Design Challenge Instructions

The TeachMePCB Badge is nice, but it's missing something:  The ability to communicate.  You will devise a way for badges to exchange information.

This is strictly a conceptual exercise.  There is no need to create a schematic or layout a PCB.

The Challenge

You will devise a way for future badges to communicate and exchange information.  

The Prizes

1st Place:  Choice between a Keysight DSOX1204G Digital Storage Oscilloscope ($2000 value), a 1-Year Altium Designer Subscription ($7000 value), or bragging rights (non-U.S. winners only get bragging rights)

2nd Place:  Whichever prize the 1st place winner didn't choose. (non-U.S. winners only get bragging rights)

3rd Place:  Whichever prize the 1st and 2nd place winner didn't choose. (non-U.S. winners only get bragging rights)

All contestants:  I will happily recommend you to the sales teams at any sponsor company and see if we can't work out a discount/freebie on your next project.

(* Why is it this way?  My attempts to solicit legal advice to set up an international contest for free fell completely flat.  The quotes for actual legal advice were ridiculous. *)

The Information

Future Badges will utilize a more powerful microprocessor with more available pins and more available memory.  You can assume the microprocessor will have UART, I2C, SPI, GPIO, etc... available to you.  Essentially, assume the pins you need are available, and you can use any synchronous/asynchronous transmission protocol (any physical layer) that you chose.

Communication may be optical, wireless (far-field, near-field), wired, or use any of the sensors currently on the badge (gyroscope, accelerometer, magnetometer, barometer, temperature, etc...)

Communication can be initialized automatically or with a pushbutton switch.

Submission Requirements

Participants will create a video that explains their idea - with diagrams where appropriate.  There is no need to create a schematic, circuit, or computer code.  A block diagram is sufficient.

Participants must submit the following information (in no particular order):

What method they will use to allow the badges to communicate.
The expected cost of implementation (per 1k units).
What information will be exchanged?
How will information be stored/offloaded?
The expected communication distance.
The expected amount of computer code to implement.  (how many lines of code?  How many man-hours to write said code?)
The expected power consumption
How communication errors will be corrected.

(I'd appreciate, but it is not necessary, that you acknowledge the course "" and thank the major sponsors: Royal Circuit Solutions, Advanced Assembly, Digi-Key, Keysight and the other sponsors if time permits)

Submission Format

Participants will create, edit, and upload a video of less than five minutes to the website and provide the link to the video in their submission.  The participant's face/body does not need to be shown on the video.  The video will not be judged based on production quality, but rather the quality of the idea presented.

Judging Criteria

+ 1-5 pts:  Feasibility:  How likely is the method to work?  
+ 1-5 pts:  Originality:  Starting at 5 points, one point will be removed for every duplicate submission.  (e.g., if four participants each said to "do xxxx", then each participant would receive a score of "2")
+ 1-5 pts:  Distance:  How far can these devices communicate?  (+1 devices require a wired connection; +2 devices must touch, but do not require metallized contacts; +3 devices must be within 2-inches of one another; +4 devices must be within 10-feet; +5 devices must be within 100 feet)
+ 1-5 pts:  Speed: How quickly can these devices communicate a full transaction (assuming no transmission errors)? (+5 pts <1 second; +4 pts 1-3 seconds; +3 pts 4-10 seconds; +2 pts 11-20 seconds; 
+ 1-5 pts:  Power consumption: Starting at 5 points, and 10 mW (milliWatts) one point will be removed for every additional 15 mW of energy consumption.  (e.g. a 5 V, 12 mA transmission is 60 mW))
+ 1-5 pts:  Coding Implementation:  How easily can we implement the communication scheme?  (+5 code exists, just need to copy/paste; +4 code exists, but must be modified slightly <1 hr); +3 code requires some modification < 3 hrs; +2 code snippets exist, but requires significant modification; +1 code must be created from scratch)
+ 0-3 pts:  Error Correction (+0 No error correction routine, +1 error detection routine in place, +2 error detection and 1-bit correction routine, +3 error detection and retransmission scheme in place)
+ 1-5 pts:  Cost of implementation:  (+5 <$0.10, +4, <$1.00, +3 $1.01<$2.49, +2 $2.49<$4.99, +1 >$4.99)
+ 1-5 pts: Information Density 1 point will be awarded for each of the following items (+1 32-byte: Participant Name; +1 32-byte: Participant email; +1 32-byte: Particpant Badge Sensor Info; +1 8-byte; approximate distance; +1 32-byte: Participant Website)
+ 1-5 pts: Information Offload:  How will information be stored/offloaded?  (+5 wireless offload to computer; +4 wireless offload to smartphone; +3 wired offload via USB; +2 wired offload via SD card; +1 no-offload, user must scroll)
+ 1-3 pts: Transmission Format (+3 full-duplex; +2 half-duplex; +1 simplex)
+ 5 pts: Judges Discretion (Creativity, Presentation, Liklihood of future use)

You will authorize the major sponsor companies to use your video / ideas for promotional and marketing purposes in perpetuity.  TeachMePCB can use your idea in a future badge design (with attribution)

Last modified: Monday, 27 July 2020, 2:29 PM