Dallas College Team Advances to National Community College Innovation Challenge Finals

A team from Dallas College reached the finals for its AMBER autonomous fire-detection system, which uses drones to alert farmers and local authorities about fire risks. The team will join 11 other finalists at an "Innovation Boot Camp" in Washington, D.C. before a final pitch decides who's No. 1.

The American Association of Community Colleges, in partnership with the National Science Foundation, announced that it has selected 12 finalist teams to advance to the June 2024 final round of the Community College Innovation Challenge—and one of the teams is from right here in North Texas.

A team from Dallas College is among the 12 finalists, advancing to the final round for its project “Autonomous Monitoring for Blaze Emergency Response (AMBER).”

An early detection system that can spot fire risks before they get out of hand, AMBER uses infrared cameras and sensors to alert farmers and local authorities. When it’s combined with a third-party drone provider, AMBER can quickly track and mobilize a rapid fire response, preserving agricutural land from potentially devastating destruction.

Teams will attend an  ‘Innovation Boot Camp’ in June

Now in its eighth year, the CCIC competition seeks to strengthen entrepreneurial thinking among community college students by challenging them to develop “STEM-based solutions to real-world problems.” It also enables students to “discover and demonstrate their capacity to use STEM to make a difference in the world and translate that knowledge into action.”

Teams consist of two to four students and a faculty or administrator team mentor. Finalists—including the Dallas College team—will attend an Innovation Boot Camp in June and interact with entrepreneurs and experts in business planning, stakeholder engagement, strategic communication, and marketplace dynamics.

The boot camp will culminate in a Student Innovation Poster Session on Capitol Hill with STEM leaders and congressional stakeholders.

A final pitch presentation will determine the first, second, and third-place winning teams.

“Congratulations to the 2024 CCIC finalists,” Walter G. Bumphus, president and CEO of AACC, said in a statement. “Once again, I’m inspired by the incredible level of talent and creativity our community college students showcase through the CCIC. Along with our partners at the National Science Foundation, we know this program is a foundation for future scientists, entrepreneurs, and engineers and are very proud to shine the spotlight on these talented future leaders.”

Other finalist teams this year presented solutions for addressing clean water, renewable energy, HIV treatment, healthcare, and assistive technology devices. 

The other 11 finalists are:

Coalinga College (California)
Project: Got Calcium: The New Battery Innovation
The Coalinga College team seeks to switch from lithium to calcium batteries to improve cost-effectiveness, safety, and battery performance offering an eco-friendly alternative for energy storage solutions.

Columbus State Community College (Ohio)
Project: Aquavive’s Ripple Effect: Transforming Water Protection
Aquavive is a groundbreaking pollution detection buoy system that offers pristine, potable water accessible to all. Combined with a user-friendly app, Aquavive promotes environmental monitoring and STEM education with the goal of uniting communities to invest in clean water.

County College of Morris (New Jersey)
Project: Using Molecular Solar Thermal Systems as a Solar Alternative
The County College of Morris team proposes to safely and efficiently increase the world’s energy supply through a molecular solar thermal system. This system is non-toxic, cost-efficient, and can capture light energy as heat, and then convert stored heat as energy.

Henry Ford College (Michigan)
Project: Stay Vigilant with Source Alert
Source Alert is an application that connects to internet search engines and word/image processing services to detect the source of information and display it to the user in real-time. Source Alert can serve to raise public awareness to potential misinformation.

Houston Community College, TX
Project: The MaxCap Supercapacitor
MaxCap offers an energy storage technology solution for the electric vehicle market by introducing metal oxide-vertical polyaniline hybrid supercapacitors, which provide greater performance, sustainability, and cost-efficency than current energy storage options.

Hudson County Community College (New Jersey)
Project: S.E.E. (Sound Enabled Emplacement)
S.E.E. is an assistive technology device designed to guide visually impaired individuals to key areas in their home. Through the use of remote, users activate speakers to emit sounds for navigation, which allows for safe, confident, and independent movement.

Itawamba Community College (Mississippi)
Project: ViruShield: Next-Generation Care for HIV Patients
ViruShield is a subcutaneous pump that tests for HIV viral loads and administers doses of medication to an HIV-positive patient to help increase treatment compliance and prevent AIDs.

Perimeter College at Georgia State University (Georgia)
Project: Georgina Care
The Perimeter College team seeks to redesign cervical cancer screening by offering a noninvasive alternative to the speculum. This alternative makes screening more accessible and has the potential to impact cervical cancer mortality rates, especially in low-income countries.

Red Rocks Community College (Colorado)
Project: Bloom Buster
In all 50 states, harmful algae blooms represent an environmental issue that impacts human health and aquatic ecosystems. The Bloom Buster system can effectively remove suspended particles, algae, and other contaminants from lake water leading to water quality improvement.

University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville (Arkansas)
Project: IntelliCline – Smart Ramp
IntelliCline is a smart ramp solution that can adjust slope, height, and temperature to enhance accessibility for people with disabilities. By eliminating common barriers, IntelliCline improves quality of life and creates more inclusive communities.

Virginia Western Community College (Virginia)
Project: Plastic Up Cycling
The Virginia Western team proposes an affordable and sustainable way to reuse plastic through the development of a 3D filament printer, which turns recyclables into reinforced filament. The filament is being used to create specialized materials to rebuild a local school playground.

For updates about the 2024 Innovation Boot Camp and the winners, you can follow @Comm_College or visit www.aaccinnovationchallenge.com

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