How TI India Analog Design Contest is helping to Fuel Innovation in Indian Universities - Part 3/3
In the second part of this blog, you read about the final phase of the TI India Analog Design Contest (2011-2012) and about the award ceremony of this contest. In this last part, read about the 2012-2013 edition of the contest, which has already been announced.
Dr. C.P. Ravikumar
TI India Analog Design Contest 2012-2013
The TI India University Program is all geared up to receive entries from student teams! When we interact with college students, we get a lot of questions about the contest. We have been conducting interactive sessions, through Live webinars and seminars, to answer these questions. While some questions are easy to answer, such as “What is the last date of submission?,” others demand a longer explanation. For example, some students have sought help on what type of projects they must do and how to write proposals. In this blog entry, we will address some of these “hard to answer” FAQs. A complete FAQ on the contest is available on the contest website.
Selecting a project
Here are some general guidelines for selecting your project. The tag line “Making the world greener, safer, healthier, and a more fun to live in!” should help you identify the broad application domains of interest – Energy efficiency, security/safety, healthcare, infotainment, robotics, and so on. We encourage you to think about ideas that are relevant to Indian market – agriculture, cottage industries, small and medium scale industries, etc. We encourage you to talk to your mentors – they will be able to advise a suitable project.
There are many TI resources that can be of help to you, e.g. block diagrams of products. We have compiled some resources at http://www.uniti.in/adc/project-ideas You may wish to read about the projects that were done in the previous editions of TI India Analog Design Contest. For example, the book “MSP430 Microcontroller in Embedded System Projects” reports 20+ projects done in 2010-2011. It is fine to improve an existing project using new technologies/algorithms/other innovative ideas. But make sure you provide a reference to the past project and explain how you are planning on improving it. Improvements can come in the form of adding new functionality to an old project, making the existing project more power-efficient/cheaper/faster.
When selecting a project, do not be over-ambitious. You will have courses to do during the semesters. Do not select a project that seems too risky/vague even though you think it sounds great. You will find more thoughts on how to select a project in References  and  below.
Do not take any material from a published source, including any Internet sources! It will be tantamount to plagiarism!
Writing a Proposal
A project proposal is typically 2 to 3 pages long. You can type your proposal in MS/Word or other software and generate a PDF file for submission. If you have never written a proposal before, don’t worry, you can start now! The first sheet in your proposal should include your contact Information – include the name and address of your department/college, the name of the student coordinator and his/her contact details, the names of other participants and their contact details, the name of the chief mentor and his/her contact details, the name of other mentors (if any) and their contact details. You are permitted to add/drop students from the team until September 2012.
Next, include the title of your project. The title must not only describe your application, it must bring out what is the innovation you are planning to carry out. For example, “A music-playing robot” is not a very good title, since it does not bring out what is new. Music-playing robots have existed for some time. Perhaps your innovation is in the kind of music it plays, the kind of instruments it plays, or the performance the robot provides.
Note that you are permitted to make minor changes to this title later.
Write a summary of what your project is about. Tell us about the application you have in mind, why it is an important application, and what is the perceived impact of your project. It is OK to have a slightly longer proposal, if you think the project demands it. Include a block diagram of the project. If you know which integrated circuits you will use in your project, include it!
When writing your proposal, please do not borrow from published sources! Do not cut and paste from the Internet! We are looking for a document and not a set of power point foils! Note that a committee of experts will review your proposal. Your challenge will be to convince them that you are working on a great project idea.
We have already talked about the ‘plagiarism’ aspect. There are other ethical issues associated with the contest. Please ensure that you have not submitted the same proposal to multiple forums. We will publish a list of shortlisted projects on our website. If we find out that you have submitted the same project for another contest, your team will be disqualified.
Support from TI
TI India University program will offer support to student teams in several ways. We will be constantly in touch with you during the project and guide you through the next step. We will help in providing the required TI semiconductors for your project. You can request for IC samples, EVMs, development boards, etc. These will be made shipped to your mentor and will be donated to your college. We will be happy to donate a TI Analog lab to your college. The TI Analog Lab is primarily based on TI’s Analog System Lab Kit. We will be able to conduct Web-based interactive sessions about the TI India Analog Design contest. Two such sessions have already happened in May, and the next session is planned on May 18. Please refer to the Event Calendar at www.uniti.in/events We will provide guidelines on writing your report or making a video about your project.
What to look forward to …
To a lot of students who took part in the past TI India Analog Design Contest events, the experience was one of holistic learning. Writing a proposal, acquiring components, hardware design and construction, software design and implementation, debugging, documentation, making a video, … But everyone acknowledges that it was a fun and enriching experience!
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