The last few weeks of Winter semester can be a busy, sometimes stressful time for Capstone teams. The “Antennas in Classroom Education” team is no exception. In fact, unlike most Capstone teams, this group, made up of Enoch Boekweg, Travis Bonner, Sean Crawford, Jacob Holtom, and Shelby Larsen, is competing against other universities internationally. This competition, the Antennas and Propagation Society Design Contest, is hosted by IEEE.
Each year the competition poses a certain challenge for the teams. This year’s challenge deals with antennas in a classroom setting. Teams have to design a system that allows teachers to demonstrate to their students how antennas work.
Jacob Holtom, one of the group members, explained, “The project is to measure the properties of an antenna—so taking any given antenna and seeing how it behaves. Teachers [would use our system] to teach about antennas and maybe take it to actual applications where they can make measurements and perform real experiments.”
Since the systems will be used in classroom settings, it will need to be practical and economical.
“It’s meant to be as simple as possible and to be done for less than $1,500 dollars. Cheap, simple, reproduceable, and you can put any antenna in there and find out a whole bunch about it,” Jacob said.
In November, the team was selected from the first round of contestants to compete in the finals.
The finals will take place in Atlanta this July. Six teams across the world will be competing.
Until then, the BYU team has kept themselves busy refining and building their design.
About the process, Shelby Larson said, “Before, we did all the research, we designed, and we found out what we could do to our design to make it stand out. Now we’re to the stage of ‘let’s make this happen—let’s actually make the system and test it.’ We’re making sure it actually can do all the things we said it could. We’re going to building an actual feasible system that we can compete with when we go.”
This process requires more work than one might think. In addition to actually making the system, they have to provide several types of documents too.
“We have to submit a video now, but then we have to write a whole bunch of paperwork. We’ll get published in the IEEE journal at some point. At the conference, we have to have a poster. We have to bring the system we build at the conference.” Jacob said.
With all the effort they have put in, the team is optimistic for the future.
“It has come together. I’m happy with the design,” Jacob said. “We’re taking raspberry pis above and beyond!”