Nagaraj Hegde
Nagaraj Hegde and Matthew Bries took third place for their wireless shoe device.

SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — University of Alabama students Nagaraj Hegde and Matthew Bries, both of whom are electrical engineering students, have been recognized for their work in developing a wireless shoe insole that monitors activity users on a mobile phone app.

Hegde and Bries racked up a third-place finish at the TI Innovation Challenge Design Contest in North America, in partnership with Mouser Electronics. The competition challenged future engineers to use technology from Texas Instruments to create solutions tackling challenges facing society.

Hegde is a graduate student from Bangalore, and Bries is a senior from St. Charles, Missouri.

Of the nearly 180 entries into the contest, three final teams were recognized at the annual award ceremony earlier in July at the TI Engineering and Innovation Hall at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas.

The winners were selected for their use of engineering practices and were judged on industry-ready standards, such as quality of the design and written documentation and effective use of TI technology. Cash prizes were awarded to the top-three finishers to help further develop their design or to go toward academic pursuits. Hegde and Bries were awarded won $5,000 along with the recognition.

The device, named SmartStep, uses a Bluetooth platform developed by Texas Instruments to monitor a user’s activity wirelessly through the insole of their shoes. The activity is displayed to the user through a smartphone app the team developed.

SmartStep is based off technology developed by Dr. Edward Sazonov, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, who studies wearable sensors and technology and was the team adviser for the competition.