The Soumac directors have always felt passionately about the importance of keeping the young enthusiastic and engaged with a career in the electronics industry. With youth comes enthusiasm, energy, fresh ideas and potential, all vital factors in keeping the UK electronics industry thriving.
With this in mind, Soumac has joined forces with Southampton University to offer their Electronics and Computer Science students the opportunity to enter the prestigious Soumac Award. The award recognises an outstanding student project and gives the winner the chance to showcase their project at the renowned Southern Manufacturing and Electronics Show in Farnborough.
For the chance to secure the Soumac Award, the opportunity to display their final year project at the Southern Manufacturing Show and win a £100 cash prize, Soumac have asked the Electronics and Computer Science students to simply explain how their university project utilises PCBs or impacts on the electronics industry.
To be shortlisted for the Soumac Award, the final year projects needed to display the student’s passion and enthusiasm for the industry, whilst delivering an innovative use of hardware/software technology that solves a problem and is commercially viable.
After a number of applicants, the final three projects were chosen:
1. The main objective of this project is to re-invent the traditional locking system, comprising of a key and lock with a smart phone (electronic key) and electronics (lock). The electronic lock will comprise of a mcu, servo motor, gsm unit and a bluetooth module. Turn on the bluetooth of the phone and pair up the smart lock using an initial passkey, after that the user has to enter another password, which sends data to the smart lock via bluetooth. If the correct data is sent, the lock opens, if not, it warns the user of a possible intrusion by sounding an alarm, sending a sms to the real owner.
2. A small scale quadcopter platform for robotic swarm development. The project was a practical feasibility study into small scale quadcopters using a novel PCB frame. The increasing popularity of quadcopters as intelligent agents in the swarm robotics community warrants development of suitable hardware platforms. Meanwhile, the scale of standard quadcopters is decreasing as smaller components become less expensive and more readily available. Drawing on recent designs the approach was to use a PCB as the frame but also to keep the propellers in the same plane as the board, which is novel for a quadcopter of this scale.
3. Low cost atmospheric imaging and data collection device. The project consisted of developing and building a device to take readings of temperature, humidity and atmospheric pressure, along with GPS readings and small images from a CMOS camera. The overall objective of the project was to develop a flexible sensing platform that would reduce the price of taking a variety of environmental sensory readings, which is currently quite costly. The device used a custom PCB and a custom 3D printed enclosure, which was required, as the complete unit was designed to fit in the physical constraints of a ping-pong ball. The device successfully underwent 24 hr endurance testing in the lab, as well as a field test, attached to a weather balloon, which ended up in the Nevada Desert. Data was subsequently successfully captured and retrieved from the device.
For the final stage of the competition, each student will present their project to the Soumac directors who will decide which final year project will be crowned the winner of the Soumac Award 2014 and be given the opportunity to take a place on the Soumac stand at the Southern Manufacturing and Electronics Show in February.