Last week we had the chance to go beyond the limits of Silicon Valley, off the Bay Area grid, and into Chico, California. Yep, there’s tech happening in Chico, a lot of it, and it’s innovative, interesting, and useful. The Sierra Nevada Innovation Challenge was last Thursday, and we got to pick out companies that would probably never get a second glance at any other demo day. All five of the companies we profiled are amazing.

There was Aqua Cents, a company trying to decrease the amount of water wasted through water absorbing polymers. Then we saw EASE seating system, which has created a cushion that changes shape every three minutes preventing pressure sores. Trevair is a combination scooter wheel chair that doubles as a manual wheelchair and power chair, and Build-a-Blade is an energy saving custom blade server. Finally, SIGNa Chemistry has created a mobile H2 cartridge that can be paired with fuel cells to power mobile electronics.