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Kansas State University students part of first-place team in ConocoPhillips Innovation Challenge

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


MANHATTAN — Kansas State University students Ashley Coleman, junior in computer science, Colby, and Miriam Cox, junior in information systems, Manhattan, are members of the first-place winning team in the recent ConocoPhillips Innovation Challenge.

The challenge is a two-day event in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, where 16 college students across the nation compete in teams to solve programming challenges.

Cox and Coleman's team challenge was to use the Unity 3-D, Microsoft's Kinect and Oculus Rift to digitally recreate an oil driller's on-site work environment and allow the driller to work offsite. The team built the environment and pushed the concept by including live weather data from an external site to monitor environmental conditions. The team set up graphs to stream drill data, designed a special heads-up-display for the driller to track the most important data at all times, and then used the Kinect's gesture-capturing abilities to implement safety locks on the drill that would prevent operation when other workers are in the vicinity without signaling an OK.

"The Innovation Challenge was an exciting opportunity for me to develop code for cutting-edge technologies," Cox said. "The people at ConocoPhillips were fun to work with and it was great meeting so many other fellow computing students."

Winning first prize included a trophy and $1,250 for each student. Students on the winning team also received an Xbox Kinect for Windows development, Google Cardboard and a 3-D pen.

"The biggest take away for me was that teamwork is especially important in time sensitive projects," Coleman said. "This is not just in competitions, but in the workplace as well."


Miriam Cox

Ashley Coleman

News tip

Colby and Manhattan

Written by

Darrah Tinkler

At a glance

Members of the first-place team in the 2015 ConocoPhillips Innovation Challenge include Kansas State University students Ashley Coleman and Miriam Cox.