Rice team wins top TI design award

Team mobileVision’s smartphone-based device beats nearly 500 other entries for $10,000 prize

A team of Rice University alumni has won Texas Instruments’ fifth annual Analog Design Contest. Team mobileVision¬†took the $10,000 Engibous Prize this week for its invention of a device that allows untrained individuals to take snapshots of a retina outside of a clinical environment for remote diagnosis.

MobileVision team

The mobileVision senior capstone design team won the Engibous Prize in a competition sponsored by Texas Instruments this week. Members, from left, are: front, George Chen and Minhee Park; rear, Kevin Beale, Richard Lattimer and Adam Samaniego. Photo by Doni Howard

The smartphone-based screening device allows people in undeveloped countries to be diagnosed for vision problems and such ocular diseases as glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. Ophthalmologists can then view the images and diagnose patients from afar.

Team members are Richard Latimer, Adam Samaniego, Kevin Beale, George Chen and Minhee Park, all of whom graduated from Rice in May. Latimer and Samaniego will continue their work on the project as Rice graduate students. Team advisers are Ashutosh Sabharwal, a professor, and Ashok Veeraraghavan, an assistant professor, both of electrical and computer engineering.

“The team demonstrated unique leadership and creative problem-solving skills necessary to address an important health care challenge worldwide,” Sabharwal said. “As part of the Scalable Health Initiative at Rice, mobileVision is a crucial step forward to realizing inexpensive and portable vision screening for a large number of vision disorders. We are continuing our work on mobileVision to bring it to the field in the near future.”

Award ceremony

Rice University graduate students Richard Latimer, left, and Adam Samaniego, second from left, accept the Engibous Prize in Dallas this week. With them are Texas Instruments employees, from third left, Brian Crutcher, Kausalya Palavesam, Gene Frantz and Hagop Kozanian. Photo courtesy Texas Instruments

Nearly 500 participants from 40 accredited engineering schools entered the contest, which is named for former TI Chairman Thomas Engibous. Finalists representing a dozen universities presented their projects to a panel of judges July 30 at Texas Instruments’ headquarters in Dallas.

The team, which built its device as its senior capstone design project, some of the work being done at Rice’s Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen, also won the Texas Instruments Award for Engineering Design at this year’s Brown School of Engineering Design Showcase and Poster Competition.

Second and third place went to teams from Oregon State University and the University of Toronto, respectively. The People’s Choice award went to the University of Central Florida.

Rice’s Electric Owl design team won last year’s Engibous Prize for unmanned aerial vehicle to explore¬† Mars.

About Mike Williams

Mike Williams is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.