Texas Instruments Innovation Challenge 

1st Place Winner

Project Description - 7DeadlySynths by Troy Bryant and Sean Lyons;Professor Karl Gugel oversaw the student work, and Eric Liebner and Mike Stapleton served as advisors.

The 7DeadlySynths project began as a capstone design project at the University of Florida. The idea was simple, to create a new way to interact with music. We noticed that most instruments required a good amount of fine motor skills to master. With that in mind, we set out to create an instrument that could be controlled using coarse motor movements (such as a wave of the hand). This would allow disabled musicians to create sounds in a new way.


Twelve Infrared beams detect hand movement within a 3′ x 1′ space. Each infrared sensor corresponds to a key. The synthesizer is laid out like a piano, each key is a half step apart in pitch up to a full octave. This unconventional keyboard interface connects to two synthesis blocks. The analog block creates waveforms using discrete components and analog ICs, and the digital synthesis block is implemented in embedded software running on a DSP. The user interface for both synthesizers is fully modular, allowing the user to dial in their own unique sounds. Both synthesizers are mixed together before output allowing for further sonic experimentation.


We were inspired by the early analog synths of the 60’s and 70’s, we set out to create a bridge between eras by combining classic analog modular synth design with modern DSP based modular software synths.


The result is a novel musical instrument that is accessible for all musicians who want to move with their music.


More information can be found at https://7deadlysynths.wordpress.com/


3rd Place Winner

Project Description - Hercules Autopilot by Jordan Street, Advisor Fred Taylor

The Hercules Autopilot is a full flight control system designed for quadrotor unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) featuring 100% custom designed hardware and software. Both manual flight control modes and fully autonomous waypoint navigation are supported. The system consists of an air module which is mounted on the flight vehicle and a telemetry module which interfaces with commercial ground station software on a laptop. A radio controlled (RC) transmitter is used to fly the quadrotor in manual flight modes and switch to autonomous waypoint navigation. The telemetry module provides the current flight conditions as well as mission status. 


Quadrotor UAVs are unstable systems which require flight controllers to fly. Unlike an RC plane which can be controlled by directly interfacing the RC receiver with the control surface servos, a quadrotor must have additional hardware to translate flight commands to appropriate motor speeds.


The Hercules Autopilot features two primary flight modes, angle mode (manual mode) and waypoint mode (autonomous mode). In angle mode, the pilot uses the right stick of the RC transmitter to command tilt angles resulting in translational motion. Vertical movement of the left stick controls the overall throttle command. Horizontal movement of the left stick controls the vehicle rotation rate command. In waypoint mode, the quadrotor autonomously flies a predetermined flight path specified by GPS waypoints.


For a full story from Market Watch see this link.