As the deadline for the India Innovation Challenge Design Contest (IICDC) 2016 is approaching, we wanted to help our participants benefit from the experiences of the last year’s contestants. And who better to speak to than Rakshit Ramesh, Karthikeshwar Varma & Anoop Kulkarni, winners of the 2015 TI IICDC? They came up with an idea to address a serious problem of road accidents in India and impressed the judges with their vision and the execution. (See their project)

1. What was your experience in IICDC 2015?

Rakshit: The highlight of the contest was receiving an award from Late Former President of India, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. Also, our project meant a lot to me because it was inspired by a real life incident. One of my neighbors had a road accident due to low visibility. We wanted to solve this by designing a radar system for cars. We had prior experience using TI controllers and integrated circuits (ICs) and we used TI’s website to find relevant components and technical information. Identifying the right components was the key, as once you are in the design cycle it is difficult to make changes.

2. How has TI helped you during the contest?

Anoop: We received technical support through workshops and a clear understanding of the contest from TI. During semifinals and finals we got to interact with TI employees who shared industry insights and other technical information, thereby helping us improve our designs.

3. How did the contest help you acquire new skillsets and make a mark in your career?

Karthikeshwar & Anoop: We learned a variety of new skills like…

    • Teamwork as electronics experiments often don’t go according to the plan.
    • Time and risk management as we had to juggle between our coursework and contest
    • Presentation skills as we needed to present our work to judges at every stage.

Rakshit: I learned the process of product development like how to design a circuit board for testability and ensure it is debuggable. Everywhere I go, I identify myself as a winner of the TIIC! (laughs). It’s a one of a kind contest where the competition is so fierce that winning it has definitely helped me get an edge over others. We are all working as research assistants in IISc Bangalore.

4. This year, the top 10 teams will be converted as start-ups. Your advice for the participants?

Rakshit: It’s a wonderful opportunity. When we won, we were looking for investors and a marketplace for our idea. You can create products, but it needs to be marketable. Undergraduates often lack managerial skills – this is where IIMB can play a crucial role. Funding from DST is also a huge advantage as it is like an official stamp of approval for student projects.

Karthikeshwar: Over a year, you have a chance to grow professionally as well as personally; by the end of the contest, you acquire technical and soft skills that are essential for being an engineer. I would highly recommend every engineering student to participate in the India Innovation Challenge.

If you have an innovative idea, a dream to create something new, and the ambition to make a difference, then we invite you to participate in the IICDC 2016. Enter the India TI Innovation Challenge design contest by September 30, 2016 for your chance to launch your own startup.