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University engineering students tackle real-world needs with game-changing ideas

TI Innovation Challenge showcases students using tech to change the world

Jul 20, 2016

DALLAS, July 20, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- With a growing demand for problem-solving technology, the pressure is on for engineering students to be industry-ready upon graduation. To aid in student readiness, Texas Instruments (TI) (NASDAQ:TXN) hosted the TI Innovation Challenge Design Contest in North America, in partnership with Mouser Electronics, where future engineers were tasked with using TI technology to create solutions tackling challenges faced by our world today.

Future engineers were recognized in the 2016 TI Innovation Challenge North America Design Contest for projects that tackle real-world needs.

"TI continually seeks ways to bring theoretical science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects to life for students. One of the many ways we do this is by hosting the TI Innovation Challenge to give students practical engineering design experience," said Peter Balyta, Ph.D., president of TI Education Technology. "When students marry engineering education with hands-on creativity, they have the potential to turn their innovative prototypes into the next big technology that will change the world."

Of the nearly 180 teams entering technology solutions, three final teams were recognized at the annual award ceremony on July 19 in the TI Engineering and Innovation Hall at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas. Their inventions addressed problems in the medical, space and health and wellness industries. After a day of touring a TI manufacturing facility and innovation center, the students presented their projects to TI business leaders and contest judges, with the winning project being out of this world—literally.

  1. First place: Dakotah Karrer, Vince Rodriguez, David Smith and Trent Tate from Texas A&M University took the expression "shooting for the stars" to a new level when they were named the overall winners for their project, TSat RF Satellite Communication. The students worked with Texas Space, Technology, Applications and Research (T-STAR) to create a prototype of a space communication system, which will be used to conduct low-Earth orbit research, a crucial need for growing space exploration efforts.

    The critical long-range wireless communication for the satellite is provided by TI's Sub-1 GHz CC1120 RF transceiver with the CC1190 RF front-end amplifier which provides reliable communication and data from the T-STAR satellite to an Earth station.

  2. Second place: Awarded to Texas A&M students David Cuevas, Nathan Glaser, Joe Loredo and Rafael Salas for their Powered, Programmable Elbow Orthosis. The brace-like device uses a TI ultra-low-power MSP432™ microcontroller (MCU) to stabilize, limit and assist elbow movements to restore upper arm functionality to users suffering from a range of injuries or disorders which weaken muscles and muscular activity.

  3. Third place: Matthew Bries and Nagaraj Hegde from the University of Alabama brought home this distinction for SmartStep a device that uses a TI Bluetooth® low energy CC2540 wireless MCU to wirelessly monitor a user's activity through the insole of their shoes, which is displayed to the user through a smartphone app the team developed. The SmartStep is 99 percent accurate in detecting when a user is sitting or standing, two activities that are difficult for many commercially-available activity trackers to distinguish.

Winning projects are selected for their use of engineering practices and are judged on industry-ready standards, such as quality of the design and written documentation and effective use of TI technology. Cash prizes were awarded to the top three winners to help further the development of their design or to go toward academic pursuits: $10,000 for first place, $7,500 for second place, $5,000 for third place and $1,000 for categorical prize winners.

Congratulations to teams who placed in the category prizes:

Learn more about the TI University Program and the TI Innovation Challenge at www.ti.com/university.

About Texas Instruments
Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) is a global semiconductor design and manufacturing company that develops analog ICs and embedded processors. By employing the world's brightest minds, TI creates innovations that shape the future of technology. TI is helping more than 100,000 customers transform the future, today. Learn more at www.ti.com.

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SOURCE Texas Instruments