Friends since high school, Sean Lyons & Troy Bryant entered the 2015 TI Innovation Challenge North America design contest as two University of Florida students with a passion for music and a passion for changing the world. First place winners of the 2015 TIIC – Troy and Sean share tips and tricks for winning the TIIC.
Why did you enter the TI Innovation challenge design contest?
Troy: For us, the main incentive to join the TIIC was the credit towards TI's online store that we could use to purchase parts for our product. After looking at some of the previous finalists, we didn't think that placing in the top three was likely, but we knew that with TI's diverse portfolio, we could build our entire project with TI products.
Sean: We knew that winning or even placing in a nationwide design competition hosted by TI would be an honor.
What do you see as the main benefits of winning the TIIC 2015?
Troy: One of the most immediate benefits of winning the TIIC was the generous cash prize, but there were other benefits that would last longer than the money. For me, this became a very strong talking point in interviews and fellowship applications as I began my graduate studies. This experience showed that I was a dedicated and effective team member and that I was very capable of solving problems in
unique and innovative ways.
Sean: I think I can speak for both of us when I say that winning the TIIC was pretty surreal. People in the electronics industry take the challenge pretty seriously, and being selected as winners has done incredible things for us in terms of networking and career advancement. As far as the financial aspect, it has truly been a major game changer for me. I used the money to pay off my student loans entirely, something that would have taken years to do otherwise.
Do you have any tips or tricks for those entering this year’s competition?
Troy: It was very clear when presenting our project at TI that the contest was all about innovation. The judges looked for projects that used TI products in unique ways in order to change the world. For those planning to enter the TIIC, find a problem or subject that you are very passionate about when choosing a project. This passion will reflect in your final project and will show your ability and determination to innovate the world around you.
Sean: Never underestimate the power of documentation. Though Troy and I spent countless hours designing our synthesizer, we also spent a considerable amount of time sharing the technical aspects of it with the world. TIIC projects are meant to inspire others, and that comes from taking the time to represent your design well. Love what you make, and sharing it with the world will become a joy, not a chore.