element14 has started one of its most highly anticipated design challenges ever – the “In the Air” challenge. Supported by partners including Cisco Systems, Texas Instruments (TI), Würth Elektronik, The Eclipse Foundation, Sierra Wireless and Keysight Technologies, the initiative is a global competition encouraging participating engineers to develop pioneering pollution measurement applications.
Challengers will use a core kit featuring the element14 BeagleBone Black, Würth power inductors and TI’s SimpleLink Wi-Fi CC3200 LaunchPad and ultra-low power MSP430FR5969 FRAM LaunchPad. The aim is to create innovative Internet-of-Things (IoT) solutions to measure pollution and relay that information efficiently to enable smart and timely interventions.
“The IoT has applications beyond smart homes and health monitoring,” said Dianne Kibbey, Global Head of Community, element14. “With ‘In the Air’ we hope to facilitate the creation of IoT-based devices that can detect pollution levels and enable resulting actions that improve quality of life and safety for people. The amount of support we’ve received from our partners in this challenge has been outstanding, and we can’t wait to see what our members develop.”
“Obtaining information from sensors is what is truly driving the IoT because the application areas are virtually unlimited,” said Avner Goren, general manager of strategic marketing, Embedded Processing TI. “The ‘In The Air’ design challenge showcases how the IoT can solve real-world problems like air pollution with a wireless sensor network.”
The competitors in the challenge will be provided with the following:
• element14 BeagleBone Black 4G
• TI SimpleLink Wi-Fi CC3200 LaunchPad
• TI ultra-low power MSP-EXP430FR5969 FRAM LaunchPad
• Würth Metal Alloy Power Inductor
• Würth Shielded Power Inductor
• Würth Low Profile High Current Power Inductors
• A 6-month CadSoft Pro License
• Access to the Eclipse Foundation’s IoT platform
• Access to Sierra Wireless’ AirVantage M2M Cloud Platform
In addition, participants will receive a £293 budget for additional parts and prototyping and £39 toward Würth Elektronik’s PCB services. All passive components, connectors, switches and LEDs listed on Würth’s website will be supplied free of charge, and Texas Instruments has also contributed £3063 towards the challenge.
The recruitment period, which starts today, will conclude Monday, 13th October. Ten competitors will be selected to build their designs and blog at the award-winning element14 design community throughout the challenge, addressing their ideas and key challenges. The competition will end 30th January 2015, with the winners announced in early February.
The grand prize is a 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display, a U1273A OLED Multimeter from Keysight Technologies and a TI Bluetooth low energy SensorTag. The Community Choice winner, who will be chosen by a vote on the element14 community, will receive a MacBook Air and a TI SensorTag.


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