As technology continues to evolve and advance, students across the globe are stepping up to push the boundaries on what’s possible to make modern solutions more efficient and accurate. Not only do these students ideate and create; they’re now preparing to take their products to market as emerging entrepreneurs. Three projects from groups of students at three different universities excelled in pushing the boundaries for efficiency and accuracy in the 2016 Texas Instruments (TI) Innovation Challenge European Design Contest. The three winning teams had the opportunity to attend a week of entrepreneurship workshops held at the UnternehmerTUM Center for Innovation and Business Creation of the Technical University of Munich in Germany and presented their ideas at electronica. Learn more about their innovations:

Shelmet from students at the University of Bologna (Italy)

First Prize: Automotive

The Shelmet is a smart and sustainable helmet that alerts motorcyclists of potential dangers on the road using an embedded series of sensors. Some of these sensors include:

  • An alcohol sensor to detect the amount of alcohol on the driver’s breath to prohibit driving under the influence.
  • An LCD display to show data to the driver such as “Low Visibility.”
  • An Infrared Camera that can detect obstacles in the road ahead at night.
  • A light and temperature sensor.
  • An eye blink detector to ensure that the driver is not falling asleep.

The team achieved their goal of sustainability in designing the helmet to be self-sufficient using solar-kinetic power. In the future they want to explore new energy sources (like thermal energy), implementation of a display using the new transparent screen technology, and the development of a smart phone app in order to analyze the connectivity for the helmet.

TI Technology Used: Two MSP432P401R LaunchPad™ development kits and a BOOSTXL-EDUMKII Educational BoosterPack™ plug-in module.

Mud Computing from students at the University of Trento (Italy)

First prize: Industrial

Mud Computing is a long-range monitoring system capable of sensing light, temperature and humidity in plants and powered by Plant Microbial Fuel Cell (PMFC). The team identified species of bacteria commonly found in soil that can produce electricity from their metabolic process. Using the PMFC allows the system to be portable and green with no greenhouse gases and only requires the user to water the plant when indicated. The LED system is used to indicate the health of the plant: the faster the blink, the healthier the plant.

The team focused on ultra-low power in building their system, choosing the MSP430™ microcontroller (MCU) for its ultra-low power consumption and embedding TI’s FRAM technology to support their goals

TI Technology Used: HDC1080 digital humidity sensor, MSP430FR5969 LaunchPad development kit and a SimpleLink ™ Sub-1 GHz CC1310 wireless MCU

tTime from students at the Brno University of Technology (Czech Republic)

First prize: Innovation

tTime is a wireless system for delivering low latency time measurement in sports. The solution eliminates the need for long cables and wired connections between the start and finish lines in fire sport disciplines. Athletes can simply place several boxes along the side of the track and, in 5 minutes, start their training. The objective was to achieve reliability, high and stable time measurement accuracy, modularity and portability with the devices. For example, if the athlete were a runner, a coach could trigger a switch at the start line, and the second the runner crosses the finish line, the timer stops.

The team achieved their goals by focusing on verified wireless communication and time synchronization using TI LaunchPad kits, SimpliciTI protocol and CC1101 Sub-1 GHz communication module. They determined that the delays in traditional methods were often due to unreliable communication and often resulted in compromised measured time; tTime answered this issue. The system was used for time measurement at the TFA (Toughest Firefighter Alive) with more than 50 competitors.

TI Technology Used: CC1101 Sub-1 GHz transceiver, TM4C123GH6PM MCU based on ARM® Cortex®-M4F core

To find out more about the other award winning projects from the 2016 EMEA TIIC awards, visit: http://www.ti.com/ww/eu/TIIC2016/ or learn more about the TI University program: www.ti.com/university

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