Experience in TI Analog Design Contest

Had completely forgotten to update the Phase 2 thing!! Soon coming …. TI- ADC-2011 Phase 2 details! The best experience 🙂 Wait… for few days.. I m still recollecting the memories. 🙂

Who has what? Just wait!

 

Hello guys…!! Well i was wondering what is special in blogging…!! Had been seeing many people doing it.. So wanted to start my own and know what it is and feel it. This is my first blog writing my experience in TI analog design contest 2011. Hope you people like it and also helps many upcoming aspirants 🙂

TI – ADC 2011. This is one of the Analog Design Contest which Texas instruments conducts every year. In India it is called as “TI – INDIA – Analog Design Contest”. TI conducts similar events in many other countries too.

About TI India Analog Design Contest

The contest aims at promoting analog IC based-hardware system design in engineering institutions. This year, we are opening the contest to postgraduate students also, so that Masters and Ph.D. students can also take part! The contest will be organized in two phases.

Phase 1 – Intra College Challenge

At least three teams must be received from a college for the college to be qualified for Phase 1. Each team must consist of two or more undergraduate students OR two or more postgraduate students (mixing is not allowed). The proposals will be reviewed by an expert panel and the selected teams and colleges will be notified. It is expected that these teams will independently work on the project and submit a final report and a video of their project demonstration. TI will provide the hardware for these projects subject to constraints (see below). The
project reports and videos will be reviewed by an expert panel and one team from each college will be declared a winner. The winning teams of Phase 1 will receive a cash prize. The winning teams will have the opportunity to enter
Phase 2.

Phase 2 – Inter College Challenge

Winning teams of Phase 1 will be invited to an Educator’s conference where they will have the opportunity to showcase their projects. A team of experts will declare three winners in Phase 2. The top prize, Tom Engibous Award, named
after former CEO of TI, will fetch the winning team USD 10,000. The first runner-up prize, will fetch the winning team USD 5000. The second runner-up prize will fetch the winning team USD 2000. In addition, several additional
1 prizes will be awarded to recognize excellence in innovation and project execution.
For more details log on to http://www.uniti.in/adc/adc

How the year passed by…

Well.. This was all about the competition. Coming to main part… The journey towards TI-ADC had begun about 1.5 years ago!!! I was looking at our seniors doing the project for TI-ADC-2010. The small small components which TI had
given used to inspire me. I had taken one decision at that time that next year I will be part of this competition. It was month of January… I heard that one among my seniors got selected for phase 2 and also earned money 😛 My
Interest grew… Started browsing internet to know more details of competition. I found that one should require Ideas to enter this competition. It was not like some Robotics Competitions happening at IITs!!! Here the troubles started!!
From where should I get the idea!! It does not pour down na!!! Moreover the idea should be unique and my own!!! Ah…!!! Complete for one month I stick to computer for searching idea… Well.. In vain i found nothing… Meantime
TI-ADC-2011 announced!!! Lecturers in the college started describing about the competition in the classes!!! Competitions inside the college grew!!! My friends like me started running for ideas.. Started recruiting teams members :P!!! So did I!!! I approached by close friends and formed a team. We all started in search of ideas… Lectures called for submission of Ideas and explain it to them. They put a dead line…. Many had already got brain storming ideas… We still were empty handed…

Fuse burnt, Idea Flashed 😛

One day a week before dead line… we had a birthday party… After finishing the party we were returning. As we walked in the footpath towards the college, we found a Man asking for address in the medical store. He was doing all sort of hand actions. It was quiet crazy!!! The medical store person was not able to know what he was conveying. We observed carefully and understood that he was mute person.(WE WONT USE DUMB word… Read on.. U will know Why!!). After the man repeated for few times, the store person understood what he was asking for. He showed the way. The incident which happened in front of our eyes had an impact on us. We wanted to do something for the
man. But what??? We discussed among ourselves in the college and at last decided lets make the man speak!!! Crazy idea we got and considered that we are applying this idea for the contest. Now we are stuck with new problem. How
can you make a mute person speak! If it was possible it would have done long before. Again we went near god “GOOGLE” and started searching for different methods in which these people communicate. Among all these we found that
hand signs was used most widely to communicate. And we understood the crazy actions what the man had done was hand signs!!! The idea which was overall was Convert Hand sign to Voice!!

