Announcing the winners of the Engineer Your World Challenge!

Feb. 2, 2021


We, along with the College of Engineering, are excited to announce the winners of the Engineer Your World Challenge!

The Challenge, sponsored by the College of Engineering and run through December and January, tasked student teams with developing solutions to remote learning challenges through use of technology and 3D models. 

"Our 'new normal' has changed the way we have to teach and learn. This challenge brought students across the UA campus together to solve an engineering-based problem,” College of Engineering Dean David Hahn said.

Members of the winning teams will be part of an exclusive entrepreneurial venture cohort with the College of Engineering and FORGE where mentors and industry experts will meet with them to identify market-driven components and paths to viability. They will also be featured at May’s Celebration of Entrepreneurs, an annual FORGE event.

First place: LectureVR 

College students and professors feel that zoom meetings lack social connection, engagement, and a live study environment between professors and students. Zoom classes are not a practical solution for the future of online classes. 

LectureVR will solve this problem by developing a VR classroom app. This is a multi-platform app that gives students and professors a real classroom atmosphere by using a VR head set with Unity software as the developing platform. A “real” classroom space is created where students can attend their lectures live, ask questions, and even talk to other students after their lecture is over. Professors are able to see their students’ avatars and receive live feedback. The product not only enhances and strengthens online learning through an interactive VR learning environment but sparks students’ drive and ambition that may have been weakened or lost when online classes began.

Team: Yuchao Liao, third year doctoral electrical and computer engineering; Cassandra Limas, MBA; Lily Luo, Landscape Architect and MBA; Katie Slaughter, second year mining engineering and geology

Second place: Instruct3D

While meeting platforms such as Zoom and Skype have taken huge leaps forward in virtual connection, there is a critical need for available “hands-on resources” that can be used in virtual settings.

Instruct3D solves this problem by creating a web-based, 3D model library/repository that is integrated with UArizona Library/Catalyst Studios and accessible to both teachers and students. The benefits of Instruct3D involve
open-source to teachers and students within UArizona network as well as more “hands-on” virtual resources that can be integrated into the classroom

Team: Adrian Cottam, doctoral civil engineering; Bryan Wong, doctoral audiology

Third place: 3DCapLab

As society embraces the virtual learning environment in the wake of COVID-19, there has become an apparent need to enhance online communication. This format is insufficient, especially in the area of physical models and constructs. Objects such as anatomical models, circuits, and chemical reactions are all harder to view, and by extension, harder to understand.

3DCapLab seeks to solve this problem through developing a service that instructors can use to breach the limits of the virtual environment. The objective is to develop a tool that will use stereoscopic cameras to capture models in three dimensions. Students can view structures as if they were physical objects, granting greater clarity of a complex model and its parts. In a lab setting, this would mean that the instructor’s circuit, anatomical model, or other visual will appear real to students.

Team: Muhtasim Al-Farabi, first year pre-computer science; Haseeb Irfan, second year electrical and computer engineering; Adam Ledford, third year pre-business

Concepts were scored based on clear identification of the problem to be solved, model design, and the creativity of the solution. Participants were also encouraged to form interdisciplinary teams. 

"Great minds may think alike, but great solutions come from diverse skills and experience. FORGE is about molding entrepreneurial minds, so we work with colleges like Engineering and require students to think creatively about solutions" said Brian Ellerman, FORGE founding director. 

“Entrepreneurship isn’t just about coming up with an idea, it’s about bringing it to life. We’re very excited that the challenge winners will take this next step toward putting something real out into the world,” said Aleshia Howell, FORGE challenge coordinator.

We are especially grateful to the challenge mentors, judges and all those who gave generously of their time and expertise to make the challenge a success. It has set the tone for what we have declared as the Year of the Entrepreneur, and we are looking forward to an exciting year ahead.