A duo from the University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering relied on problem solving skills and classroom instruction to secure the first place title at a regional circuit design competition last weekend.
John Hemmick and Osaid Shamsi, both seniors in the college’s department of electrical and computer engineering, were pitted against 10 teams in the nonstop, seven-hour competition challenging them to design and build a solar-powered battery charger at the 2009 IEEE Region 5 Technical, Professional and Student Conference.
“With no training for it, other than what they received in their courses, they got first place,” said John Glover, professor of electrical and computer engineering, who encouraged the two to compete. “I’m pretty proud of that.”
The first team to compete for UH in seven years, Hemmick and Shamsi along with the other pairs were given a list of electronics, their prices and spec sheets detailing what each part did. Each were instructed not only to conceptualize, but create the charger from some combination of the parts. The catch—the team with the lowest budget and the most functional, longest lasting design was the winner.
“When we got there, we saw these really exotic pieces of electronics we had never seen before,” said Hemmick, a computer engineering major, of the Lubbock-based competition. “The competition was timed, and we used every second going over spec sheets and testing our design. I had no idea we were going to win, but was pleasantly surprised that night at the awards dinner.”
Hemmick and Shamsi beat out teams from Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and others for the honor, carrying with it a $500 cash prize.