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Electrical engineering student team one of six chosen for international design competition

Samantha Peko and Pete Shooner | Dec 1, 2014
IEEE design contest
Photo by Rob Hardin

Electrical engineering student team one of six chosen for international design competition

Samantha Peko and Pete Shooner | Dec 1, 2014

Photo by Rob Hardin

A team of five electrical engineering seniors from the Russ College of Engineering and Technology is one of six semifinalist teams competing in the 2015 Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Antennas and Propagation Society (AP-S) Antenna Design Challenge.

Tasked with designing and building a Bluetooth antenna for a body area network (BAN) – a system of devices worn either on or near a person’s body and that cooperate for the benefit of the user – the Russ College team competed for the first time against 27 teams from around the world for its semifinalist spot.

“We got to the top six because some aspects of our design were prototyped, and because of how innovative our design is,” said Professor of Electrical Engineering Chris Bartone, the team’s adviser. “We have managed the risk to achieve a fully operational system by March.”

The project is the focus of the team’s year-long senior capstone design course. The team designed a wearable medical device with five sensors that measure ambient and body temperatures, heart rate, oxygen levels and fall detection. The data is then sent to a microcontroller and transmitted by the team’s Bluetooth antenna to an Android smartphone app, which the team also developed.

Each of the team members has a part to play in the project development – from the sensors to the smart phone application design.

Levi Moore, a Duncan Falls, Ohio, native, is using computational electromagnetic software to build and simulate the antenna design.

“This is more like a job than a class to me,” said Moore, who hopes to study antenna theory in graduate school. “The senior design class helps the transition from the classroom to the real world.”

IEEE awarded the team $1,500 from IEEE to help complete the design and prototyping by the March deadline. The Russ College provided seed money to purchase the smartphone and gave the team 24-hour access to the project lab.

Pat Hanlon, who is developing the team’s Android application along with Morgan Haggerty, had little prior experience in this area. He said the college’s support was critical to overcoming a steep learning curve. “You have to teach yourself things,” said the Chagrin Falls, Ohio native. “You have to find your resources, get to know your resources, and use your resources.”

Trevor Vogelhuber of Dalton, Ohio, and Gordon Fleming of Fresno, California, are working to integrate the various body sensors with the system’s microcontroller.

The team now must create a Youtube video to demonstrate the system, and write a report for the judging committee. If selected as one of the three finalists, the students will travel to the international 2015 IEEE AP-S meeting in Vancouver, Canada, in July to present the final product.