from the world of artificial intelligence into cybersecurity.” 

For the final round, competitors submitted a 1,500-word essay and a five-minute video. The competition incentivizes the development of new technologies aimed at developing smart and connected cities.