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NXP Tour brings futuristic technology to students

From checking out Bluetooth door locks and smart backpacks, to power outlets able to tell the difference between a human finger and a plug, students received the chance to learn about futuristic technology at NXP Semiconductors’ Smarter World Tour on Thursday. 

The orange three-floor tour truck showcases innovations ranging from a focus beam microwave to sophisticated software to monitor the cost of home energy consumption. 

“We set this up so that engineering students could come out and see that we are certified in both the automotive and medical field, and we have been servicing clients in both fields for decades,” NXP Marketing Director Scott Hughes said. 

This was a unique opportunity for students since USF was one of two university stops on the tour so far.

“This is significant because they don't usually come to a university campus,” College of Engineering Dean Robert H. Bishop said. “When they come out, they try to go to places where there is a lot of excitement toward technology, particularly wireless technology.” 

The gadgets displayed a variety of innovative technology. NXP representative Ian Philips presented one of NXP’s developing technologies, Secure Connected Vehicles, which are a form of self-driving cars.

“Secure Connected Vehicles are designed in a way that makes them near impossible to hack,” Philips said. “A security-focused operating system operates in tandem with a non-secure one. This allows your synced data on your phone or built-in GPS to be virtualized. The objective is to create a more secure environment and encrypt data to deter hackers and other identity threats.”

Sanket Vilekar, an electrical engineering graduate student, found the exhibit informational and said it helps students prepare for the future.

“All of these things are things that will be seen in the future,” Vilekar said. “Getting a chance to see them now is good in that it gives us a chance to study them and help apply them to what we are learning in the area of wireless communications."

The event offered students the chance to see developing technologies in person rather than simply learning about them through research. 

“Anyone can learn about something from external sources or searching things on the Internet,” Bishop said. “In the truck, you’re able to see and touch TVs, UAVs … Everything is moving in the area of wireless technology. If I were an engineering student, this would be the most important day of the week, or the semester for that matter.”