Benjamin Rahnema

EECS Graduate Student Ben Rahnema (PH.D. 17') was a member of the 1st place winning NU team at the 2014 Motorola: Breaking Mobile Limits Competition.

The competition officialy started Monday, January 13, 2014 and ended Friday, March 21, 2014, with the award winners announced on Tuesday, April 8. Rahnema's team (Nir Youngster, PhD Applied Math, Dennis Ivan Diaz, MS Mechanical Engineering, and Paul Park, PhD Applied Math) was selected as winners out of 16 total NU teams for designing and implementing their prototype, "Moto Ring", which is a novel wearable device with supporting software that enables seamless gesture based interactions with smartphone devices. For winning the competition they received a $2000 cash prize, 4 Moto X phones, the title of Motorola Engineering Ambassadors, and the opportunity to present their prototype to Motorola executives.

Contestants chose either a Prototype or Business Concept/Plan and entered their best original ideas in groups of 4 over a 10 week period with formal check-ins every 2 weeks. The competition was open to current graduate and undergraduate students in the McCormick School of Engineering, as well as graduate and undergraduate students who are current or past Segal Design Center and/or Farley Center for Entrepreneurship students.

Teams were judged and scored, based off the following criteria:

1. Originality of concept
2. Prototype implementation
3. Ability to manufacture
4. Ability to add to next Moto device
5. Use of innovative Moto X technologies
6. Overall improvement to daily life

Prototype Description:

Imagine doing something on your phone without even taking it out of your pocket. Phone calls. Music. Navigation. These are just the beginning. Moto Ring uses existing Near Field Communication technology, originally intended for bootstrapping configuration settings and small data exchange, and unlocks the possibilities of custom “NFC gestures”. Gestures such as, a tap, double tap, or tap-hold are detected through the interaction between a user’s NFC-enabled phone and a passive NFC tag embedded within Moto Ring. Using the Moto Ring App, users can customize both the gestures and the actions they trigger. Simple. Customizable. Convenient. With Moto Ring, users have the power of NFC gestures wrapped around their finger.

 View a promo video for Moto Ring below:

Moto Ring from Nir Yungster on Vimeo.


Motorola Competition Winners

(From left to right: Paul Park, Dennis Ivan Diaz, Ben Rahnema, Nir Youngster)