Stress Monitor Wins First CDAIT Student IoT Challenge

Posted June 15, 2021

A proposal for a wearable patch to monitor cognitive stress has won the inaugural Student IoT Innovation Capacity Building Challenge sponsored by Ivan Allen College’s Center for the Development and Application of Internet of Things Technologies (CDAIT).

The team is made up of three College of Engineering students: Nathan Zavanelli, a Ph.D. student in bioengineering; Sung Hoon Lee, a Ph.D. student in electrical engineering, and Kimberly Lie, a bachelor’s student in computer engineering. They will share a $5,000 scholarship award. Their faculty advisor was Woo Hong Yeo, assistant professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering.

“The GaTech CDAIT Student IoT Innovation Challenge provides a great opportunity for students to gain a full, end-to-end perspective of solution development from ideation, creation, technology selection, usability, and even marketability,” said Bob Kamp, a member of the CDAIT board and a senior director in Intel's IoTG (Internet of Things Group) Market & Channels organization.

“These solutions demonstrated the effort and creativity of the students, and makes me wonder how great some of these could be if they were part of a larger R&D effort with greater resources,” Kamp said.

Watch the presentation

The first-place team project was the “Wearable, long-duration physiological cognitive stress monitoring IoT system.” The stress monitor — designed by Zavanelli, Lee, and Lie — is meant to assist people living with cognitive disabilities, who often have anxiety, fear, and depression. The monitor, a soft chest-worn patch, wirelessly measures chest vibrations caused by heartbeats. An associated smartphone app uses real-time signal processing and machine learning to identify markers of cognitive stress.

“This system is a marked improvement over traditional methods, which either involve obtrusive wired monitoring or imprecise written surveys or subjective caregiver evaluations because it provides continuous monitoring of objective physiological manifestations of cognitive stress,” the team said in their summary report.

Other IoT Student Challenge Prize winners

Three other entries placed in the Challenge, and these teams will also share scholarship awards.

  • The second-place team project, “Elbowroom”, developed by biomedical engineering student Davis White, industrial design student Nicholas Mirchandani, and computer science student Leonard Ricci, is “a low-cost, sensor-based, system to help transit agencies track real-time occupancy data based on Bluetooth and Wi-Fi sensors.
  • Tim Fellbinger, ME 2020, and Zach Cloud, EE 2021, developed a data-driven access control system for maker spaces called “StartProto,” which was the third-place winner. The prototype IoT-supported system allows access to tools based on training levels. Their advisor was Craig Forest, a professor in the Woodruff School.
  • “Fridge-Freshness Keeper” is a refrigerator-mounted IoT system to track the shelf life of foods. It was developed by computer engineering students Yue Pan and Zechuan Ding and Ivan Allen College student Yihua Xu, who is studying sociology along with math. Jeffery Davis was their faculty advisor for the team, which won fourth place.

Cassidy Sugimoto, professor and Tom and Marie Patton School Chair in the School of Public Policy, observed that the entries showcased the tremendous potential of Georgia Tech students working in the IoT space.

“The students in this challenge demonstrated innovative solutions to important policy problems,” she said. “The hope when CDAIT came to the Ivan Allen College was that it would provide synergy between policy and technological advancement, and this Challenge is a great demonstration that the approach works.”

Details on the project are available on the CDAIT website: 


CDAIT, a unit of the Center for Advanced Communications Policy in the Ivan Allen College’s School of Public Policy, is an action-oriented, partner-funded think tank that seeks to serve as an incubator for ideas in the IoT field.

Supported by the CDAIT board, made up of leading national and international companies in the IoT space, the organization’s activities include working groups focusing on education and training, startup ecosystems, security, standards and management, research, policy impacts, and thought leadership. Since moving from GTRI in 2020, the Center has increasingly focused its attention on critical social and policy issues facing the IoT field while maintaining the Center’s deep expertise in the technological arena. The inaugural 2021 CDAIT Student IoT Innovation Capacity Building Challenge is one of several new CDAIT initiatives designed to advance leading-edge innovation with increased Georgia Tech student engagement.


Related Media

Three College of Engineering students — Nathan Zavanelli, a Ph.D. student in bioengineering; Sung Hoon Lee, a Ph.D. student in electrical engineering, and Kimberly Lie, a bachelor’s student in computer engineering — designed a wearable patch to help monitor cognitive stress.

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