STUDENT NEWS: Competition winners
ECE coordinates inaugural Qualcomm wireless competition
he ECE department was significantly involved in launching a new UW-Madison student innovation competition. The inaugural Qualcomm Wireless Innovation Prize, sponsored by the San Diego, California-based mobile technology company, was held April 28, 2011, and rewarded students who presented creative wireless technology products and well-developed business plans to make those products profitable.
“Every day we hear of one more idea that has really taken off, such as Facebook, Groupon, etc. This competition offers our students an opportunity to show their creativity in this area and encourages interdisciplinary teams to not only innovate on the technology front but also think about the business potential of their idea,” says Professor Parameswaran Ramanathan, who co-coordinated the competition with Duane H. and Dorothy M. Bluemke Professor and Chair John Booske.
ECE undergraduate student Tim McGowan (pictured, left) was one of the participants. He and and engineering physics student David Michaels invented Obsedis Technologies, an RFID-based theft-deterrent system designed for student dormitories.
Scrap metal wind turbine wins at Wiscontrepreneur
hD students Justin Reed andDan Ludois (pictured, left to right) participated in the 2011 Wiscontrepreneur 100-Hour Challenge, sponsored by the UW-Madison Office of Corporate Relations. The pair won $300 and the award for “most social value” by building a wind turbine from scrap materials at UW SWAP, including a film reel and plastic syringes. Ludois and Reed have entered several innovation competitions at UW-Madison, and this was their last chance to participate before both graduated in spring 2011.
“This was a cool competition—you get to make something out of nothing,” says Reed.
For Ludois, Wiscontrepreneur was simply about having fun. “It was a chance to show off our creative spirit,” he says.
ECE undergrad wins top prize in 2011 Innovation Days competition
ndergraduate student Ray Uhen won first place and $2,500 in the Tong Prototype Prize, one of a pair of competitions that make up Innovation Days, an event that rewards UW-Madison students for innovative and marketable ideas.
Uhen invented Plane Balance, a slim flight-training tool that sits on top of the instrument panel and helps pilots monitor small aircraft coordination, or balance, via a system of color-coded LED lights.
A pilot himself since age 16, Uhen says developing a feel for coordinated flight is among the most difficult tasks for students. Plane Balance will be easier for students to see and interpret than the current small level often located in a far corner of the instrument panel. Maintaining coordination is especially key during turns, where stalling can occur if the wings are off balance.
Uhen also won fourth place and $1,000 in the Schoofs Prize for Creativity, the second major Innovation Days competition.
ECE student wins top prize in Climate Leadership Challenge
Undergraduate student Matthew Kirk is part of a team that claimed the top prize in the 2011 UW-Madison Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies Climate Leadership Challenge. Kirk’s team, which won $50,000 and a one-year lease in the University Research Park Metro Innovation Center, developed a novel way to produce hydrogen from plant sugars in agricultural waste. Additionally, ECE undergraduate student Parikshith Lingampally is on a finalist team that developed a self-sustaining water purification system and won $2,000. Read more at www.news.wisc.edu/1931.