April 29, 2010 - ECE 2799 ECE Design

Photo Gallery

  • 1st Place: Nicholas Vranos and Michael Audi

  • 2nd Place: Shahil Kantersaria, Tanvir Anjum, Marcus Amilcar

  • 3rd Place: Christopher Wyant, Tim Frattesi, Seth Crocker

  • Honorable Mention: Julian Kumi and Nick Bosowski

  • Honorable Mention: Daniel Jones, RuoQing (Linda) Fu, and Prabodha Pradhan

  • Honorable Mention: Anthony Ducimo, Marzhan Mozhanova, Zhongjie Wu

  • Professors Robert Labonte and Stephen Bitar with Judges Robert Waite, Jim Fee, Robert Barton


Thank you to Professor Stephen Bitar and Professor of Practice Robert Labonte for hosting the Robert H. Grant Invention Awards in the ECE 2799 D-Term course. Thank you also to the veteran  judging team, Jim Fee, '65 (of Adhva), Bob Waite, '65 (of Waitek), and Bob Barton (of TechLite Designs) for their questions, comments, and positive feedback.  Thirteen teams competed on April 28, 2010 for six slots in the competition.  Six teams presented April 29, 2010 in AK 116, Newell Hall.  Three prizes were awarded, First Place: $1000.  Second Place: $750. Third Place $300.

Congratulations to the Winners!

The First Place winners are: "Solar Optimal Location Assessment Reader" by Nicholas Vranos and Michael Audi. The Second Place winners are: "Intelligent Fuel Saver" by Shahil Suman Kantersaria, Tanvir Anjum, and Marcus Calixte Amilcar. And, the Thrid Place winners are: "Ecocan" by Christopher Wyant, Timothy Frattesi, and Seth Crocker.  Congratulations!


Team 1
"Smart Circuit Breaker"

Laura Fischer, Marcus Peart, Tayyar Rzayev

Our device has sensors that connect to the circuit breakers in the fuse box. With these sensors, our device monitors the real-time power consumption in each circuit. A display shows the user detailed feedback about instantaneous power usage at different times throughout the day as well as energy usage over time. Connected to this display is a keypad to navigate through an easy-to-use menu that allows the user to access various options. That information can be used by the customers to save money by conserving electrical energy.

The target market for our product is residential homeowners. From a survey and research, we gathered that a large group of people are interested in their energy consumption, even more so, people who are paying for it.

Our product has market appeal because, unlike our competitors, it gives feedback on specific areas of the house by connecting to each circuit breaker in a fuse box. This allows the user to target where the most energy in their house is being consumed. Our product could be installed or already be built into the fuse boxes of new homes. The device works with the standard rating of circuit breakers, is low maintenance, and reliable because it monitors power use in real-time. We believe that our product has market appeal because it will show users how they can prevent energy-wasting habits and reduce their electric bills and save energy by simply shutting off their devices when they are left idle.

Team 2
"Lawn Water Saver"

Nick Michael Bosowski, Julian Kumi,

We are group number 2 of the d-term ECE 2799 design groups. Our product idea is lawn water conservation. The objective of our product is to help people become more aware of the amount of water they use when they water their lawn and to help them reduce the amount of extra water that is used while watering their lawns. Products like this are already on the market, but are either extremely cheap and very inaccurate, or extremely accurate, but at a much higher price range ($100 +). As dictated by this information we chose to target people with small to medium sized lawns and suburban and urban areas that will not want to spend that much money on a lawn monitor. The objective of our project is to create a sensor that will be accurate enough to tell a person when their lawn has received a sufficient amount of water, but does not require either lots of work to install, or expensive parts or labor that will increase the price.  Our product uses a timer that oscillates at different frequencies depending on the values of several different parts, 2 resistors and one capacitor. In our project we plan to create a capacitor whose dielectric constant will change with the moisture in the soil. As water is added to the soil it becomes moister and the capacitance of the soil increases. This results in a decrease in the frequency of oscillation of the timer because the frequency of oscillation and size of capacitance are inversely related. It is our objective to find a relation that is accurate enough to provide people with the information to water their lawn through experimentation. We do not plan on using all sorts of monitors to pinpoint the exact moisture level of the soil, but plan on having enough accuracy for the typical home owner's lawn. By eliminating the features required in industrial grade sensors it is our hope that we could at production level provide a cheap sensor that is easy to use and still fairly accurate unlike systems currently on the market.

Team 3
"Saving Fuel: No Strings Attached"

Fix bad driving habits without stringing wires across your car!

Luis Rafael Espaillat Md. Monirul Islam, and Robert T. Capizzio

Our design is a tool to help any driver improve their driving habits in order to save them more fuel. It will alert the user whenever he accelerates too quickly to reduce the fuel injection into the engine, and also whenever he decelerates too rapidly to save the kinetic energy of the vehicle.

