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The Battalion

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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Engineering students tasked with finding ‘Internet of things’

PROVIDED
The Aggies Invent challenge will take place in the Engineering Innovation Center on Friday.
PROVIDED The Aggies Invent challenge will take place in the Engineering Innovation Center on Friday.

Nearly 80 Aggie engineers eagerly await the weekend as they prepare to take on real world challenges and make the “Internet of things” come alive.
The third Aggies Invent challenge will kick off Friday at the Engineering Innovation Center, where multidisciplinary teams of undergraduate and graduate engineering students push their innovative skills and compete for the best solution to several industry sponsors’ need statements. Past challenges have resulted in several successful designs — one team in the 2014 challenge got a provisional patent for their device.
The theme this time is “making the Internet of things come alive,” where challenges arise from the pervasive interconnectedness of everyday objects.
James Wilson, the facility manager at the Engineering Innovation Center, said the event is a 48-hour maker-hackathon.
“Students are going to be given need statements from various vendors and industry representatives and they are required to build a certain device to fulfil their need statements,” Wilson said. “We will supply them the parts necessary and the know-how.”
Wilson said the third iteration of the event hopes to build on last year’s success.
“Last year, we had 70 participants and one of the teams actually got a provisional patent on their device,” Wilson said. “This year the demand was even higher. We got a little over 250 applications out of which we selected 80 people, and we have 74 of them showing up for the actual event.”
Ryan Gates, computer science junior and Aggies Invent participant, spoke about his preparation for the event.
“I am doing research into network monitoring — passively and intrusively in order to tackle a problem given to us by the United States Air force,” Gates said. “They needed a solution to help people secure their home network against outside intruders. As homes are becoming more interconnected, all our devices like the smartphone, TV, et cetera are connected to a network, which is in turn connected to the open Internet. So a lot of people are worried about potential intruders with a malicious intent who could siphon tons of data off this network.”

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