Oklahoma school captures second National Communications Award

St. Philip Neri School of Midwest City, Okla., won the sixth annual IEEE-USA Best Communications System Award at the national finals of the Engineers Week Future City Competition on 22 February. The honor, for the most "efficient and accurate communications system," was one of 29 special awards presented at the Hyatt Regency Hotel-Capitol Hill. The school won also won the award in 2004.

Students Raleigh Logan, 13; Allison Hopper, 14; and Melanie Scherer, 13, comprised the team with St. Philip Neri teacher Sue Hawkins and electrical engineer Wayne Recla. The team earned its trip to Washington by winning the Oklahoma regional competition last month. Its city, Red Hawk, floats in the Gulf of Mexico and is set in the year 2300.

St. Philip Neri's "inner-chip technology" personal communications system includes a transmitter chip on a person's hand and a receiver chip on the cochlea. The main feature is direct bone conduction, in which vibrations from the receiver chip are transmitted via bone to the cochlea, allowing a person to hear. Moreover, a person's medical information is stored on the transmitter chip, and music and video can be downloaded to the receiver chip.

"Their communications system was well-organized," said award judge Jeremy Tunnell, who served with fellow IEEE member and judge Ananthram Swami. "I was very impressed with their knowledge of the little-known property of direct bone conduction for sound transmission."

IEEE-USA President Ralph Wyndrum Jr. and President-Elect John Meredith presented each team member with a plaque. Each student will also receive a $100 U.S. Savings Bond. IEEE member Todd Hiemer is a co-regional coordinator of 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. Chippewa Middle School of St. Paul, Minn., won the overall competition Wednesday. Visit www.futurecity.org or www.eweek.org for more information.

IEEE-USA advances the public good and promotes the careers and public policy interests of more than 220,000 engineers, scientists and allied professionals who are U.S. members of the IEEE. IEEE-USA is part of the IEEE, the world's largest technical professional society with 360,000 members in 150 countries. For more information, go to www.ieeeusa.org.

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