UA engineering students win Entrepreneurship Award at prestigious Cornell Cup competition

05/12/2014

UA engineering students (from left) Dylan Fashbaugh, William Lorence, Kyle Lepley, Brian Lesnak

A team of electrical and computer engineering seniors received the Entrepreneurship Award, a $1,000 cash prize, at the third annual Cornell Cup USA, presented by Intel in Florida early in May 2014.

The students (now UA graduates), Dylan Fashbaugh, William Lorence, Kyle Lepley, and Brian Lesnak, competed against 30 other teams with their senior capstone project, a portable variable digital audio processor (VDAP) that uses a brain-computer interface and a smartphone to wirelessly control sounds effects during live musical performances.  

The VDAP is the first system to allow users to generate sound effects "on the fly" during a live performance and is controlled with a brain-computer interface, replacing the traditional foot-operated switches and pedals used in live effects systems today with a lightweight headset that monitors the user's thoughts. When the user thinks of a specific command, such as turn on distortion effect or increase the volume, the software performs the specified action.

The UA team also received one of eight honorable mention awards for the VDAP.

Faculty advisors on the project were Arjuna Madanayake, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and S.I. Hariharan, professor of electrical and computer engineering, and University of Akron alumnus Dan Bogunovich (B.B.A. Finance ’13) helped the team develop their business plan.

The Cornell Cup is a systems engineering competition hosted by Cornell University and sponsored by Intel, Mathworks, among other companies. The college-level embedded design competition was created to empower student teams to become the inventors of the newest innovative applications of embedded technology. Each team is provided with a pair of DE2-i150 boards made by Intel to use in the creation of their project, as well as $1,500 in funding.