This blog was posted on behalf of Zach King, a Program Manager at Intel’s University Program Office (UPO). Zach and other UPO members support several strategically important collaborations with leading Computer Science and Engineering universities.
Who would have thought that a demo titled “The Cow Whisperer” would win first prize in a competition designed to put Intel’s Next Unit of Computing (Intel® NUC)—a PC that fits in the palm of your hand with the power of a desktop—into the hands of college students? But this was just one of the amazing projects that 10 teams of innovative students presented as a part of the Intel NUC Challenge.
The business case was compelling for the Cow Whisperer that can save ranchers time and money by alerting them to when their cows are sick by using collars to collect biometric data that is relayed back to ranch headquarters via a drone with a NUC inside.
Team leader Jorge Berrios was inspired while flying into New Zealand and seeing hundreds of sheep scatter as the plane descended to the runway. He considered that sheep and cattle and similar animals are often scattered over hundreds if not thousands of acres. For example, saving one cow from Bovine Respiratory Disease, the most devastating disease for cattle in North America, with early detection would save a rancher some $4500 U.S.
Second place went to an affordable self-piloting quadcopter. While multi-rotor systems can cost $50,000 or more, the NUC paired with a Microsoft Kinect* 3D imaging system costs around $1,000 and uses newly released consumer hardware and open-source software. The team developed custom algorithms that allowed for centralized control and took advantage of the ability of the system to capture 20 frames per second.
A system to visually display network security data took third place. In this demo, an NUC powers an interactive display that presents technical information in a visually appealing fashion that opens up the realm of network security to a larger audience and attempts to democratize network data. Music was also added because “music gives you the gestalt of the experience” according to the team.
Other demos included:
- NUC Health inspired by a hospital IT administrator frustrated with lack of real-time information for patient care
- Viking Motorsports Pit Stop Station for wireless telemetry and charging of an electric race car
- Anti-Pig which provides oil pipeline sensor data without shutting down the pipeline, emptying the oil, and sending a “pig” through the pipe to investigate potential leaks
- Uncloud which provides cloud services when power and internet access are inconsistent or unavailable
- Ultimate Home PC Theater that eliminates the need for cable or streaming players and allows control from your smart phone
- Rocket Network Bridge from the Portland State Aerospace Society that uses the NUC as an integrated server allowing users to view telemetry and video data directly from the rocket in real time
- Interactive Treadmill that allows runners to analyze their running form in real time, as well as save profiles and store daily workouts