October 2016

Aggies Invent teaser image
Are you competitive, nerdy, and love to tinker?

Do you like free food and sleep deprivation?

Are you interested in winning prizes, and possibly making a startup company?
Well look no further, the Aggies Invent competition does not disappoint. It is a 48-hour long competition where students of various backgrounds work together to come up with a prototype to solve a problem. You will have access to all the resources at the Engineering Innovation Center (EIC) --- which is pretty much an engineer’s candy-shop; it is loaded with 3D printers, machining tools, electrical tools, motors, sensors, and so much more --- Oh, and you will have access to some incredible mentors! At the end of the competition you and your team will be given a chance to present your concept and its marketability to a panel of judges from industry, academia, or consulting firms. A first, second, and third prize will then be handed out in the form of $1000, $700, and $500 dollars, respectively.
This past weekend I participated in the Aggies Invent: Internet of Things competition sponsored by Texas Instruments and Accenture. The Internet of Things (IoT) is technology that allows devices to communicate to each other remotely. IoT is making technology “smart”. An example of IoT is the Nest thermostat Google made, which knows when you are home and when you are not, what temperature you like at certain parts of the day, and tracks how much energy you use.
Students at this Aggies Invent competition were freshman engineering students to graduate students, like myself. My team had a freshman and two sophomores. There was even a team from Texas A&M Corpus Christi. There were 15 problem statements provided to us and teams formed to solve ~7 of these problems. My team attempted to create a “Friend of the Future” to help children with social and mental health disorders improve their mood while allowing their parents to monitor the mental health. Unfortunately we did not make the cut, but we learned a lot about animatronics, audio processing, and machine-learning to classify emotions.
The teams who won created
  1. LED billboards that can update with targeted ads instantaneously, and had a surge-pricing business model (like Uber – who charges 6x normal rates at 2AM).
  2. A washing-machine widget that you can easily slap onto a washing machine that monitors when your load is finished and notifies you. It may also have potential to monitor the machines performance and enable the manufacture to do pre-emptive servicing.
  3. A soil performance device you stake into your garden or field that allows for constant monitoring and notifies you when you should water.
The next Aggies Invent competition will be Medical Applications. Registration is now open now until November 21st. You can register at https://engineering.tamu.edu/aggiesinvent.

Adam Orendain | Biomedical Engineering

Adam Orendain is a doctoral student in Biomedical Engineering.

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