We came up with a block diagram for this idea. It had just three basic components 1) Input 2)Controlling System 3)Output !!! 😀 We started exploring for more better solution. We shared our idea with our seniors and asked for their
suggestions. They said to proceed with the idea. We started debugging block diagram… Each one was assigned a job. At the end of the day we all sat together and discussed what we found. One day was left for submission in the
college. And our abstract was not ready. The best part was we did not know how to write an abstract. Some how we were able to know what components we might require and wrote the abstract as we used to write notes! Took couple
of printouts and approached staff on the last day for mentoring us! First we described the idea to our mentors. And they said they will assist us. End of the day we were able to submit the abstract to concerned faculty. Next day we
went and inquired how many teams have approached. They said around 25-30. And also they said they will short list 20 initially. And will submit to Head of Department for further short listing. When we heard the number and procedure
we were sure we might not get selected. We did not lose hope. We decided if we don’t get selected we will continue the project. We continued for more details about the sensors required,etc. Meantime we used to wait for the result.
The short listed team names came after a week. Just 10 team were shorted from 20!!! The lecture called us and said… “HOD has selected your project to submit to the TI-ADC-2011”. We were very happy. And myself very happy. Because at least I can apply now!! 🙂

Submission of the Idea to TI

TI announced that the CMT Link is activated and interested students can apply for the competition with necessary documents. With the help of the mentors we wrote our first Abstract. We browsed and decided some basic TI ICs which is required. Created an account in CMT website and uploaded. Remaining 9 teams did the same. This time we were quiet fast. Uploaded all document before a day. We continued the search for more data and information. We were feared that we wont be selected. The fear was because, TI such a big company, will it look to small idea like ours! That was a big question roaming my head all the night and day.

Results!!!

I used to check CMT site,my emails and their web page daily. This happened for more than 15 days… One day, my friend who was a senior called up and said, “hey dude, We didn’t make it. We didn’t get selected for TI”.They had a
brilliant idea though. I was shocked and lost hope. But result is result right! I being team leader for my group had to convey ,message. Ran to cyber center and browsed for result. The UNITI web page showed, TEAM NO COLLEGE TITLE TEAM LEADER TEAM MEMBERS. … .. …. …. And I could not wait any longer. Pressed CTRL+F, Searched for my name. The chrome described … Found (1/1)!!! 😀 Phew!!! I understood our team did it!!! browsed down.. Found the project name in the list… TEAM 16 B M S COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING .. . . . . The moment was the best feeling which I felt. Later I informed my team mates and others who had got selected. And also I felt sorry for those who didn’t make it. I checked my mail and found the confirmation of selection. CMT website was as it was. I informed my mentors. Next day we treated ourselves and found many friends congratulating!! First time experience,TI provided it!!

NO REPLY FROM TI

After the selection, the TI said they will contact us with in a week regarding how to proceed next. Week passed… 10 days passed!! No reply from them… I rechecked the CMT site to see whether I had given correct email address. Contacted other teams and checked whether they received any… On the 12th day, they replied!! They had given additional rules of the competition. In the phase 1 we had to design and verify the circuit or problem statement what they had given. It was an experiment to conduct. We were TEAM A.

