An Oregon State University team of computer science and electrical and computer engineering students earned third place at the Intel-Cornell Cup on May 1-2 at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Cape Canaveral, Fla.
The purpose of the embedded design competition is to inspire student innovation. Entry into the event is competitive; only 22 teams from across the country were selected to attend. The chosen teams were provided with $1,500 in funding and the latest Intel Atom board which they incorporated into their project.
Auto Safe, the Oregon State team, designed a system to send information about car accidents to other cars in the area. The device includes sensors to detect crashes and rollovers, and a wireless mesh network to transmit information between vehicles. The device can be plugged in to any car 1996 or newer via the OBD II port. (See video below for a demonstration.)
The event was open to the public, so in addition to presenting to the judges, the team explained their project to crowds of elementary students who were visiting the Kennedy Space Center.
“Our project was really fun for the kids because they could drive the simulator. One girl, who had never played a driving game before, stayed for a really long time,” said Ashley Greenacre, senior in electrical and computer engineering.
Meeting students from other universities and seeing their projects was one of the best parts of the event for the team. Chris Harper, senior in electrical and computer engineering said, “We were all using the same hardware, so it was really interesting to see everyone’s different take on it.”
It was the first time Sam Quinn, senior in computer science, had participated in a competitive event. “It was eye-opening to see the troubles that go on behind the scenes,” he said. The team had to deal with last minute networking problems, but rather than be upset by it, Quinn said that he really enjoyed high pressure problem solving.
The hands-on experiences that the students receive by working as a team to design a product is why Kevin McGrath, computer science instructor and advisor to the team, recruits students to participate in the event every year. “There will always be challenges, and how you overcome those challenges dictates the kind of engineer you are,” he said.
The Auto Safe project, called V2X, will be on display at the Oregon State Engineering Expo on May 15.
– by Rachel Robertson