A team of Illinois Institute of Technology students took the top prize in the 2022 Keysight Innovation Challenge for its novel “Tree of Life” Internet-of-Things device, which collects data from the soil and the atmosphere around it to determine the best trees to plant for maximum carbon dioxide capture and optimum growing conditions.
The Illinois Tech team came in first out of an international group of 52 teams after giving its final presentation on October 29, 2022.
The team’s impressive design won the students $30,000 in cash, as well as $10,000 worth of Keysight test equipment for Illinois Tech.
The team includes Chloe Rubinowicz (EE, M.S. EE 5th Year), Saurabh Saluja (CPE, M.S. CPE 5th Year), Colin Prochnow (CCSE, M.S. CPE 5th Year), Kaya Jones (CS 2nd Year), Anthony Banuelos (CCSE, M.A.S. CYF 5th Year), and Katarzyna Staron (ME, M.S. ME 5th Year).
The team says the “Tree of Life” was designed as a response to the urgent need for solutions to curb carbon emissions. Soil and forests are the two most essential carbon sinks on Earth, and the “Tree of Life” is designed to maintain and protect both.
The device is planted into the ground, where it collects information about the soil nutrients, measures local carbon dioxide levels, and uses a neural network to identify surrounding trees or other obstructions. The team designed an algorithm that then evaluates this data using a database of more than 2,000 trees and recommends the optimum tree to plant in that location.The 2022 Keysight Innovation Challenge asked students to create an IoT innovation that provides carbon neutrality corporate site monitoring, multi-site monitoring, or community monitoring. The device had to communicate wirelessly, be easy to deploy by a non-expert in a secure fashion, and be able to handle sensitive data.