PHASE 1A

We had quiet a time for PHASE 1. Initially we were worried about the experiment!! Hardly a few experiment works in lab!! and We were thinking what to do. Later we found that TI is providing one Analog Experimental board, we were quiet happy. TI people mailed stating that they had mailed the board. It was about 15 days after they had said about the experimental board. We didn’t get any. Since we had to submit the experimental results, we went to purchase the components required for the experiment. TL082 from TI was not available in many shop… For 2 consecutive days we searched and at last we found it. By the time we had read the data sheet of the IC. We really didn’t know how to read the data sheet till then. Something went to head and many things went above. We re-read the data sheet almost 10 times. By the time we were ready with the design and calculations, we designed our own circuit and took permissions to conduct the experiment in the labs. We designed circuits in TINA 9 software. We didn’t know head and tail of the software, but it was fun learning it. We learnt the software from designing a potential divider circuit. We later advanced for difficult circuits. We found the theoretical values. We later tried the same practically and found that we didn’t get the expected values. We designed similar circuits with known IC 741 and checked. We didn’t get our theoretical values. We thought we might have done some mistakes in circuit soldering. After 2 days we got the experimental board. It had a manual. We had never worked on the experimental board so far. We took couple of
days in understanding what exactly the board has. The main problem was how to give power supply for the board!!! There were no options any where. No wires. The manual showed that there is a power cable and it was not there in
box. Using multi-meter we found the power points and designed our own power circuit. We searched different papers online related to the experiment and read it. We had not done that experiment before. The phase 1 was happened during
our holidays. Semester End Holidays. Fast Track / Supplementary Classes were happening. And we used to go to college during that time. 🙂 Friends used to ask us, “Hey which class u have? Which subject you flunked!!!” So did some
lectures. Almost one month full vacation we had spent it in the college. It was real fun answering these people questions. The best part was we used to bunk class during college and now during holidays we were going to college!!!
Coming back…. Mentors provided with their knowledge with the experiment. We formulated our own procedure. We again tried the circuit and found that we are not getting what we are supposed to get. After much trail and error method we found one set of values satisfying the requirements. We were happy. We took many values and started writing the report. At last we were done with the experiment and report. We showed the results to mentors and submitted it. To be frank, the experiment which we had got was one among the simplest and we had made it one among the complex! 🙂 TI people said they will announce the results. We waited but we didn’t get any. Later we understood that result
will given given all together.

PHASE 1B

Components Submission

We had submitted the reports of phase 1A. TI people asked for giving list of components required for the project. We searched and found out components which is required for us. We helped others to decide. Seniors shared their experiences in selection of components. All the teams met and decided on each ones components. We submitted the components request to TI.

One day at TI

It was September 5th. The requested samples had arrived at TI office and 2 students were supposed to go there and collect it. Myself and my senior Nandish, decided to go and collect the components from them. We left college at 7 and started towards TI. I never had been to CV RAMAN NAGAR, nor was Nandish. As usual GOOGLE MAP with GPS navigation helped us to reach to CV RAMAN NAGAR. We were riding on a bike. I was looking around the road and was feeling how many MNC are there in Bangalore. When i was in my small village, during my 12th classes, one of my uncle had said, “ In Bangalore, If u throw a stone in the air, it will hit either an Engineer or MNC Buildings”. I felt that he has said it right!! We crossed HAL, moved towards BAGUMANE TECHPARK. The work of METRO was in progress and I saw the METRO train for the first time there. Al last we reached Bagumane tech Park. The security was very tight and asked for ID cards at the main gate. Later they allowed us after verifying. Tall and posh buildings were there in the
park. I was just staring at it. TI company was 4th in the row, after Motorola. The company was covered with sun glare glasses. The campus was so clean that I imagined I have landed in Singapore. We entered the company. After parking the bike we moved towards enterance of the company. There were two buildings and we didn’t know which to go! We moved towards right first and found the label, Canteen. We moved much front. and started clicking photos. Took couple of pictures and soon security found us and shouted, “You are not allowed to take pictures here. Where are you going?” We said“Oh, We didn’t know. Sorry. We wanted to go to company’s reception counter”. The security people were honest and guided us to reception. As we entered, the doors opened automatically. It was not normal automated door. Before I step into mat it used to detect me. I found there was some sensor which can detect the presence! The reception counter had three sets of high cushioned chairs. Haven’t seen such cushioned chairs in my life! A table with books. To the left there was door. It was totally secured and towards the right showcase and toilet. We took our ID cards and registered in the reception. I slowly moved towards the showcase. There were trophies, certificates,etc… The thing which impressed me was the right showcase, where they had kept different stages of IC fabrication starting from Sand!!! Never in my life before I had seen a Silicon wafer nor inside an IC. I wished my team mates where here. The sand,Silica,Silicon wafers,rectiles,… all were placed one after the other describing complete step by step of fabrication!. I was wondering. I felt imagination had come true.For half an hour I looked into each and every stuffs. Later I moved to toilet as my tank was full. They had embedded Electronics even in the toilet. There were many sensors. The best was the sensor which said germ contents in the toilet. If the sensor goes high, that means the toilet has to be subjected to maintenance. Later I moved and sat in the cushioned chairs. I met few people and made few friends. There were people who where speaking to go to Cambridge University,writing GRE,etc. I saw Dr.C P RAVIKUMAR, wearing green and black colored dress. Sir Sagar J came and checked whether all college had arrived. They later called all of us to their auditorium. The Dr. Ravikumar spoke and described about phase 1B of contest. They gave away the components and clicked photos with us. After clearing doubts, coffee and tea was served. We moved back to reception and waited for our components. We got the components and verified it and moved back towards the bike. Well, I didn’t want to return but I had no option too… We left to college and distributed the components the next day.

