UF engineering students take home top award and third-place prize at Texas Instruments Innovation Challenge

Published: July 29 2015

Category:Awards & Honors, Engineering, InsideUF

Troy Bryant and Sean Lyons from the University of Florida meshed music and technology to claim the top overall prize at the annual TI Innovation Challenge North America Design Contest. UF's Jordan Street from was awarded third place.

The winning entry, "Seven Deadly Synths: a non-contact synthesizer," was inspired by the early analog synthesizers of the 1960s and 70s. The team set out to create a musical device that could be operated without advanced motor skills. Featuring a complete design based on TI technology, Bryant and Lyons created a synthesizer instrument that can be used by musicians of all skill levels. The device specifically allows disabled musicians to create sounds using simple movements, like the wave of a hand. The synthesizer features 35 Texas Instruments components in its build design, including a real-time microcontroller, eight power management solutions and 26 signal chain products.

Another Gator, Jordan Street won the third-place prize, for his Hercules Autopilot, a full-flight control system designed for quadrotor unmanned aerial vehicles. These autonomously flying vehicles allow for significant tasks to be performed with precision in hazardous environments such as search and rescue missions, monitoring for extreme weather conditions and security applications.

A team from the University of Texas at Dallas finished second for their Real-time American Sign Language wearable device. Using a wrist-worn inertial sensor and surface electromyography sensors, the device wirelessly translates sign language to a computer for those who do not know the language.

University electrical engineering design projects from across North America provided a glimpse into the future were showcased at the annual design contest. During the 2014-15 school year, 300 teams from accredited engineering colleges and universities across the United States, Canada and Mexico participated in the TI Innovation Challenge.

“Students are boundless in their creativity because they see the world through a lens of limitless possibilities,” said Steve Lyle, director, engineering workforce development and university marketing for TI. “The entire focus of the TI Innovation Challenge is to empower engineering students to think through design challenges and to come up with creative solutions that address issues people face today. The winning teams this year represent an impressive array of both problem-solving and diversity of thought, and TI is proud to have the opportunity to work with these young engineering minds.”

Winning projects are selected for their use of engineering practices and are judged on criteria such as originality and creativity of the application, complexity and quality of the design and effective use of TI technology. Cash prizes were awarded to the top three winners: $10,000 for first place, $7,500 for second place, $5,000 for third place and $2,000 for categorical prize winners. 

Teams who placed in the category prizes were:

Best video demonstration: Boston University – Smart Grid Test Facility
Best environmental impact: University of Michigan – Power Blade
Best use of TI portfolio: University of Toronto – Sustainable Wireless Anti-theft Device
Best use of TI wireless technology: Rice University – Sith Putter

The 2016 North American TI Innovation Challenge Design Contest will open in September to eligible contestants in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Visit www.ti.com/tiic-na for more details. To learn more about the TI University Program, please visit www.ti.com/university.

Texas Instruments Incorporated is a global semiconductor design and manufacturing company that develops analog ICs and embedded processors.


Writer: Paul Bernard
Source: Helen Goh, hgoh@eng.ufl.edu, 352-392-0984

Category:Awards & Honors, Engineering, InsideUF