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UNLV Students Use Crystal Radio to Win Hackathon

Media Hackathon is a collaboration between Beasley Media Group and Carnegie R1 research institution UNLV

The results of the inaugural Media Innovation Hackathon are in — and the winners proposed yet another use for AM/FM frequencies.

In a press release, Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley said the ideas “ignite our thinking as a media company preparing for the future.”

Chosen by experts from Beasley Media Group and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, the first-place team submitted an entry titled “Using AM/FM Frequencies to Charge Devices.” According to the UNLV News Center, the Radio Heads “used a crystal radio to show that small amounts of energy can be converted from radio waves to power a low-voltage LED light” as part of efforts to demonstrate truly wireless charging.

The team was composed of Erick Serrano, Kristine Monsada, Matias Allietti, Ricardo Rodriguez and Yuria Mann and mentored by UNLV communications studies professor Natalierose Pennington. Beasley Media Group handed out $5,000 to reward their efforts.

A proposal for “Augmented Intelligence in Smart Cities” came in second place and received $2,500, to be split among team members Edison Smith, Peter Hernandez and Aldair Callejas. They were mentored by UNLV entertainment engineering and design faculty Si “SJ” Kim.

And in third place was “Fernwell App for Tourism Using Social Media,” which earned the $1,000 prize from Beasley. Ricardo Guzman, Ashtin Hofert, Joshua Padilla, Francisco Reyes, Allie Ryerson and Fausto Vega comprise the team; UNLV communication studies faculty Bryan Blankfield was their mentor.

The Media Hackathon was announced last fall as a collaboration of Beasley and Carnegie R1 research institution UNLV. The initiative was intended to “generate potential commercial products and services utilizing existing media technology, data and infrastructure, as well as to conceptualize the kinds of transformative, disruptive technologies that will become mainstream in the next 20 years,” according to the announcement.