Two teams led by Nebraska Engineering students earned top-five status in the 2012 IBM/IEEE Smarter Planet Challenge, an international competition for college/university teams improving the world’s technology solutions.
Achieving fourth place was “SEER,” a project to enhance television viewing by adding additional video input sources on-screen for a layered multimedia experience. SEER team leader Robert Boulter, a senior Electronics Engineering major, said the team used its $2,000 prize from the Smarter Planet Challenge to develop a furter prototype.
The SEER team worked in-class and during additional hours each week during fall semester at Omaha’s Peter Kiewit Institute. The interdisciplinary group includes Hong-Yen Hoang, an accounting major at the University of Nebraska at Omaha; Marc McCaslin, a senior Electronics Engineering major; Sara Shinn, a senior who majors in Computer Engineering with UNL and Computer Science at UNO; and Timothy Struble-Larsen, a senior studying Electronics Engineering.
Another UNL team earned fifth place in the 2012 Smarter Planet Challenge with its Geographic Information System (GIS)-based Wind Farm Suitability and Planning Study. Led by Salman Kahrobaee and Dingguo Lu, Electrical Engineering graduate students, team members also included UNL GIS and Remote Sensing students Tarlan Razzaghi, Anthony L. Nguy-Robertson and David Gibbs.
Lu and Kahrobaee had worked on the initial concept in a Wind Energy class taught by Jerry Hudgins, professor and chair in the Electrical Engineering Department. They further developed their work with teammates and UNL School of Natural Resources Professor Don Rundquist to help layer data on site topography, wind patterns and other environmental factors for more informed and effective placement of wind turbines.
“It’s great that what we learned in class can apply to real challenges,” said Lu. Kahrobaee added, “It was fun to work this project with students from other disciplines.” Their team’s $1,000 prize will help them refine their work for potential commercialization.