A Diverse Panel of Judges is Ready for our Innovation Challenge
The Keysight Innovation Challenge is a source of pride and passion for many of us here at Keysight, as well as for our student contestants and our judges. It touches so many important issues from addressing climate change to fostering STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education, inspiring students' enthusiasm for innovation, and elevating the role of women in engineering.
This year, women-led teams of university students have generated some big ideas to address the United Nations' global goal to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Students worldwide are competing for up to $30,000 in cash and an additional $30,000 in Keysight test equipment for their school.
This year’s challenge is to design and secure an IoT device or network of devices to monitor carbon emissions in corporate and community environments. We announced our six finalist teams in July. These teams hail from universities in India, Malaysia, Poland, and the United States. Their innovations include systems for monitoring and analyzing crucial environmental conditions (e.g., greenhouse gases, oxygen, temperature and humidity) in a clever variety of form factors (e.g., drones and sensor “trees”). The solutions can guide how to improve fuel efficiency in cars, which foliage to plant to reduce CO2 most effectively, and which carbon neutrality protocols work best in a given situation.
The finalists were chosen by a combination of a popular vote online, as well as our expert judges. Each team was given a stipend to help them develop prototypes and demos, and they have the rest of the summer to prepare their final entries. In October, they will present their innovation to the judges during a live-streamed event.
We are honored to have a diverse and discerning panel of judges whose own challenge is to choose the best of the best from a strong field of contenders. Our confirmed list of judges include:
• Mehdi Sadaghdar is an electrical engineer and popular YouTube influencer based in Vancouver. His series, ElectroBOOM, provides entertaining and fun tutorials about electronics that perfectly complement the Innovation Challenge by encouraging viewers to explore STEM subjects and to develop a curious and “out of the box” mindset. With more than a million subscribers and episodes with tens of millions of views, Sadaghdar treats us to his own special form of “electroshock therapy” in every video.
• Anand Lalwani and Gabriella Garcia are former Keysight Innovation Challenge winners.
Garcia graduated from MIT with a focus on augmented reality and has held product development positions with Google, Apple, and Facebook. She and her MIT team earned a 2019 Innovation Challenge win with an innovative mesh network of sensors and an analytics dashboard that guides farmers on the optimal allocation of resources for their crops.
Lalwani and his team won the grand prize in the 2019 Innovation Challenge with a solution for detecting water contamination faster and less expensively than current methods. Since his team’s success in the challenge, Lalwani has earned his PhD from Stanford and co-founded a company that helps large enterprises adopt and manage fleets of robots.
• From Keysight, I am joined on the panel by Mark Wallace, our senior vice president of global sales, Jeff Harris, vice president for portfolio and corporate marketing, and Susan Morton, senior director of research and development.
The Innovation Challenge was Harris’s brainchild, and he continues to shape the program behind the scenes, as well as by sitting on our panel of judges. Morton brings special insight because of her computer science experience combined with her business and leadership acumen. She also serves as a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Champion for Keysight.
It’s my genuine honor to be a judge and sponsor of such a worthy initiative. I wrote about this in Fast Company a couple of months ago, but the Keysight Innovation Challenge is a great example of bringing together corporate sponsorship and the individual efforts of passionate employees, influencers and students to innovate for a cause. Join us in October for the live-streamed competition and watch the future of sustainability developing before your eyes.