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A two-student team representing the University of North Texas placed second in the IEEE Region 5 Student Electronic Circuit Design Competition, held April 5 at the Texas A&M—Corpus Christi Campus.
Marina Nishimura and Kyle Clocker, both junior-year Electrical Engineering students, competed against 21 teams from IEEE Region 5 universities to solve a technical problem provided to the teams on the day of competition. The competition, part of the IEEE Region 5 Annual Business Meeting, was open to undergraduate IEEE student members who were registered for the business meeting.
This was Clocker’s and Nishimura’s first time to attend the regional meeting and to participate in the circuit design competition. Since they knew each other from project classes, they decided to enter the competition as a team. According to Clocker, the students began preparing for the competition during the winter break.
“We prepared for the competition by studying basic circuits and components, focusing on control systems and robotics, which were the specialty of the competition chair,” Nishimura said.
At the start of the competition, the students were given the specifications of a prototype circuit that they were to design and construct as well as parts and test equipment. The student teams had six hours to complete their circuit project and one hour to write a report explaining their approach to the technical problem.
The competition called on the students to develop a circuit that would turn on a fan and use four different settings: high, medium, low, and off. The two control options were either thermal feedback or clapping, and the UNT students chose clapping because it was worth more points.
A team of judges from industry and academia evaluated each design and demonstration during the afternoon of the competition. The winners were announced at the business meeting’s Saturday evening banquet, and certificates were awarded to the winning team members. Cash prizes were $500 for the student branch of the first place team, $250 for the student branch of the second place team, and $100 for the student branch of the third place team. The students also said that they received copies of LabVIEW and myDAQ.
Clocker said that the students plan to compete again next year. The competition was “a practical test of what you have learned so far. It was a great learning experience.”
Nishimura said that while the competition was intimidating at first, “you realize you know a lot more than you think you know.”