Team Earns Distinguished Recognition at Inaugural Cornell Cup USA

A team of Engineering Technology students traveled to Walt Disney World's Contemporary Resort, Lake Buena Vista, Florida to participate at the Cornell Cup USA student competition presented by Intel, May 3rd – 5th, 2012. This was the first national inaugural event hosted by Intel and Cornell and is based largely on the successful Intel Cup China that attracts more than 26,000 students. Jared Gaertner, Ruben Gomez, Chris Valdez, Paul Maicah and Nick Nowlin, the Audio (G) Fusion team, were among the 24 teams that were selected to compete, and the 21 that made it to Orlando for the competition's finals, which awarded three grand prizes set at $10,000, $5,000, and $2,500. The student teams were granted financial support and access to working engineers for project advice throughout the competition process.

"I am happy that the UH College of Technology team has earned this distinguished recognition," said Dean Fitzgibbon. "Considering the high caliber of participating institutions and our being the only team from the state of Texas, this is an amazing achievement by our students."

A complex embedded systems design technology, Audio (G) Fusion, is an electric guitar integrated with an Intel processor and touchscreen for audio filtering. It allows a guitar player to configure audio filters by using the touchscreen on the guitar. Preset buttons allow quick manipulation of the filters while performing. The various filter combinations are virtually unlimited.

"This was a fantastic project management experience and I was honored to be a part of the competition, said team leader, Jared Gaertner. As individuals on the team, we gravitated to our own areas of proficiency." "We were able to identify issues in real time audio board design that professional engineers may not have found," said Jared Gaertner.

"This was my first time working with something very new and inventive like our development board," said team member Chris Valdez. "We gained important insight into audio devices."

At the finals, the teams presented to two judges panels, limited to a six-minute presentation per panel, on the expo floor. Judges were limited to three minutes for team questioning. The teams then did formal 30-minute presentations that allowed for more in-depth discussion and questioning from the judges panel, made up of experienced engineers and managers from top companies including Intel, MathWorks, and Tektronix.

"I am very pleased with this experience and about this good news about our team's earning a distinguished recognition award presented by Intel," said Dr. Mequanint Moges, Instructional Associate Professor in the Engineering Technology Department. "The quality of the projects next year will be very different because the news of this competition will become widespread. All classes of ours will be offered the opportunity to participate, which will bring more creativity and energy."

The UH College of Technology advisors for the team included Dr. Mequanint Moges, Dr. Driss Benhaddou and Dr. Xiaojing Yuan as well as Mr. Keith Lancaster, Industry advisor.

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