Texas A&M Engineering teams take top two spots at 2016 Texas Instruments Innovation Challenge Design Contest

TI Challenge

A pair of teams from Texas A&M University’s College of Engineering took the top two spots at the 2016 Texas Instruments (TI) Innovation Challenge Design Contest in North America. 

DVDT, a team comprised of Dakotah Karrer, Vince Rodriguez, David Smith and Trent Tate from the Department of Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution’s Electronic Systems Engineering Technology (ESET) program, took first place with its project, TSat RF Satellite Communication.

The team of David Cuevas, Nathan Glaser, Joe Loredo and Rafael Salas from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, won second place for its project, Powered, Programmable Elbow Orthosis.

DVDT 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 that provides reliable communication and data from the T-STAR satellite to an Earth station.

Cuevas, Glaser, Loredo and Salas created a brace-like device that 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.

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, TI hosted the contest where future engineers were tasked with using TI technology to create solutions tackling challenges faced by our world today.

“TI continually seeks ways to bring theoretical science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects to life for students,” said Peter Balyta, Ph.D., president of TI Education Technology. “One of the many ways we do this is by hosting the TI Innovation Challenge to give students practical engineering design experience. 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.