M.Eng. Student Perspective: Berkeley Audio Design Challenge

The Fung Institute for Engineering Leadership published this article by Shail Shah (edited with Iris Wu): UC Berkeley’s Audio & Education Design Challenge, sponsored by Bose and Autodesk, took place on Oct. 22, 2016. Shail Shah was on one of the two winning teams.

Congratulations to the two award-winning teams for the Berkeley Design Challenge: Audio & Education (Using Headphones as a learning tool) sponsored by Bose & Autodesk, Oct. 22, 2016! The winning teams were composed of undergraduate researchers and M.Eng students (Product Design Concentration on the Beyond Smartphone research project and in  the Human-Centered Design Methodologies class). The event was held in UC Berkeley’s new Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation.


The design challenge: Music and audio are an integral part of our everyday lives.  But, when you listen to music over headphones, why doesn’t it sound better?  You might have noticed that you have two ears but recordings rarely take advantage of this fact.  How can we make this experience better and help students to understand how their ears work?


In this design challenge, both undergraduates and Master of Engineering students were teamed up to create an educational learning kit (inspired by BOSEbuild) aimed at middle and high school students using headphones and microphones. The award criteria included: innovativeness and marketability. Photos of the winning teams are shown below (Product Design MEng students in bold and undergraduates in italics).

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“Storytime with Bose” (Chen Chun Wu, Vir Doshi, and Varna Vasudevan) won the “Marketability” award. “Echo Learn” (Shail Shah, Aura Barrea, XeuYong Liu, Lisa Jin, and Junaid Maknojia) won the “Innovation” award .

The two winning teams received QuietComfort 35 wireless headphones; all teams got to keep the headphone hardware from BOSE that they’ve worked with throughout the challenge. Below are 2-page summary slides from each winning team in the event.

Echo Learn  (Innovation Award)

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[Partial Image Citation] Chittka, L. & Brockmann, A. (2005, Apr.). Perception Space – The Final Frontier. PLoS Biology. Retrieved from http://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.0030137, and http://www.medel.com/us/how-hearing-works/

Storytime with BOSE (Marketability Award)

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