Senior design project communicates success both on campus and abroad

Winning contestants and competition coordinators at the IET's Present Around The World Competition in Austin. From left: Prof. David Beer (UT), David Boyle (FIET), Jeff Jensen (Texas A&M), Prof. Gregory H. Huff (Texas A&M), Dr. Richard Hill, Kyle Fernald (UT) and Steve Mustard (FIET).Texas A&M electrical and computer engineering students Jeff Jensen, Ashar Rizqi and Tom Matthews have received several awards for their 2009-2010 senior design project, "Adaptive Antenna Systems."Their project focused on the blending of reconfigurable antenna technologies with software defined radio systems, and was jointly mentored by faculty members Gregory H. Huff from the Electromagnetics and Microwave Laboratory and Jean-Francois Chamberland from the Wireless Communication Laboratory.As part of their interdisciplinary project to create the framework for a cognitive radio system, Jensen, Rizqi and Matthews collaborated to build, program and assemble an adaptive wireless communication system that monitors its performance and alters its electromagnetic properties to adapt to changing environments. The team used optically controlled reconfigurable antennas and variable gain amplifiers to make physical changes to the system, which were controlled through an algorithm and displayed through a graphical user interface, or GUI, that also provides information about the wireless system.Huff described the project, saying "In a more practical sense, this team engaged the development of a wireless system that electronically does the head turning and wandering around that we sometimes catch ourselves doing when trying to find better cell phone reception - only it works much faster and requires no effort by the user since it is a cognitive, or autonomous, system."Jensen, Rizqi and Matthews received the first place award at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering senior design contest and first place in the TI Analog University Design Contest at Texas A&M, for which they split a $1,500 cash prize. All three will be attending graduate school in the fall - Matthews in communications at Georgia Tech, and Jensen in the controls area and Rizqi in electromagnetics area at Texas A&M.Off-campus, Jensen also was the runner-up at the Institute of Engineering and Technology's (IET)Present Around the World Competition in Austin for the South Central Region of the U.S. His presentation focused on programming contributions to the senior design project and the broader impact of adaptive antenna systems. Jensen will travel with competition winner Kyle Fernald, an undergraduate student at the University of Texas at Austin, who also received first place at UT's electrical and computer engineering senior design contest. They will compete in the IET Americas Regional Final, which takes place in September in Ottawa, Ontario (Canada).Both Jensen and Fernald received cash prizes and a one year student membership in the IET. Travel and accommodation expenses will be provided by the IET for the Americas Regional Final, where they will compete with students from other areas of the Americas, including Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, New England, Trinidad and Tobago. The winner of the Americas Regional Final will be invited to take part in the Global Final which takes place in November in London, UK at the IET's annual Innovation Awards ceremony where they could showcase their presentation skills along side competitors from Great Britain, Ireland, Asia Pacific, South Asia and Europe, Middle East and Africa.