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ST iNEMO design contest celebrates young talents

Posted: 21 May 2013     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:iNEMO  design contest  MEMS applications  STMicroelectronics 

In its recently concluded Singapore Area University iNEMO Design Contest 2013, STMicroelectronics recognised the talents of students in MEMS design. The company announced three teams who successfully conceptualised, developed, and built demonstrable prototypes of new applications using ST's iNEMO MEMS sensor-fusion modules.

The objective of the iNEMO design contest is to encourage students to think outside the box and create entirely new applications for MEMS sensors. MEMS technology essentially provides the "smart" functionality in modern-day electronics, making it able to "sense" specific changes in its environment and react accordingly. ST sees MEMS technology bringing a lot of "smart" features into many diverse areas including healthcare, wellness, recreation, navigation, security and industrial applications. The students participating in the iNEMO Design Contest were encouraged to create new applications in such areas and originality of ideas and real-life practicality were among the key winning criteria.

Contestants for the competition were selected final-year engineering students from the National University of Singapore and the Nanyang Technological University who were paired in teams of two. Twelve teams competed and ST provided the iNEMO modules and technical support. The company also gave Rs.43,859.65 (SGD1,000) to each of the teams for them to buy 3rd-party materials. The submissions for the iNEMO contest were also part of the students' final-year project.

The champion of the event was the team of Joel Ye Zhu'En and Benjamin Pong Xiang Ming from the National University of Singapore. The duo developed a video camera stabiliser for aerial videography. The volatile swaying experienced in aerial videography makes it impossible for a video camera to fix its frame of focus on a specific target. Using the iNEMO to sense the multi-directional movements experienced by the camera, the module controls multiple motors attached to the camera platform to compensate for any swaying in any direction so that the camera maintains its frame of focus on a specific target. Joel and Benjamin's idea has many possible industrial applications involving aerial and marine surveillance or videography where the camera platform suffers from volatile swaying or movement. The champion team received Rs.4.39 lakh (SGD10,000) as cash prize sponsored by ST.

Fabio Pasolini, general manager, motion MEMS division, STMicroelectronics, said: "We are impressed by the students' ability to quickly grasp this technology to create working prototypes addressing new and diverse areas of application such as fitness, recreation, healthcare, navigation and industrial applications. These achievements perfectly reflect the vision STMicroelectronics has for MEMS technology, pushing its boundaries beyond the applications in smartphones, consumer electronics and automotive safety that we are more familiar with to create new applications and markets."

The first runner-up team was comprised of Li Shiwei and Wu Haozhou from Nanyang Technological University. They developed a "smart" dumbbell that is able to manage the entire training regimen of the user, as well as detect if the swing angle and velocity of the lift is incorrect and inform the user, improving their exercise skills. They received a cash prize of Rs.2.19 lakh (SGD5,000).

The second runner-up team was composed of Pushpaleela Prabakar and Nallasamy Suriya, also from National University of Singapore. They used the iNEMO technology to transform an ordinary bicycle into a "smart" bicycle. The application measures the distance cycled and calculates the calories burnt, as well as it offers safety features such as automatically ringing a bell when turning a blind corner or indicating to the user the presence of nearby vehicles. The team received Rs.1.32 lakh (SGD3,000) cash prize.

Associate professor Loh Ai Poh, deputy head (undergraduate programmes & student life), department of electrical & computer engineering, National University of Singapore also commented: "The opportunity to work with state-of-the-art, market-proven technology is definitely a valuable experience for our future engineers. More and more products in the market integrate sensor technology. We greatly appreciate this initiative from ST and are really encouraged to see our students developing very innovative yet practical applications with the market-leading technology.

"The challenge to develop original life-enhancing applications with the latest sensor technology has really spurred our students to stretch their creativity to the fullest while acquiring a clear understanding of market needs. This is the real industry environment they will have to function in and this programme is a powerful teaching tool to that end," said Professor Cheng Tee Hiang, acting chair of the school of electrical and electronic engineering, Nanyang Technological University.

ST's iNEMO is an evaluation and development tool that offers up to 10 degrees of freedom, combining 3-axis linear acceleration, 3-axis angular rate and 3-axis motion sensing through a magnetic field, together with barometric/altitude readings, managed by an STM32 microcontroller. The integration of multiple sensors with processing capabilities, dedicated software and wireless connectivity in a single platform enables leaps in functionality and performance in a wide variety of applications, including gaming, human machine interface, robotics, portable navigation devices, and patient monitoring.

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