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Engineers present innovative designs
by Garrett Valenzuela gvalenzuela@dailysparkstribune.com
May 05, 2012 | 1715 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune/John Byrne
Enginering students (from left) Nathan Mayes, Kyle Whitcome and Steve Flores pose Friday in front of their product presentation for The Car Battwatch, a device that automatically texts you when your car battery is low.
Tribune/John Byrne Enginering students (from left) Nathan Mayes, Kyle Whitcome and Steve Flores pose Friday in front of their product presentation for The Car Battwatch, a device that automatically texts you when your car battery is low.
slideshow
Tribune/John Byrne
Engineering students (from left) Nathan Mayes, Steve Flores and Kyle Whitcome are the developers of The Car Battwatch, a device that measures the voltage of your car battery and automatically alerts you if it is running low.
Tribune/John Byrne Engineering students (from left) Nathan Mayes, Steve Flores and Kyle Whitcome are the developers of The Car Battwatch, a device that measures the voltage of your car battery and automatically alerts you if it is running low.
slideshow
RENO — Engineering class projects and presentations morphed into full business plans to develop and market their unique products at the University of Nevada, Reno. Senior engineers in Dr. Yantao Shen’s Electrical Engineering Design class presented their prototypes Friday for a variety of products to convenience everyday life.

K.N.S. Wireless Solutions, lead by the managing team of Nathan Mayes, Kyle Whitcome and Steve Flores, designed their product, “The Car Battwatch,” to stop a problem that happens to 51 percent of cars: a dead battery.

“This is something that had not been done before, at least not this cheap,” Whitcome said. “Other products have installation fees or monthly fees that our device does not require.”

The prototype of their device is a small black box that houses a voltage meter, cell phone modem and SIM card. It plugs into the cigarette lighter and measures your car’s battery life every 10 minutes. Should the battery reach a low point of about 11 volts, the internal cell phone modem is triggered and an alert text message is sent to the user in less than 40 seconds.

“We have designed it to be nonintrusive, compatible with any phone with text messaging and easily portable to any vehicle,” Mayes said.

Whitcome, who came up with the idea for the Battwatch, and Mayes said that upon further development of their product they would no longer need the cigarette lighter, giving the Battwatch its own battery without having to increase the size of it by a large margin.

Flores, who manages the marketing side of the business, conducted a survey of general consumers who said they would only pay about $12 for the Battwatch.

“It cost about $200 to make the prototype, which is more than we expect the (internal battery) device to cost, but we feel that rental car companies and possibly the news media would have a use for this product,” he said. “Once our product is purchased, the only real cost consumers would need to pay is to their cell phone provider.”

Both Whitcome and Mayes will graduate later this month, with Flores finishing in December, and they expect the release version of the product to take until the end of summer to finish.

An additional presentation and demonstration was put on by Smart Solutions, LLC for their product, “Sound Solution.” The product, developed by the management team of Ryan Black, Michelle Ramirez and Travis Olsen, is designed to control the volume of a television based on the amount of ambient noise in the room.

“Using infrared sensors, like the ones used in your regular TV remote, and a built-in microphone the device will adjust the volume of the television when a sudden loud noise enters the room,” Ramirez said citing instances such as the air conditioner or washing machine turning on. “Once the Sound Solution has learned the infrared code from the remote it can control the volume, based on the setting of the threshold, without the use of the remote.”

Other presentations included a fingerprint-secured diary by HNS Electronics, which allows entry to the diary by scanning a low-power fingerprint sensor. Grabitech presented their “Tag n’ Grab” system for locating often misplaced items using an Android application and Bluetooth technology. Finally, Aeolus Innovations displayed their “SoniVent,” a product that closes off the air vent to an unoccupied room using a temperature and sound monitoring system.
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Engineers present innovative designs by Garrett Valenzuela gvalenzuela@dailysparkstribune.com


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