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Ashley Lindstrom
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Three undergraduate students from Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin have won the Shell Ideas360 International Design Competition with their idea for “Smart Panels.” 

The three-person team included mechanical engineering student Mandeep Patel (team captain), electrical and computer engineering student Taylor Zhao, and biomedical engineering student Malvika Patel. It was the sole U.S. team among the competition’s five finalists and also received the Audience Choice Award, which was determined by worldwide online voting. 

Shell Ideas360 is a global competition for students to develop game-changing ideas for tackling energy, water and food issues. Teams of three are invited to register and submit an initial idea and selected teams move on to a second stage in which they further develop their ideas with mentors and experts from Shell. Five finalist teams are chosen present their idea to a panel of judges. 

Smart Panels is an innovative renewable energy solution to address an existing problem with solar panel technology. By shaping memory alloy into springs that stretch when cool (watch how), this simple system ensures a solar panel continually faces the sun’s position in the sky by responding to a temperature gradient, increasing energy output. 

Each Cockrell School student on the winning team will receive a competition trophy as well as a National Geographic Adventure.

winning group holding award and american flag

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