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Innovating solutions to everyday problems with the Calhoun Honors Discovery Program

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Category: academics Video duration: Innovating solutions to everyday problems with the Calhoun Honors Discovery Program
The Calhoun Honors Discovery Program brings together students from different majors to work with industry partners in creating solutions to problems they face daily.

This was started from a donation from David Calhoun, who is a Virginia Tech alumnus. We work with different majors on campus and we put them together in teams. And these students from all these different majors come together and they work on these projects. And they work with people from the field. So maybe people from Boeing or Caterpillar or General Electric. There's various non-profits we work with. And they go through the process of, well, here's the problem, real-world problem. How do we tackle this? How do we talk to the stakeholders? How do we go through and figure out what a solution might be and come up with that. And then if they need to, they prototype or build a solution of some kind. So the EHD is basically it's an energy harvesting device. You can place it throughout your home and be able to harvest energy. So we have right now a solar EHD and a piezo EHD. So the piezo EHD, you can put on like a washing machine, something like that. And then from the movement of that machine, you actually are able to harvest energy. We are working on a Bluetooth indoor positioning system. So the last thing that we're kind of waiting on us to make sure that each of these anchor nodes, those things you see mounted, are communicating with the chips. We're trying to track where the chip is. We're putting it on a tool, and our goal is to simulate tracking tool on a manufacturing facility. We are working with Boeing. They're very responsive to us and it's been a phenomenal experience to work on something in school and have real people be like, Oh, this is great. We're also working on something that's at Boeing or like Boeing could pick up a project like this. Universities are really good at churning out people in specific fields, right? So like really good an aerospace engineer whose specialty is fluid dynamics. But that's what they do, but they don't have a lot of range and other aspects and so you can put them in a project and they have this specialty, but they have a hard time seeing problems from other points of view. I have the very specific perspective because of the school that I'm doing, but to talk to an electrical engineer and then be like, Oh no, that's not how the radio waves work. You want to, you know, it's like tracking tool this way. So to have that perspective from them. And then I'm like, oh, this is a great idea. And then the best majors, like wait a minute, what are the costs? So to be able to learn all three of those things, to have that knowledge going into the workforce is great because you're going to have to work with all kinds of people when you get there.