Challenges

Teams are comprised of students of at least junior standing at the undergraduate level as well as students at the graduate level. Students from every field of study are welcome and needed!

Wicked problems require a variety of backgrounds to solve. Each of these challenges has technical aspects, including data analysis and machine learning, that must be informed by social, economic/business, and arts backgrounds. If you have an interest in one of these challenges, your expertise and perspective is useful!

Fall 2021 Challenges –

  1. What if unit commanders could better promote physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social fitness in their unit? The Ohio National Guard stands ready to respond to natural disasters and protect our civil society. Unit preparedness at the highest levels requires every member to achieve peak fitness. Currently, efforts are underway to translate these health-definitions into measurable requirements. As a result, there will be an abundance of data and information that can be used to assess the readiness of each member of the unit and can be leveraged to create better outcomes for its members. This challenges for commanders include using new strategies to motivate and develop for the needs of each member of the unit. The challenge for this team will be to create a system that allows commanders to efficiently and effectively lead and create a sustainable culture of peak fitness on all levels for their units.
  2. What if we could help curb discrimination faced by individuals that rely on service dogs and further their independence? Service dog owners have faced varying levels of discrimination from business owners and other patrons due to prior bad experiences with fraudulent service dogs. These experiences have even left some businesses to deny access to legitimate service dogs and their owners, which is against ADA law. Service dogs are a vital part of the lives of many individuals with disabilities. Service dogs are trained to specifically support their owner’s disability and are trained to behave well in public. Service dog fraud has created a lack of trust in the community. Even with these consequences, service dog fraud is not prevented under the law. The challenge for this team will be to create a roadmap towards achieving a federal bill that can help protect owners of service dogs from the fraudulent representation of their situation and create better outcomes for community interaction and accessibility. 
  3. What if digital twinning could be used in autonomous and semi-autonomous systems? Technology has progressed to the point where autonomous and semi-autonomous systems are allowing humans to explore and operate in mind-blowing realms that have been out of our physical reach, such as deep along the ocean floor or in outer space. Digital twinning consists of real or near-real time synchronization of a physical system’s state with a virtual representation or model of the system’s state. It has had a positive impact on more mundane systems that operate continuously, like power plant gas turbines, because digital twinning can provide information to monitor operations and support decisions about logistics and maintenance. This problem exposes students to cutting-edge challenges in engineering for systems operating in extreme environments, sponsored by one of the world’s premier engineering organizations. The challenge for this team will be to understand the value of digital twinning and how it can be applied to different systems in harsh environments. 
  4. What if we could ‘engineer’ the human dimension of change in research and development organizations? The U.S. invented the disciplines of systems engineering and program management over 70 years ago in order to create scientific and engineering innovations that could be repeatable and scalable.  These practices have become institutionalized in technical organizations’ culture.  Ironically this culture can end up resisting the adoption of new management methods, such as Lean Six Sigma and Agile Development, or the integration of new technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning and Digital Engineering.  Culture change is very challenging in all types of organizations and is a target of study by experts in organizational development, strategy, psychology, strategic communication, and leadership. Change management  efforts need to address different audiences across organizational levels, from working scientists and engineers, to middle management,  and to the executive ranks. The challenge for this team will be to develop a generalizable change-management framework that fosters a nimble and innovative culture and can be used to assimilate new technologies and management methods quickly.
  5. What if we could create better opportunities for the use of publicly funded Intellectual Property in the public interest? Since the 1930s, the U.S. government has supported basic and applied research and development in the public interest.  The performers of this research and development are employed in industry, academia, and government.  Sometimes the government-sponsored research has the potential to serve not only public sector needs but also commercial markets.  But how can a ‘fit’ for commercial purposes be established?  The rate of successful commercialization is low in the federal Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) and Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) programs. The challenge for this team will be to investigate the root causes for this situation and formulate a plan to create better opportunities for the use of publicly funded Intellectual Property and the potential for machine learning to produce better match-making. 

 

Spring 2021 Challenges

  1. Space Junkies – Deconstructing Electronics Modules for Space-Based Applications
  2. Feed the Need – Identify critical populations and needs to address food insecurity and hunger
  3. Isolated Personnel – Devise new methods for locating and identifying isolated personnel in complex environments
  4. Mind the Gap – Transform Ohio’s economy by providing reliable transportation solutions for low-income residents to connect with employers in need of skilled labor
  5. Data Defenders – Find a middle ground between digital information ownership and privacy rights of individuals and the duty of care that rests on local, state, and federal governments
  6. A.R.I.A. – Prevent human trafficking in Appalachian Ohio by predicting vulnerable populations

 

Fall 2020 Challenges

  1. Mad Mappers – Leverage innovative mapping tools to support redistricting and improve representation of the democratic process in Ohio
  2. Circuit Boarders – Applying artificial intelligence/machine learning to build schematics from images of electronic circuit boards
  3. SITRREP’D – Incorporate new environmental monitoring data into the decision making processes of the Ohio Department of Health and Comprehensive Monitoring Team in order to give actionable steps on the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Spring 2020 Challenges

  1. Space Cadets: Ensuring the public safety of launch vehicles’ Autonomous Flight Safety Systems
  2. Public Health: Improving public health outcomes with collaborative planning between state government and hospitals
  3. Buckeye Choppers: Improving helicopter maintenance management to ensure successful naval missions
  4. Paw Platoon: Addressing the shortage of U.S. working dogs for security
  5. 007: Designing a task order system to manage intelligence requests
  6. F.R.U.I.T.: Advancing Regulations for the use of Machine Vision in Utility Inspections

Fall 2019 Challenges

  1. Zone Out: Rejuvenating urban neighborhoods through creative zoning
  2. Lost in Space: Finding lost satellites in space
  3. Smart Swarm: Coordinating drone swarms in order to track toxic plumes

 

Fall 2019 Challenges

  1. Keeping it Cool — Defining a risk measure/standard for the HVAC supply chain which may contain foreign-manufactured components
  2. No Surprises — Quickly & quantitatively finding and weighing the importance of research networks before disruptive technology shows up on a launchpad or runway
  3. Green Grass — Identifying incentives to retain highly trained talent for important missions
  4. Arrows in the Quiver — Developing an advocacy strategy for counter-UAS operations on domestic soil
  5. Extreme Ops — Enhancing situational awareness and communications in austere/low connectivity environments
  6. Auto Route — Planning faster land routes through unfamiliar and/or hazardous