Texas A&M team wins TI Innovation Challenge

29th July 2016
Mick Elliott

The winners of the Texas Instruments Innovation Challenge North America Design Contest have been announced by Mouser Electronics. Top honours went to a team from Texas A&M University. Mouser is the exclusive sponsor of the contest, which encourages engineering students to invent real-world solutions by submitting design projects that use TI technology.

Nearly 180 teams from accredited engineering colleges and universities across the United States, Canada and Mexico participated in the challenge, and the winning designs addressed problems in the medical, space and health and wellness industries.

Entries were judged on five criteria: originality and creativity of design, real world application, level of engineering analysis, usage of TI ICs and processors and working demonstration of design in a video.

The first-place team, made up of Dakotah Karrer, Vince Rodriguez, David Smith and Trent Tate from Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, took the expression “shooting for the stars” to a new level with their project, RF Satellite Communication system that integrates TI’s Sub-1 GHz CC1120 radio frequency (RF) transceiver with theCC1190 RF front-end amplifiertechnology.

The students worked with Texas Space, Technology, Applications and Research (T STAR) to create a prototype of a space communication system that will be used to conduct low-Earth orbit research, a crucial need for space exploration efforts.

Second place was awarded to David Cuevas, Nathan Glaser, Joe Loredo and Rafael Salas, another Texas A&M team, for their Powered Programmable Elbow Orthosis. The brace-like device uses aTI ultra-low-power MSP432 microcontrollerto restore upper arm functionality to users suffering from a range of injuries or disorders that weaken muscles and muscular activity. Matthew Bries and Nagaraj Hegde of the University of Alabama took third place with SmartStep, a device that uses a TI Bluetooth low energyCC2540 wireless microcontroller to monitor a person’s activity through the insoles of their shoes.

“Throughout its history, Mouser has been a strong supporter of education and innovation,” said Kevin Hess, Mouser Electronics’ Senior Vice President of Marketing. “We are proud once again to have played a part in this contest and we congratulate all of the winners.”

The top three teams were recognised at an awards ceremony in the TI Engineering and Innovation Hall at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas. Winning projects were selected for their use of engineering practices and were judged on industry-ready standards, such as quality of the design and written documentation and effective use of TI technology. The contest awarded cash prizes of $10,000 for first place, $7,500 for second place, $5,000 for third place and $1,000 for categorical prize winners.

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