Oklahoma students win IEEE-USA national award

02/26/04

Communications System honored at Future Cty Competition

WASHINGTON (26 February 2004) St. Philip Neri School of Midwest City, Okla., won the fourth IEEE-USA Best Communications System Award at the national finals of the National Engineers Week Future City Competition on Wednesday. The honor, one of 22 special awards presented at the Hyatt Regency Hotel-Capitol Hill, was for the most "efficient and accurate communications system."

Students Alyssa Grossen, 13; David Hoang, 14; and Lauren Mathias, 12, comprised the team with St. Philip Neri teacher Sue Hawkins and electrical engineer Wayne Recla. The team advanced to Washington by winning the Oklahoma regional competition last month. Its city, Chrysalis, is set in the year 2237.

The featured components of St. Philip Neri's communications system are antennas and titanium microchips. An embedded microscopic finger phone transmits voice into an electrical signal through a diaphragm amplifier and antenna. The signal goes to a tower and then to a receiver. Each person's head is embedded with an antenna and microchip that converts the signal into vibrations that are transmitted via bone conduction to the cochlea of the inner ear.

"The concepts behind their system were solid, consistent and well-connected," said award judge Domonique Green, who served with fellow IEEE member and judge Lowell Smith. "Their idea wasn't just focused on one form of communication. They thought about the future and how their system would be an asset to everyone."

IEEE Senior Member Joe Lillie of Lafayette, La., chair of National Engineers Week 2004, presented each team member with a plaque and $100 U.S. Savings Bond. IEEE member Todd Hiemer is a co-regional coordinator for the Oklahoma competition.

The Future City Competition, which IEEE-USA introduced to Engineers Week in 1993, is designed to encourage the future generation of engineers. Seventh and eighth grade students create their own vision of a city of tomorrow, working first on computer and then constructing three-dimensional scale models. About 30,000 students competed this past year. Pittsburgh regional champion Riverview Junior / Senior High School won the overall competition Wednesday. Visit www.futurecity.org or www.eweek.org for more information.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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