President's Award Competition

The President's Award Competition (informally known at the Will Senner Competition after former club president Will Senner), launched by former student club president Will Senner, is the primary funding vehicle for students to develop projects with Duke Smart Home program support. There are three categories for projects that can compete: research projects, prototype projects, and implementation projects. Each project and its criteria for judging in the competition are described below. The competition process, project criterion, and eligibility are discussed below.

Competition Process

  1. The first stage of the competition is the grant awards process. Students form a team around a project or research idea in the beginning of the semester. At the project grant awards ceremony, each team's idea is judged, and then a select number of teams will receive funding and support from the Duke Smart Home program. The program has a total of $5000 to award projects.
  2. Every week, teams that receive funding will meet with a Smart Home executive board member to discuss issues and receive outside support for their project. Mid-way through the semester, each supported team will attend a formal "office hours" session, where they will present any problems that prevent the project from continuing successfully. The experts, who are composed of professors and experts knowledgeable in the project focus areas, will provide assistance to the teams.
  3. At the end of the fall semester, there will be a "Trade Show" at an E-social in Twinnie's where teams will bring their projects, completed or partially completed, and present them to the Duke community.
  4. During spring, the same process as described above will occur once again. Teams that were funded in fall can choose to compete for more funding or choose not to. New teams can compete for funding for the very first time as well.
  5. At the end of the year, projects will be judged by Smart Home Executive members, Professors and/or Business Professionals at the Smart Home Competition Final Presentations. Projects not funded by Duke Smart Home will also be allowed to compete as long as they meet eligibility rules. The Cisco Innovation Award will be presented to the team with the highest rating among the judges. The People's Choice Award will be awarded to the team with the highest rating among the people in attendance at the presentations. The team will need to also submit project documentation at the end of the year.

Eligibility Rules

  1. Projects should focus on the idea of promoting "Smarter Living"* (Smarter Living will be judging criterion).
  2. Teams must be composed of at least 50% undergraduates
  3. At least one of the team members must be a Duke Student
  4. If two teams participate with similar ideas, the teams will have to directly compete for project funding
  5. At any time, the Smart Home Executive Board can determine a team to be ineligible based on the above rules, or any other reasonable objection
  6. *Smarter Living: Efforts that result in an increasing quality of life for people. This can be, but is not limited to, projects that improve environmental sustainability, health entertainment, automation, and living comfort. Projects of a purely financial nature, such as a monetary investment strategy, does not constitute smarter living.

Smart Home Project Categories

All projects will focus on "living smarter", and should have the goal of eventually being implemented into the Home Depot Smart Home in some manner.

  1. Research Project
    • Description
    • - In a research project students will collect data, perform experiments, and document conclusions.
      - Projects supported by faculty are preferable.
    • Final Deliverable

      - Written Scientific Report
    • Criteria
    • - Focus on "Smarter Living"
      - Usefulness to program & society
      - Rigor of Methods
      - Data Supports Conclusion
  2. Prototype Project
    • Description
    • - Hands-on work developing and constructing a prototype of an innovative idea.
      - Collaboration with faculty and/or industry is recommended.
      - All intellectual property will remain with the team members if applicable.
    • Final Deliverable

      - Prototype and Documentation
    • Criteria
    • - Focus on "Smarter Living"
      - Technical Ingenuity - How well does the solution address the problem?
      - Marketability - Is there demand for this idea?
      - Quality of Deliverable
  3. Implementation Project
    • Description
    • - Installing a successful prototype, or commercial product into The Home Depot Smart Home building
    • Final Deliverable

      - Completed Installation with Documentation
    • Criteria
    • - Focus on "Smarter Living"
      - Aesthetics - Is it professional-looking?
      - Benefit to House
      - Permanence
      - Reliability/Maintenance