Technology team shoots for Cornell prize
A basketball player walks up to the free throw line. He dribbles, shoots — and misses. Normal enough, but many athletes are unable to pinpoint exactly why they missed what could be a critical shot.
Synergetech, a five-person team of computer science technology seniors, is working on a device that will be able to not only show athletes why they aren’t making free throws, but teach them how to improve.
Synergetech is one of two UH teams that are competing in the Cornell Cup, an international competition hosted by Intel. The competition aims to “empower student teams to become the inventors of the newest innovative applications of embedded technology,” according to the official website. The top three winners will receive prizes of $10,000, $5,000 and $2,500.
Zainab Bashir, Katherine Martinez, Corey Miles, Falon Dostal and Jordan Harper submitted a proposal in to the Cup last semester with faculty adviser Xiaojing Yuan. They, and the other UH team, Smart Energy Micro Grid, were the only Texan teams chosen out of a list of universities that includes, among others, the University of Pennsylvania, University of Michigan and Duke University.
The team has received equipment from Harper’s company, Sparks Engineering, and both equipment and software from National Instruments. Intel provides all team members with $1,500 in cash and development boards.
Synergetech “helps the players reduce muscle fatigue,” Martinez said. “Professional players have a really short peak, but at the same time it has a short pulse width. So the people that are not professionals try to really force their shots … they might injure their arms or other muscles.”
The team also hopes the device will be used in other sports, such as golf, and even military training or physical therapy.
“Patients will be able to go to their houses, put on their sleeve, work with it and see the results right in front of them, just using their computer,” Miles said.
“(The results are) easy to analyze, and then we will be able to transfer this data to their doctor and the doctor will analyze it and continue their rehabilitation.”
The results of the sleeve show up on a computer in a format that Miles says looks like a video game.
“So you’ll see the player, see him shoot — as far as technology’s getting, it’s really starting to look like a real person in a video game … we’re going to have the angles, we’re going to have the muscular signals, we’re going to give you information that says here’s what you’re doing right, here’s what you’re doing wrong,” Miles said.
The contest has heavy social media tie-in, and people can vote for their favorite team on the Cornell website. Synergetech expects to complete its device by the time it presents its prototype to the College of Technology April 3, and the final prototype at the Cornell Cup May 1 in Orlando.
Miles hopes to take the device to a commercial market.