Innovation, feasibility and practicality were what the judges sought, and what Conestoga College students Stephen Connell, Jonathan Musselman and Derek Novakowich last year put into their final-year comprehensive project.
At Conestoga, their efforts earned them the prestigious Conestoga College Mastercraft Award for the best technical, program-related project in the 2005-2006 academic year. On September 15, 2006, it earned them the $2,000 third-place award in the national IEEE Canada TELUS Innovation Award competition in Toronto. In doing so, their project bested entries from institutions such as the University of Toronto, Ryerson University, the University of Alberta and Dalhousie University.
Sponsored by TELUS Communications Inc. and IEEE Canada (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), the national competition was open to IEEE student members at colleges and universities across the country.
The projects could be individual or team endeavours, but needed to display an innovative approach to employing integrated computer technologies. Furthermore, the projects had to feature a strong design and/or research component with the emphasis on use of innovation that at the same time had strong potential for application in industry in the foreseeable future.
Only nine projects made the cut for the final competition, in which the competitors were required to report both verbally and in writing before a panel of industrial and academic experts and technical media representatives.
The Conestoga project is known as a DAP, or DigiPhase Acoustic Processor. It employs a remote mobile calibration module that provides quality digital sound processing for home entertainment centres, regardless of how the owner arranges the system components and furnishings in the room containing the centre. The DAP allows any system to sound at its best by automatically compensating to ensure sound quality.
Stephen Connell is from Paris, while Jonathan Musselman and Derek Novakowich are from Kitchener. Connell and Novakowich graduated from the Computer Engineering Technology program at Conestoga and Musselman from the Electronics Engineering Technology - Telecommunications Systems program.
At the IEEE-TELUS competition, the first prize of $10,000 went to Scribe: A Real-Time Transcription Tool, the project submitted by Memorial University of Newfoundland. The $5,000 second prize went to the project from the University of Saskatchewan, iHold Music on Hold Device.