element14 has launched the new Smarter Life Challenge, a global design competition which will encourage participants to develop forward-thinking products. The challenge will leverage the technology of single-chip systems, which have the potential to change and improve lives.
The initiative, which will use the Cypress PSoC 4 Pioneer Kit, also aims to create renewed excitement and interest in futuristic appliances, automobiles and environments.
“Despite the prevalence of computers, most of our daily environments and the things within them fail to utilize computing power to intercept problems or improve performance,” said Dianne Kibbey, Global Head of Community, element14.
The majority of refrigerators, washing machines and thermostats, for example, still rely on manual operation. However, a recent report from Pike Research notes the annual value of the smart appliance market is expected to grow from $613m in 2012 to $34.9bn in 2020.
“We’re incredibly excited to kick off this challenge and see what the participants design, as we believe the builds could have real-world implications that make people’s lives easier,” Kibbey added.
Examples of projects that could be explored include a smart oven which can detect when food is sufficiently cooked and send a text or tweet once the timer goes off. A smart coffee maker, as another example, might be able to respond to voice commands and provide text or tweet updates when finished brewing.
“The Smarter Life Challenge gives engineers the opportunity to bring their vision for the future into reality with PSoC 4,” said John Weil, senior director of PSoC marketing and applications at Cypress. “PSoC 4 is the ideal platform for this type of design contest. Its reprogrammable analog and digital fabric allows engineers to design and build things that were not previously possible with a single-chip ARM® Cortex™-M0 system. PSoC 4 brings all this and more to real-world designs for $1.”
The challenge will begin with a three-week qualifying period in which potential participants will submit their design idea, why they came up with it and how they plan to use the PSoC 4. On Wednesday October 2, at 9am and 3pm GMT, Cypress will provide a webinar on the topic of “the smarter life” through the use of the PSoC4.
Once the qualifying phase ends on Monday, October 14, competitors will be selected and sent product. They’ll also be granted a budget of approximately £300, $500 or 350 Euro for accessories and other parts for the build.
Throughout the build phase, competitors will also develop blog posts addressing their ideas, what inspires them and what their key challenges might be. The competition will conclude on Friday, January 17, 2014.
The winner will be determined by a vote on the award-winning element14 Community, which offers design engineers a space to share project concepts with nearly 200,000 members. The grand prize winner will receive an all-expenses paid trip to Embedded World, the world’s largest trade conference of its kind, where they will showcase their designs at the Cypress and element14 booths. Embedded World will take place in Nuremberg, Germany February 25-27, 2014. Other prizes include vouchers for up to $1,500, redeemable at element14’s online retail sites.