Student Design Contest

It has been another exciting year for the annual IEEE AP-S Student Design Contest! The AP-S Education Committee received 22 very competitive and international two-page proposals from universities in Greece, Finland, India, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, UK and USA.

Apart from first-time entries from quite a number of universities/countries, it is also noteworthy that three of the entries are either cross-institutional or cross-country. We also salute team mentors who make the special effort to motivate their students to join the Contest, year after year (you know who you are!). Indeed, the Education Committee strongly believes that the Contest can bring significant value to the students’ university education and future career. We sincerely hope that more and more university teachers will also share in this vision: both to encourage their students to join and to volunteer as team mentors. This year’s challenge concerns the design of RFID antennas for a chosen application. The student teams should imagine that they have been commissioned by a company to provide an RFID system that will solve a particular problem. Concurrently, the system should be educational in showing how antennas work. The proposed should be portable and the total cost of building it should not exceed 1500 USD. The evaluation criteria for the preliminary design were creativity, likelihood of achieving the design goals, educational value, and quality of written materials.

From the 22 preliminary design proposals, six semi-finalist teams were chosen in mid-November last year. The semi-finalists had about five months to build their proposed antenna systems, as well as to write a detailed technical paper and make a youtube video demonstration. All the judges were impressed by the end results, which would not have been possible without great enthusiasm and countless hours of hard work.

The semi-finalists (in random order) are:

  1. Team Name: Aalto ELEC, Aalto University, Finland
    Project Title: RFID-based Book Finder
    Members: Aapo Oksman, Aapo Vienamo, Mikko Heino and Jalmari Toivanen
    Mentor: Ville Viikari
  2. Team Name: QueenTecnun, Queen Mary University of London and Tecnun, University of Navarra, Spain
    Project Title: RFID-based Sensorless System to Detect Humidity of Seed Growing in Flowerpots for Industrial Greenhouses
    Members: Qianyun Zhang, Santiago Pagola, Imanol Granada and Daniel Alonso
    Mentor: Yue Gao
  3. Team Name: Lx-ITeam, Universidade de Lisboa and Instituto Universitário de Lisboa, Portugal
    Project Title: RFID-based Smart Blood Stock System
    Members: Andela Zaric, Catarina C. Cruz, António Miguel P. de Matos and Marta R. da Silva
    Mentor: Carlos A. Fernandes
  4. Team Name: IITK, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, India
    Project Title: Orientation Detection using Passive UHF RFID Technology
    Members: Amrita Bal, Bhanu Pratap Singh, Deepam Kedia and Gaurangi Gupta
    Mentor: A. R. Harish
  5. Team Name: Electrokey, Lund University, Sweden
    Project Title: An UHF RFID System to Open Doors: The Electrokey Project
    Members: Edward Jovcic, Filip Olsson, William Tidelund, Sebastian Andersson and Doruk Tayli
    Mentor: Mats Gustafsson
  6. Team Name: RFID Bulls, Lund University, Sweden
    Project Title: RFID System Using Direct Digital Manufacturing: Student Tracking on Bus
    Members: Eduardo A. Rojas-Nastrucci, Ramiro A. Ramirez H., Sean Murphy and William Mitchell
    Mentor: Thomas Weller

The evaluation of the submitted technical papers and youtube videos was based on creativity, completeness of the description, functionality of the system as determined by the video, educational value, and quality of written materials. A decision was then made on the three finalist teams, and they are: Aalto ELEC (Finland), LxI-Team (Portugal) and IITK (India).

Each finalist team will receive stipends of up to 2,500 USD for team representative(s) to attend this Symposium and demonstrate their working designs. Based on the on-site demo and the semi-finalist evaluation results, the first-, second-, and third-prize winners will be selected to receive cash prizes of $1500, $750 and $250 USD, respectively. The winners will be announced at the Symposium’s Awards’ Banquet. In addition, the finalist teams may revise their final reports for possible publication in the IEEE Antennas and Propagation Magazine, under the Education Column.

Many thanks are due to the judges who worked hard to provide careful evaluation of the entries, including members of the AP-S Education Committee for the evaluation of the preliminary designs, as well as Zhi Ning Chen (National University of Singapore, Singapore), KVS Rao (Kymeta Corporation, USA), Leena Ukkonen (Tampere University of Technology, Finland) and Trevor Bird (CSIRO, Australia) for the semi-finalist and finalist evaluations.

The public demonstration of the finalist designs will be stationed in the poster and exhibition area at this Symposium, on Tuesday, July 8, between 09:00-12:00 and 13:00-16:00. Please put a mark in your schedule and show up, to support these fantastic teams!

Buon Kiong Lau
Lund University, Sweden