I recently had the opportunity to take part in one of Texas A&M’s most rewarding experiences — Aggies Invent. I’d heard from upperclassmen, professors and even friends from other majors, that Aggies Invent was one of the best opportunities for engineers at the university. I read about it and definitely knew it was something I wanted to be part of. So when I learned that I was selected to participate, I was extremely excited and started looking into the topic as much as I could to try to compete as a freshman in a competition offered to all – including graduate students and Ph.D. candidates.
When I first got there all the coordinators spoke to us about the competition and how we would have to develop a marketable idea using AR/VR technology for one of the need-statements. I was overwhelmed and intimidated. not only did everyone look so much older and more experienced than I was, but the task given to us seemed difficult with my minimal knowledge. As we got more information and help from the many mentors and resources available to us for the weekend, I started understanding that it really is an event that anyone can win. The focus is not on just the engineering of the products we create, but the marketability of it. We weren’t required to create AR or VR technology; we had the option to explain how our idea could be accomplished with future knowledge and implementation of the technology. That concept is what makes the event so beneficial to everyone since really anyone could win even if you don’t have as much experience as other teams. While forming teams, I was able to meet so many different people of different backgrounds and was surprised to find such a diverse group that gravitated toward the same needs statement that interested me.
Going in with no knowledge of creating AR or VR, my team, with help from mentors, was able to create a functioning augmented reality app showing the 3D models we created, and pitch that to the judges as a reasonable investment for hospitals to use to help patients better understand the procedures of various surgeries. Before the event, I would never have thought in such a short time I’d learn how to create the graphics for and make an app like that, let alone make and give a pitch for our idea, all within 48 hours. My team and I definitely made many wonderful memories and I’m glad to have made new friends as a part of the experience. While we did not end up winning, I would definitely do it all again and recommend Aggies Invent to others who would be interested.
Aggies Invent is a 48-hour intensive design experience offered at the SuSu and Mark A. Fischer ’72 Engineering Design Center throughout the year.