Back to project

We started slowly… We had decided upon the components but were not sure of the circuits. Again we divided the task and each one of us read different datasheets an designed different circuits. If one was doing sensor circuit other was busy with display circuit. Many a times we used to get stuck while designing and had referred our text books and asked for help from mentors. We later verified the circuit operations in TINA and Multisim. Classes had also begun
and we had to work parallel. It was November when TI asked for Intermediate report. We just had finished 1/4th of the project. The input side of the project was almost complete. We felt that we are stuck. So we decided to meet deaf and Mute people. We searched for 3 to 4 days for these people and found none. One of my friend, gave me a address in shivajinagar. He said that there is a hospital for these people. The next day was November 14th and We moved to that place. We spoke with many doctors present there. We told who we where and why had we come. We said “ We are here to know more about the hand signs used by deaf and dumb people. Can you help us?” The immediate response from the doctors was,“Dont call them as dumb people. Why do you use such a word. Those people are not dumb, they just cannot speak. They are just mute” The words what they told really meant a meaning to all of us. That is why we stopped using the word DUMB and we use MUTE. We met nearly 5 to 6 doctors and referred their library. We got lot of answers for our
questions We returned from there to college and continue the project. We had to submit the intermediate report. Night outs we did to finish the report. We had surprise quiz’s and exams in the college and we had surprise problems in the
project. Well we were totally into it by then. December month after finishing intermediate report we decided to give break for the project as our semester exams begun. For one month we just kept our progress very slow.

Final days

Exams finished on January 6th. We almost had forgotten what and all we did in the project. For two days we just went through what was done. I had written in my room walls about different steps to follow. In 2 days we were back with the project. We understood we wont be able to finish the project. But whats wrong in giving a try was my team mate suggestion. Day we sat together to work and night We used to code and simulate! For 6 days we did the same. Mentors helped us all the time. The demo was working at 11th day. We wanted to do the PCB. So we did it in two days. We didn’t give it to others because they charged heavy and took time. Our final PCB with circuits where ready and we were implementing it on hand on January 20th. We ran trail run, its was not working! 😦 We again ran.. It was not working. Later when we checked for problem we understood that sensor was burnt. We didn’t have time to purchase new sensor 😦 We thought we lost. We removed the senors and looked deep into it. I suggested lets do the operation for the
sensor!! Team mates said “U CRAZY???”. Well I was, because what would you do in the last minute if it does not work. I said “ However sensor is gone. What is wrong in operating it. started reading about sensors again!! This time we
were looking into fabrication!! I bisected the sensor carefully!!! Brought all the medical instruments for operation. Ran a trial run of operation. Found that it might work. The Crazy idea might work. January 22nd, we did the operation!!! Evening it was to see whether the patient sensor is dead or alive!!! Surprisingly it was alive and operation successful!! 🙂 Phew!!! We tested it. We found that it was not behaving as it has o be. A clear understanding of sensor made us realize that some of features of the sensor was lost during operation 😦 There were errors in the output and they are not steady. We thought we lost again!! But later we thought to solve this problem in the program. We rewrote the whole program and started testing it. On January 26th it was working. However we had not started with the report or video still. We complete the report in a day and we finished the video recording the other day. January 28th we called a person who was mute. Well we were in touch much before. We wanted to test the project with him. We assembled the project and tested. It was working good. We did a video of it. It was 28th night when we had finished video and report. We still were left making a single video. TI has shown sample video… we thought how to do it!! 28th night we didn’t sleep. We did the video editing. We had sat for about 32 hours without sleeping or taking rest!!! We learnt video editing,create video and uploaded it. It was end of vacation and We had not gone home still!! We submitted the video. I left towards home. Thinking to spend four days there at least. When we were about the send the report, one of my friend said, the video has spelling mistake!!! 😦 I just had reached home. There is no internet!! January 29th we decided come online. I traveled 40 km to reach a small city where I can get internet. Luckily the internet was quiet speed 🙂 We edited the video and resubmitted it. Successfully we had completed the prototype. We thought we could not complete the prototype but the word “What if we try..” lead us to complete it.

