Future Engineers Gone Wild


Grace and Noah have been busy with their summer projects. Check out their work and come back each week through the month of August to see more.


It has been a long time since I took an engineering class, and I know times have changed – what, no punch cards? With those changes come fresh ideas and eager students that will change the face of engineering for years to come and create the innovations of tomorrow. So we at Digi-Key thought it would be great to get closer to these future change makers to find out what makes them tick and to answer the age-old question: “What do future engineers do on summer break?”

Like any good group of engineers, we devised a test. We thought we could find a couple of university engineering students as test subjects, arm them with a student-sized budget of components and kits, let them select some projects they deem relevant and interesting, and see what happens. The result is what we are calling Another Geek Moment – Summer Break Edition.

So let us introduce you to Noah and Grace. Noah is going into his sophomore year as an Electrical Engineering student, and Grace is going into her junior year as a Bio-Medical Engineering student. Both Noah and Grace selected projects that align well with their interests and that any university or college student with a passion for electronics can easily replicate. The projects center around transportation (bikes and longboards), medical (muscle sensing and pulse metering), and music (DJing and creating synthesized sounds). However, all of them have a distinct university student slant to the implementation.

The projects will be housed on Digi-Key’s, and, of course, all the components needed can be found on Some of the components needed are under $20 for the entire build and all are less than $75. It depends on how elaborate someone wants to make the project.

For this activity we want to say a special thanks to Adafruit and SparkFun. Their vision around teaching engineering concepts through practical project implementation really set the roadmap for these projects. We also want to say thank you to TechShop in Chandler, Ariz. and Nordeast Makers in Minneapolis. TechShop not only provided the right environment to create the projects, but also provided classes on waterjet cutting, 3-D printing, and laser cutting (more on all of these in a future blog post).

So watch for these videos over the next few weeks. We hope you enjoy watching them as much as we did making them. If you are a university engineering student and want to possibly be included in future projects like the Another Geek Moment – Summer Break Edition, reach out to me at You never know…

About this author

Image of David Sandys, Director of Technical and Strategic Marketing at Digi-Key David Sandys’ official title is Director of Technical and Strategic Marketing at Digi-Key Electronics, but informally he labels himself as our Maker Maker.  He and his team spend a lot of time on differentiated marketing activities such as our Maker initiative, academic marketing, tools/design content and forward thinking activities such as our Hyperloop sponsorship.  He has been with Digi-Key for 4 years but has many years of marketing experience with Hewlett Packard, Advanced Micro Devices and Arrow Electronics.  David holds a BS from Arizona State University and an MBA from USC (Go Trojans!).  Originally from Montreal, Canada, David lives and works in Phoenix, AZ where he can be seen buzzing around in his Mini, working on various electronic projects and dreaming of Stanley Cups, Montreal smoked meat and bagels.
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