How TI India Analog Design Contest is helping to
Fuel Innovation in Indian Universities - Part 1/3
Dr. C.P. Ravikumar and Sagar Juneja
On April 9th 2012, Vikram Sharma posted the following on his Facebook wall:
“I cannot believe that TI-INDIA-ADC-2011 is over!! I still feel like a processor in an infinite loop, looking for a brea statement!!! It has been three days, and even after the competition I feel that I am still in it!! Can’t believe that we won the 2nd Runner Up prize in a National-level contest! The effort of over one year that we had put in has culminated in a beautiful memory for the members of my team! We thank Texas Instruments (TI) India and BMS College of Engineering for their support and giving us an opportunity to showcase our idea.”
Vikram Sharma was a student contestant in the Texas Instruments India Analog Design Contest (2011). He was one among over 80 students who were present in the TI India campus on April 6th, 2012 to demonstrate their projects.
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What is TI India Analog Design Contest all about?
TI India, announced an “Analog Design Contest” in 2009 for students from Indian engineering colleges, with the aim to encourage system-level thinking among undergraduate students. Analog and mixed-signal integrated circuits, in association with embedded processors, can be used to build interesting applications that can be useful to the society. Since its inception, the contest has been attracting more teams each year – in 2011, TI received 313 nomiations from 78 colleges and shortlisted 156 teams from 41 colleges.
The contest is held in two phases. In the first phase, three or more teams belonging to the same college compete with each other. At the end of Phase 1, the teams submit their project reports, which are reviewed by an expert panel. The best teams are awarded prizes. In the second phase, the prize winning teams from different colleges compete for the prestigious Tom Engibous prize, which is named after the former Chairman and CEO of Texas Instruments.
Analog Design Challenge for the participants!
In the TI India Analog Design Contest 2011, we included an additional step, called Analog Design Challenge. All the 156 teams were given an analog design problem which they were expected to implement on the Analog System Lab Kit (ASLKv2010 Starter Kit launched in 2011 by Texas Instruments, India.) Most teams performed creditably in this part of the contest and gave positive reviews on the Analog System Lab Kit.
“Till now, we had designed the Astable multivibrator using 555 timer. But with the help of TI ASLKv2010 Starter Kit, it was very easy to implement the astable action. This methodology is easy to learn and understand. It was helpful,” said the team from College of Engineering Guindy, Anna University, Tamil Nadu that was given a design problem on astable multivibrator in the Analog Design Challenge category.
One of the teams from IIT Kharagpur felt that it was a great experience to work on ASLKv2010 Starter Kit. “Making interconnects on ASLK is much easier. The small breadboard provided as an integral part of the kit also helps in making small circuits like +10V regulator, etc. For a quick analog system design, it is a very good kit,” said a member of the team.
The First Phase of the Contest
After the completion of the Analog Design Challenge, the teams began work on their proposed project. It was mandatory for them to use a minimum of 3 analog ICs from TI. They were also permitted to use two analog ICs and an embedded processor platform, such as a microcontroller (MCU), a microprocessor (MPU), or a Digital Signal Processor (DSP) from TI. We provided them with the components, including development boards that may be helpful in the early stages of the project. The teams submitted an interim report in November 2011 and a final report in February 2012. Along with the final report, the teams also submitted YouTube videos of their projects. These videos are available on YouTube and are quite popular.
What were the experiences of the students when they were doing the projects? Every student team has acknowledged that the contest provided a great learning experience. Some of the key aspects of learning have been:
“The contest gave us enormous experience in designing and building practical circuits. While we learned many technical skills, such as MCU programming, low-power communication protocols and low-power design, we also learned how to document our project and present it effectively. The contest has helped us with non-technical skills, such as working with deadlines and working as a team in a cooperative mode,” said Pavan Shetty from NIT Surathkal.
“The TI India Analog Design Contest proved very beneficial to us, since it inspired us to think differently and come up with a technologically innovative idea that can be used for the benefit of mankind,” said Chetan Sharma, a student participant from IIIT Hyderabad. “The contest gave us first-hand experience of designing and optimizing circuits for area, power, portability and reliability.”
Another student, Vikram Sharma from BMS College of Engineering said, “The contest gave us a platform to implement innovative ideas. During our project, we got to communicate with deaf and mute people, which enhanced our awareness about social responsibility. We got the opportunity to work on many state-of-the-art hardware and software. The project gave us a very good exposure to system-level design aspects, such as PCB design.”
Abhishek of R.V. College of Engineering said, “We have learned how to work in a project in a systematic manner and the importance of time management. We learned how to write a project proposal and interim reports, and the entire project flow in general. We learned many things about analog subsystem design; for example, we learned how PCB layout and a stable power supply can have a significant impact on the working of the analog system.”
Read "How TI India Analog Design Contest is helping to Fuel Innovation in Indian Universities - Part 2/3" to find out about Phase 2 of the contest and the Award Ceremony!
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