Student Electronics Design Competition Organized by Companies

Effort led by Altium, IPC Education Foundation and Arduino promotes STEM applications for environmental enhancements.

Effort led by Altium, IPC Education Foundation and Arduino promotes STEM applications for environmental enhancements.

Teams from high schools and colleges will be using Altium’s Upverter Modular PCB design software and the Arduino Portenta H7 to create a prototype design that will improve the environment. Image courtesy of Altium.


Altium LLC, a printed circuit board (PCB) design software company, is partnering with the IPC Education Foundation (IPCEF) and Arduino to launch the second annual student electronics design challenge. This competition aims to educate and enhance PCB design capabilities while developing STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) solutions to environmental challenges. The electronics design challenge enables students to showcase their talents and gain real-world experience, the organizations note.

The Innovation for Environmental Change 2022 International Student Design Competition (#PCBeTheChange) engages student teams to help address common environmental concerns using Altium’s educational tools with Arduino hardware. 

Over 17 countries submitted entries to last year's competition, which addressed various local environmental issues, including city traffic, shoreline erosion, bushfire detection, and honey bee endangerment.

Teams will use Altium Upverter Modular PCB design software and the Arduino Portenta H7 to create prototype designs that will improve the environment in each team's respective local area. The teams will be challenged to tackle one or more environmental concerns, such as air pollution, water quality and solar energy capture.

“At Arduino, we believe that it is very crucial to empower the scientists and engineers of the future to address the common challenges of our time by using technology for the benefit of many,” says Yu Hu, head of Arduino Education. “Last year’s entries showed an amazing combination of ingenuity, curiosity and technical skills in their designs, and we’re excited to see what new and innovative STEM solutions the teams will submit this year.”

Participating teams will enter the design challenge while using Altium Upverter Education and the Upverter Modular tool. Altium features educational initiatives designed to support high school STEM teachers and students, along with programs to support college students and industry professionals.

“It was fascinating to see 87 teams from around the world participate, leveraging the printed circuit board design knowledge they had learned from Altium’s Upverter Education, to address important environmental issues. We are excited to see more unique designs from this year’s contestants and are honored to again have the opportunity to provide the curriculum and tools students need for the contest,” adds Rea Callender, vice president of education at Altium. 

Winning teams will be eligible to win cash prizes for each category: high school and college: $1,500 (1st prize), $750 (2nd prize) and $500 (3rd prize), free access to IPC APEX EXPO in San Diego, CA, from January 24-26, 2023. Designs will be displayed at the IPC Design Booth; awards will be presented at the IPC APEX EXPO STEM Outreach Event.

“We believe that opportunities and experiences like this will allow students to gain awareness and access to the electronics manufacturing industry and in turn help them reach their career goals,” says Charlene Gunter, senior director of IPCEF. “This collaboration with Altium, Upverter Education, and Arduino showcases our mutual goals of engaging and educating students in PCB design, and we look forward to seeing the creativity and solutions the teams will create this year.” 

Open registration is available for the design challenge now via Upverter Education and runs through Monday, October 3. Teams must submit their designs online by Friday, November 18. Competition winners will be announced on Wednesday, December 14, followed by virtual presentations for the first place and runner-up entrants.

For more information, email [email protected]

Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.

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Beth Stackpole's avatar
Beth Stackpole

Beth Stackpole is a contributing editor to Digital Engineering. Send e-mail about this article to [email protected].

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