Our target market is any person capable of driving, and will not be limited to owners of vehicles made after 1996; our device will also work with older vehicles because it does not require any connection with the vehicle's computer system.

The device will be much more affordable than others that are already in the market, and it will be more practical because of its ease of use; it will not need any connection to the car, and it will have an easy-to-understand output that will not be a distraction to the driver.

Team 4
"The Saver Strip"

Erik Silva, Alison Couture, and Warran Walton

Our product is designed to determine if the devices attached to it are drawing idle power.  This is a phenomenon where devices such as AC adapters consume energy even when they are disconnected from a load such as a phone or camera.  The Saver Strip monitors the energy usage of the devices attached to it and determining if there are any unplugged AC adapters drawing idle power.  It then alerts the user with both audio and visual warnings that they need to unplug the adapter.

Our product would appeal to anyone who owns an AC adapter; however we have chosen to focus on the college student demographic.  This was done to simplify surveys for the market research and because college students tend to be more environmentally conscientious. People would want to buy our product because it is an environmentally friendly way to save money.  There are many ways to reduce your power consumption and our product is a relatively unexplored niche in this market.

Team 5
"Domestic Water Usage Monitor"

James Curtis Rehberger '11, Steven Thomas Murdy '12, and Jonathon Jeremias Botelho '12 

The domestic water usage monitor is a two-part device that records water flow through the sensor. It records the time, date, and amount of water used, and then can give that information or statistics of derived from that information. The device is designed to used on household sinks. The first part of the device serves as the sensor, it is an invasive flow meter; that will send the data to the second part via an RF transmitter. The second part of the device is a serves several roles, first it is has and RF receiver to take in that data from the sensor, it then processes and stores this data.  Its next function is the user interface, both the graphical display, and the physical interface.

Our target market is any homeowner, as all waste water. The following are statistic on water usage in the United States: 1. Americans now use 127 percent more water than we did in 1950. 2. About 95 percent of the water entering our homes goes down the drain. 3. Running the tap while brushing your teeth can waste 4 gallons of water. From these our market desire can be drawn, we waste water, lots of it. Our product will allow you to see how and when you use, and consequently waste water. This will allow people to better their habits.

Team 6
"Lighting Monitor"

Daniel Jones, Linda Fu, and Prabodha Pradhan

Product Description: Our product records the light level either indoors or outdoors over time, and predicts the amount of energy that could be saved through reducing over illumination or using more natural lighting.

Target Market: The target market for our product are building owners who would like to evaluate the amount of energy that they could save through the addition of a lighting control system or through renovations to increase natural lighting, either through additional windows or technologies such as light pipes. An additional market is contractors who make these renovations. These contractors could use our product to provide the building owners with an accurate estimate as to how much energy they could save by hiring the contractor.

Value Proposition: Our product provides an inexpensive way to evaluate a much more expensive lighting control system or renovations. This means that a more informed decision can be made, reducing the risk involved for the building owner.

Team 7

Christopher M. Wyant, Timothy R. Frattesi, and Seth E. Crocker

Our product is an Eco-Friendly spin off of the traditional kitchen trashcan.  The Eco-Can is capable of tracking the waste you throw away into your trash can.  The trashcan then uses this data to predict your future waste habits and the impact you will have on the environment. The Eco-Can does this by showing your carbon footprint as well as showing you the waste you would generate if you kept at your trend over the next week, month, or year.

The target market for the Eco-Can is homeowners between the ages of 25 and 65.  The reason for this is that the consumers are most likely to care about the environment. In addition, they are likely to have a family, which tend to generate more waste.  There are other products available that deal with kitchen waste, however most are out of the traditional consumers' price range or cannot be used in an urban neighborhood.

The Eco-Can will fill this gap by providing a low cost alternative to cut down on waste in the kitchen.  Our entire product will be green, in addition to the information it will provide.  The base of the trashcan will be made of recycled plastic.  The power source for the Eco-Can will use the opening and closing of the lid as a generator to charge the system.  These features along with low cost will endear the Eco-Can to our target market.

Team 8
"Intelligent Fuel Saver"

Shahil Suman Kantersaria, Tanvir Anjum , and Marcus Calixte Amilcar 

The Intelligent Fuel Saver will change your driving experience. This in-car device will assess your driving habits, and suggest how to improve your vehicle's fuel economy through a simple LCD interface. With the rise in gas prices, we are ensuring a device that will help you save fuel. Therefore with the guidance of our tool, every consumer has an opportunity to make monetary savings. This device will have the capability of connecting to the any vehicle manufactured after 1996. Through a vehicle's OBD-II port, drivers will be able to simply plug-and-play this device with no effort at all. Within seconds you will be behind the wheel, and driving more efficiently than you ever have before.

Who will benefit from this product? Regular commuters, long highway commute, city environment, consistently long trips, unaware of how to save gas.

