Adapted quadcopter takes top place at Aggies Invent

April 22, 2016
| By: Melanie Balinas

Saving lives, improving patient comfort and streamlining procedures in dangerous situations were just a few of the topics covered in the latest Aggies Invent held at Texas A&M University.

The theme for the weekend, First Responders, was sponsored by the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station’s (TEES) Center for Emergency Informatics. During the weekend, students created prototypes relevant to first responders, search and rescue, paramedics, firefighters and others in the field.

Aggies Invent promotes an innovative and entrepreneurial mindset among students at Texas A&M. It gathers invited students, provides them with the needs statements submitted by sponsors, allows them to self-select teams and gives them access to industry mentors and support from the Engineering Innovation Center (EIC) to create solutions and prototypes in 48 hours.

Grace Duoduo, Mack Ragland and Milan Pandya took first place with the QuadComm, an adapted UAV with two-way radio transmission. They equipped a quadcopter with a microphone and a two-way radio for first responders to have direct conversation with people in hard to reach areas during a disaster situation.

Ragland said he was drawn to the First Responders event because it felt like something that would impact others and could potentially save lives.

“Finding out what people need during a disaster rescue is just as important as retrieving them,” Ragland said.  

The second-place team was EZ Triage, a FitBit-like device to track and monitor patients during emergency response triage situations. The current system of tracking triage patients is outdated and inefficient, hence the need for updating the technology. Austin Isburgh, Maximiliano Ortiz, Pravir Singh Gupta, Sagar Samant, Shikha Sinha, Sujoy Saha and Swetha Sridharan comprised team EZ Triage.

Third place went to Team Lift with its Airboard to assist first responders placing large patients onto stretchers. The needs statement was to help reduce the likelihood of back injuries to first responders and increase patient comfort. Team Lift’s students included Justin Samorajski, Muhammad Aun, Roshan Karna, Samuel McConnell and Trey Newman.

The panel of judges included Dr. Jon Mogford, Texas A&M vice chancellor for research; Don Lewis, director of Startup Aggieland; Dr. Jerry Livingston, clinical assistant professor of clinical and transitional medicine and Dr. Debjyoti Banerjee, professor of mechanical engineering. Dr. Robin Murphy from the Center for Emergency Informatics spoke to the students about their success and the center’s support for their continued innovation. 

The judging panel was so impressed with the results of the competition that Mogford decided to award each team a $250 prize. The top three teams received $1,000, $750 and $500, respectively, for their awards.

All teams are invited to continue working on their project and have access to the EIC and mentors for guidance and advice. They also have the opportunity to work with Startup Aggieland for additional assistance.

Additional coverage from Aggies Invent: First Responders here.

To learn more about Aggies Invent, visit https://aggiesinvent.tamu.edu/.

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