Teams from Japan, Belgium and Brazil made it to the semifinal round of the Texas Instruments Inc. DSP Solutions Challenge with projects that highlight the important relationship between photonics and electronics. The contest challenges engineering students to design an innovative and functional product using the company's digital signal processing devices. Each of nine semifinalist teams receives $1000, and the championship team receives $100,000. The team from the department of human system science at the Tokyo Institute of Technology designed a low-cost moving object detection system that is targeted toward sports training applications. Using an analog video camera and a midperformance PC, the system can gather data on a player's court position, as well as statistics such as velocity, acceleration and momentum, and process it in real time. The students said this will help athletes analyze their performance. Students from Katholieke Universiteit in Louvain, Belgium, developed a method to convert a sequence of 2-D images into 3-D structures using a standard charge-coupled device camera. Suitable for rapid data acquisition in CAD/CAM and medical diagnostics, the system determines the optical flow from the images and reconstructs multiple views into a single representation. Brazil's team from the Centro Federal de Educacao Tecnologica do Parana created a portable digital recorder that captures electrocardiogram signals from a patient over 24 hours. The students said it could improve diagnoses that are often difficult with brief electrocardiograms. The device uses analog and digital circuits for data compression along with microcomputer-based software to transfer data to the computer. Other semifinalists included students from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, University of San Diego, Tianjin University in China, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, University of New South Wales in Australia and Università di Perugia in Italy. Advising professors for the winning team receive $15,000 and are offered a six-month sabbatical at Texas Instruments. The company received 273 contest entries from more than 800 students in 26 countries. Company representatives judge the submittals on their creativity, practicality, repeatability, difficulty, completeness, professionalism and operability.