When we compare our device to the current market competition, we established multiple consumer concerns. Affordability and accuracy topped that list. The Kiwi Drive Green Save Gas emulated similar functionality of our device and is currently pending patent.  Our product prize will be less than half of the Kiwi Grive Green Save Gas price of $299.  As one can see the value of our device is derived from offering high-level accuracy for a 1/3 of the price. We conducted multiple surveys to gain feedback from the driving community. What we found was that many drivers are unaware of how detrimental poor driving habits can be to their miles per gallon. This device is going to help you save more money from every gallon you buy.

Team 9 
"The Nutritional Waste Quantifier (NuWQ)"

Kelly MacNeill, Nick Long, and Steven Chen

Our product weighs food and calculates the nutritional value of the food based on its entry in the USDA nutrient database. The user inputs their daily caloric intake targets or other nutrient intake targets and the NuWQ alerts the user if they are exceeding their target intake for the day. Once the food is on the scale, the user selects the food from a list of categories and the nutritional information is displayed on the screen, such as calories, sodium, sugar or protein. The user can weigh the individual components of a meal to find the total nutritional value of the food they are eating.

This is useful for dieters, people with physician prescribed diets (such as diabetics) or health conscious individuals. The NuWQ logs daily nutritional intake over time, with length only limited by the size of the external storage.

 The NuWQ stores the database and intake statistics on an external SD card that is included with the product, or that can be set up on a PC ahead of time. The NuWQ also comes with PC software that the user can install to display the data logged by the NuWQ in chart format, along with other aggregate statistics of the user's intake. The software also handles updating of the database.

People would use this product to easily make sure they are not exceeding their target nutritional intakes. It is also good for tracking food intake over time, so that users can find what nutrients they may be lacking in their diets or to see if they are overeating. It is also useful for chefs or cooks who would like to find the nutritional information for a composite food dish (perhaps if they were making a menu for a restaurant).

Team 10
"The Door Draft Alarm Product Summary"

Anthony Ducimo, Marzhan Mozhanova, and Zhongjie Wu: 

The Door Draft Alarm will alert the user if an exterior door is open for a certain amount of time and the difference between the temperature outside and inside the home creates a draft, thereby cooling of heating the household undesirably.  The occurrence of unintentional manmade drafts will be minimized thereby reducing space heating and space cooling costs.

Market: Homeowners seeking to cut their utility bills, Families with small children who try to save on their expenses, Elderly who may forget that a door is open generating waste, and Household residents that may frequently leave their door open unintentionaly

Value Proposition: The Door Draft Alarm will notify the customer of a subsequent waste.  The product is designed to assist the user to cut down on space heating and cooling costs.  The final design could be configured to address drafts through open windows.  The product also has an educational value as it will assist in teaching young children the ethics in energy and monetary conservation.  More than anything else it can notify the consumer if a door is open, although it is not configured to serve as a security device

Team 11
"The AutoMagic Dimmer"

Gabriel Morell-Pacheco, Oliver Rich, and Jordan Morris

This is a device that functions to measure the ambient light, notify you of your waste of power and if wanted, adjust your internal light to compliment. This device is marketed to both to existing home owners and businesses as well as new installations.  This device is meant to both notify people of their waste of power and act on it. This is an excellent product to purchase to raise green awareness and go green

Team 12
"Solar Optimal Location Assessment Reader"

Nicholas Arthur Vranos and Michael Dominick Audi

SOLAR is an automated irradiance recorder. SOLAR is placed in a location and reads and records data that reflects the total solar irradiance. Solar irradiance is the amount of power produced by the sun per unit area. The target audiences are private citizens interested in determining the feasibility of installing solar thermal or photovoltaic energy devices on their property, commercial investors with the same interest and solar installers and researchers looking to gather data about a given site. This target will serve as a small investment to decide if the location is reasonable for renewable energy placement. People need this product to either convince or dissuade themselves to further invest in renewable technologies.

Team 13
"The RF Tie"

Brian Evan Franklin, Steven Mathew Tidwell, Donald Ernest Joseph, and  Wayne Manning

What is the RF Tie? 
The RF Tie is a cool (geeky) yet educational device that integrates a functioning radio frequency signal meter into a neck tie. It is meant to show the relative amount of radio frequency (RF) energy present, and that RF energy is always flowing through you. LEDs on the tie will light up based on how much RF is around.

Why would the RF Tie be marketable?
The RF Tie is a fun, unique, geeky, and educational product. It is relatively cheap ($25 to $30), and it will bring about curiosity about RF energy in those around the wearer.  Being the unique and interesting item it is, the RF Tie will be sure to attract consumers who shop at places such as ThinkGeek.com, as well as interested educators. It's educational potential can go beyond museums and individual curiosity. It can also be applied in the class room, where it can be used by eager college professors to help demonstrate the behavior of RF to their students, and many more applications.

Who is the target market?  
We are targeting educators, physics majors, radio enthusiasts, and engineers around the globe with our product. The RF Tie even has the potential of being used museums as part of an interactive RF exhibit!


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