Conclusion

Over all the experience which we got was amazing. I realized my dream, so did my team mates. The project gave an inspiration to our mute friend. So far we have reached… Only Phase 1 is completed… We are waiting for results.
All of us are in cloud nine!! Finger crossed and waiting… As day passes fear of not getting selected increases… This time if we dont get selected we wont be unhappy. We are happy that we could really do something. The TI-ADC
has gave us lot of stuffs to learn. Lot of things have changed in life. We used to study Engineering before, now we are learning Engineering. TI-ADC has given great impact. Well… now we wish… We want to participate again in the
competition. We are searching for ideas…

The video of the project can be seen here in the site :
Hope you liked the blog. And hope to see many participants in 2012 🙂

Few other links where you can download the software which I have used for Phase 1A

TINA 9 : http://www.ti.com/tool/tina-ti

Multisim : https://lumen.ni.com/nicif/us/academicevalmultisim/content.xhtml

Ngspice : http://ngspice.sourceforge.net/download.html

GTKwave : http://gtkwave.sourceforge.net/

Phase 1B :

IAR workbench : http://www.ti.com/tool/iar-kickstart

Code composer studio (CCS): http://processors.wiki.ti.com/index.php/Download_CCS

MSP430 Grace : http://www.ti.com/tool/grace

Others useful :

Filter Pro : http://www.ti.com/tool/filterpro

C2000 for CCS  : http://processors.wiki.ti.com/index.php/C2000_Getting_Started_with_Code_Composer_Studio_v5

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11 comments

  1. Kunal Powar · February 26, 2012

    wishing all the luck to u and the team for the fore coming rounds… 🙂

  2. vinay kumar · February 27, 2012

    first of all, thanks to you buddy…
    aftr reading this blog, it is like a sweet memories and good experience, under one page…. 🙂
    those fights, those treats and biscuits and chocolotes. those chit chatting was really good..

    except for the thing tht we did not hav holidays, everything was superb..

    thanks to our mentors and team mates and frnds who all helped and supported us…
    spl thanks to Texas Instruments.

  3. Srinidhi A · March 6, 2012

    Congrats again…
    btw,the blogpost,not bad for a first timer,you can put down words if you’ve felt them 🙂

  4. seema g s · March 7, 2012

    good one vikram……..
    All d best 4 future endeavours!!

  5. Munish · August 10, 2012

    hey congrats man 🙂
    i am presently doing the same contest and i have to send them the component list …….. was wondering if you can help me in someway of doing this 🙂

  6. jhnanesh · September 18, 2012

    really inspiring vikram…!!! hats offf…:)

  7. Akhil · September 19, 2013

    buddy,this time we got selected for phase 1.Now we are supposed to submit the participation confirmation letter in the CMT website as per the recent communication mail i got.When i logged in to CMT website, i am unable to manage the submissions and there is no option which requests for uploading the file.Please help me out with this

    –akhil

    • msharmavikram · November 25, 2013

      Hi Akhil,

      I am sorry for the delayed reply. I didnt know there was a comment. I hope the problem is resolved.

      Thanks

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