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ECE Capstone team qualifies as finalist for international IEEE competition


How does one qualify for a free trip to Singapore?

Dating Nick Young (of the Singapore Youngs) proved to be a successful method in Crazy Rich Asians, but it applies to the fictional Rachel Chu only.

For the nonfictional variety of people, there’s another way: the Annual IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society Student Design Contest. It earned five BYU electrical and computer engineering seniors tickets to the island nation.

Seniors Whitney Kinnison, Ben Francis, Batsaikhan “Sam” Ariun-Erdene, Keaton Shurilla, and Elias Guanana compose the team “Dangerous Directivity” and have qualified for the final round of the 2021 contest, which will take place in Singapore this December.

“We hoped for it, but weren’t sure if we’d qualify,” Kinnison said.

The team will be the first in the contest’s history to represent BYU. The contest draws submissions from all over the world, and Dangerous Directivity competed against thirty-five others. Only six teams qualified for the final round, including two other American teams and three from Europe.

Although the contest only requires that half the participants are undergraduates, all five members of Dangerous Directivity were undergraduates in the electrical and computer engineering program.

Their challenge was to demonstrate the design of an array with beamforming capability for Direction of Arrival (DoA) determination in a practical application and provide educational material to explain it.

Dangerous Directivity met the challenge by coming up with a fixture that simply allows a user to simply walk around the installation with a handheld radio transmitter. They use an overhead projector to demonstrate how waves follows the user.

They submitted their initial design on paper in December 2020, qualified for the finals, and received $1500 from IEEE to build and test their design. The contest selected them based on their likelihood of achieving the design goal, as well as their project’s creativity and the quality of the written submission.

The fixture came to life during the course of winter semester, and in June they submitted a video of it in action to the contest. They will demonstrate it in person at the symposium in December.

Their design will be used for educational purposes at BYU, and should it win the contest, the team will receive a cash prize of $1500.

But of course, the real prize, as always, will be the friends, memories, and beamforming arrays made along the way.