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2015 OHI/O Hackathon Finalist: Team Buckeye Current

Team: Buckeye Current

Not only did the Ohio State Team Buckeye Current electric motorcycle team place in the top 10, members also won the “Most Creative” award during Sunday’s ceremony.

Made up of ECE students Aaron Bonnell-KangasNathan DerryClayton Greenbaum and Sean Harrington the students looked back on what they learned from participating in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC) race this summer in Colorado.

The team designed a wearable sensor to measure a motorcycle rider’s blood oxygen content and vital signs during mountainous races. The device sounds off an alarm when vital signs reach dangerous levels. It is also small enough to fit on the back of the rider’s torso or inside the helmet.

When racing at such high elevations, Bonnell-Kangas said, combustion engines lose up to a third of their power – an issue electrical motors do not face, making their motorcycle much more competitive. However, he said, the thin air can be very dangerous for riders.

Tragedy struck at the PPIHC in 2014 when a driver was killed after crossing the finish line and losing control.

“Because the air is so thin at the top, not only do spectators feel the affects, but the riders do as well,” Bonnell-Kangas said. “The exact cause of the accident was never determined, but it made us start to think. Do we need to be concerned about oxygen and the rider’s cognition as a safety or performance factor? This Hackathon being about big data and health, we thought it was a perfect opportunity for this kind of project.”