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Students showcase innovations at SXSW

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Students presented new ideas from biometric authentication and virtual reality to fashion merchandising and dating apps at the SXSW Interactive Festival.

In the first Texas State Innovation Lab, students showcased innovative technologies on Saturday night at the Hilton Austin.

There were multiple groups present, including some from the Department of Computer Science, Ingram School of Engineering and the School of Family and Consumer Services.

Representatives from the College of Science and Engineering, in partnership with corporate partners, presented an ultrasonic device that provides exact measurements of rotational speed, surface quality and component alignment to be used in industrial and automative mechanics and engineering research.

A team from the Department of Computer Science, in partnership with Google, presented an advanced sensor that tracks the user’s unique eye movements to provide a secure digital password. The sensor can also measure fatigue and remind users to take a break from their screen or sleepy drivers to rest.

Students from the Ingram School of Engineering, in collaboration with NASA, redesigned how radio frequency identification (RFID) tags are scanned, using code-division multiple access (CDMA) as its scheme and requiring a fraction of the energy used by current RFID systems.

“Since NASA wants us to read multiple RFID tags at once, the biggest problem was figuring out exactly how we were going to do that,” said Ramsey Doany, electrical engineering senior. “We were going through a lot of different types of communication systems to try to figure out exactly which one would work specifically for this one.”

An electrical engineering group created a GPS systems that maps complicated underground networks of pipelines to identify leaks and vulnerabilities, which conserve resources and decreases the amount of water wasted.

“With this project we hope to map out all the water distribution networks in the city, and then from there put microphones on top of the water distribution mics to listen for frequencies that are outside of the normal range, which will turn save lots of time and hassle and lots of money for the cities,” said Alex Diaz, electrical engineering senior.

Additionally, another engineering team presented TX20, a reusable system for safely treating water produced by oil and gas extraction. The system does not require landfilling, therefore reducing the cost and risks.

A team from the School of Family and Consumer services, in partnership with Kohl’s, created a customizable mobile app to re-introduce millennials to offline shopping. The app interacts with in-store technology with virtual fitting rooms and expert style advice, creating a unique in-store experience.

A group from the Department of Geography introduced a comprehensive and interactive digital atlas, compiling data and from every school district and public and private university in Texas. The tool can be used by students, policymakers, researchers and journalists to understand relationships between measured 539 variables.

Representatives from the McCoy College of Business Administration showcased UmbralGroup, which uses advanced mathematical models to develop effective strategies for environmental solutions.

Some students from the School of Art and Design presented <3Ds, a dating app algorithm to evolve the online dating experience.

“Our innovation is three niche market apps for dating,” said Ciara Knight, communication design senior. “We have cooking, concerts and volunteering. So these are three ways that people can find their perfect match in a really unique and fun way.”