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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Invent for the Planet competition opens doors for global problem solving

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Photo by Dalia Muayad

Aggies Invent participants are chosen based on an application process and range from freshman to Ph.D candidates as well as a variety of majors. 

Over 60 students gathered at the Zachry Engineering Education Complex this past weekend, in the Susu and Mark A. Fischer Design Center, to confront and solve global issues.
Invent for the Planet is an annual 48-hour event led by director of engineering entrepreneurship Rodney Boehm that calls Aggies in various fields of engineering to come together and work as units to solve issues around the world. Students from 24 universities across the globe including Australia, the Middle East and Latin America, collaborate, compete and design solutions to these issues over the course of one weekend, and walk away with an experience that will give them a clear picture of what lies ahead in their careers.
“Invent for the Planet is an intensive designed experience,” Boehm said. “These are patterned after the Aggies Invent that the college of engineering here at Texas A&M University started.”
Last year, the college of engineering decided to expand the Aggies Invent model and reach out to universities outside of the United States. Collaboration with universities all over the world is what makes this event so valuable to students who participate.
“We live in a global society now,” Boehm said. “Things that we are doing here in the United States and things that people are doing in other countries affect each other, and we’re much more closely tied together.”
In the span of 48 hours, students formed teams based on the global issues that they would like to tackle. They discussed what they can create to solve this issue. During their decision making process, collaboration with other students from different universities all over the world came into play.
“Healthcare is different in different countries, for example in Europe there is public healthcare,” mechanical engineering junior Kristina Viro said. “So there’s a lot of different factors in the challenge that we’re tackling.”
Electrical engineering graduate student Kaustubh Bawdekar said his team was working on the creation of the Locum, a to-go medical toolkit. This essential first aid kit provides basic and life-supporting medical supplies that can be used to administer health care in case of an emergency.
Bawdekar’s team also created an app that provides instructions on how to use the tools included in the Locum. Students on the team took into account the lack of access to internet connection or cellular reception in some parts of the world.
“The best part about it is that [the app] can be used offline,” Bawdekar said. “All the videos will be offline on your device when you go.”
This year’s Invent for the Planet’s first place team designed a device that could prevent airlines from losing millions of dollars from hail damage.
Boehm said last year’s second place team is an example of what all students who compete worldwide can walk away with. After the competition, the group of students from Myanmar were also able to win a briefing with the ambassador to the United States from Myanmar.
“I was able to visit them this summer and what they were able to do is they’ve continued to work on their prototype,” Boehm said. “They’ve actually also designed other things and won other competitions working together as a team.”

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