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2012 Intern Design Challenge: BoosterPacks!

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Texas Instruments 2012 Intern Design Challenge: BoosterPacks!


The Texas Instruments Intern Design Challenge is a program that offers TI summer interns a fun outlet for creativity, a great opportunity to boost networking amongst other TI-ers, and an opportunity to generate cool new projects & applications.

Each participating team will receive:

  • 1x MSP-EXP430G2 LaunchPad per team member
  • 1x 430BOOST-SENSE1 Capacitive Touch BoosterPack per team member
  • $50 USD stipend per team

The Prizes!

  1. First Place: The magical iPad 3
  2. Second Place: $200 per team member
  3. Third Place: $100 per team member


Design your own BoosterPack for the MSP430 LaunchPad!
A BoosterPack is a plugin module that you can add to the MSP430 LaunchPad to provide expanded functionality! Each team should design the schematic, PCB layout & firmware. Your BoosterPack can do whatever you want! When possible, try to re-use any of the existing BoosterPacks in conjunction with your solution! These BoosterPacks are stackable to create more complex systems!

The Deliverables:

  • Physical BoosterPack for MSP430 LaunchPad
  • Design files including schematics and PCB layout
  • Firmware/code
  • Quickstart guide/documentation
  • Build write-up & video

Need some inspiration? Checkout the submissions from previous years:

2010 Design Challenge: Chronos watch 2011 Design Challenge: MSP430 LaunchPad

How do I participate? 

All you have to do is create and submit your MSP430 LaunchPad BoosterPack design, and post it online by July 26, 2012 @ 11:59pm CST. The winners will be selected by online voting by TI-ers from all around the world, so make sure your design and submission is as appealing as possible. Video demos, pictures & clean documentation go a long way!

There will be an information session at the Houston and Dallas sites to kick off the event. However, you do not have to be present to participate!

  • Dallas: June 12, 3-4pm, South Campus, Conference Room FL01
  • Houston: Friday, June 15, 3-4 p.m., Building 2 Conference Room

Each information session will be available via WebEx for interns outside of the Dallas and Houston area. If you're unable to attend the information sessions, please contact Katie Smith ( or Adrian Fernandez ( for your kit and information on how to get started. 

For those of you who were unable to attend either of our information sessions on June 12 and 15, the WebEx video is now available for viewing.

To view the video:
1. Download the WebEx Player and Network Recording Player to your computer using this link:
2. Open the video file using this link:
3. Click "open".
4. When the Internet Explorer Security window prompts you to allow the website to open web content using this program on your computer, click on "allow".

We will also have office hours available with the MSP430 apps team to address any questions.

  • June 27 @ 3-5PM CST - Office Hours with MSP430 team! Have questions? Come visit us in the SC building, Blanco conference room
  • July 11 @ 3-5PM CST - Office Hours with MSP430 team! Have questions? Come visit us in the SC building, Blanco conference room


If you are interested in joining, please "Register" your team by filling in the table found below in the<a href="#Project_Submissions">#Project_Submissions</a>section!Simply provide each members name. That's it! We don't need your project details yet. We simply want to get an idea on who is participating. Thanks! :)


Check out the “Interns at TI” room on Infolink! There is a forum called “2012 INTERN DESIGN CHALLENGE: BOOSTERPACKS!” which should be a good place for people to look for teammates.

What are the Rules?

  1. Participants must be an active intern at TI in the US during Summer of 2012
  2. Designs must be based on the <a href="">MSP430 LaunchPad (MSP-EXP430G2)</a>
    1. Your design must have an MSP430G2xx Value Line microcontroller in it.
    2. Using the <a href="">Capacitive Touch BoosterPack (430BOOST-SENSE1)</a> is optional.
    3. The design must be in a "BoosterPack" form-factor that plugs into the MSP430 LaunchPad.
  3. If external components are necessary, use TI components where possible.
  4. Entries must be posted in the "Projects" tab @ <a href=""> </a> by July 26, 2012 @ 11:59pm CST.
    1. Must include all design files and source code
    2. Video required
    3. Presentation and completeness is key! Check out the <a href="#How_do_I_submit_my_design.3F">#How_do_I_submit_my_design.3F</a> section for more info!
  5. Teams of 3 or smaller. Contest participation is limited to one entry per person
  6. Judging will be TI-wide and based on 'Best Design' (similar to People's Choice)
  7. Each team is eligible to receive a $50 stipend to help defray the cost of producing a final model. Your team, including all members, must be listed in the project submissions matrix before you may request and receive your $50 stipend.

How do I submit my design?

All projects should be submitted in the "Projects" tab @ <a href=""></a> by July 26, 2012 @ 11:59pm CST.

Instructions on how to submit your project are provided <a href="">here</a>. Also provided is a template for your project submission. Remember, the more complete your solution is, the higher your chances of being noticed during the TI-wide voting period!

Once your project is properly loaded in the "Projects" tab @ <a href=""></a>, please provide a link to your project in the <a href="#Project_Submissions">#Project_Submissions</a> section. Simply edit this wiki page. If possible, provide an image along with your project name.


  • June 12 @ 3-4 PM CST - Dallas information session. Information/kickoff meeting with the interns - tools will be available @ Dallas site South Campus, Conference Room FL01
  • June 15 @ 3-4 PM CST - Houston/Stafford information session. Information/kickoff meeting with the interns - tools will be available @ Houston site Conference Room 2, Bldg. 2
    • If you're unable to attend the information sessions, please contact Katie Smith ( or Adrian Fernandez ( for your kit and information on how to get started.
  • June 27 @ 3-5PM CST - Office Hours with MSP430 team! Have questions? Come visit us in the SC building, Blanco conference room. (DIAL IN -- 972-995-7777 @ 2413 8128#)
  • July 11 @ 3-5PM CST - Office Hours with MSP430 team! Have questions? Come visit us in the SC building, Blanco conference room
  • July 26 @ 11:59pm CST – Deadline to submit designs
  • July 30 – Infolink article & push-email to promote voting
  • July 30 – Voting Start
  • August 2 – Voting End
  • August 3 – Awards ceremony @ 11AM to 1PM (CST) in the Forest Lane Auditorium & Conf Room S1/S2
  • August 8 – Infolink article on contest/announcing the winners

LaunchPad Design Resources

LaunchPad Documentation

<img alt="LaunchpadSolo.jpg" src="/images/thumb/6/6d/LaunchpadSolo.jpg/160px-LaunchpadSolo.jpg" />

Capacitive Touch BoosterPack Documentation

<img alt="Boost solo.jpg" src="/images/thumb/9/95/Boost_solo.jpg/160px-Boost_solo.jpg" />

Quick turn PCB Design options


MSP430G2xx Value Line Microcontroller Documentation

<img alt="MSP430G solo.JPG" src="/images/thumb/8/81/MSP430G_solo.JPG/160px-MSP430G_solo.JPG" />

Develop using ENERGIA - a branch of the Arduino IDE that supports the MSP430 LaunchPad

If you're itnerested, you can develop your project using Energia, which is based on the popular Wiring framework. Wiring is an easy-to-use API that lets you get up and running quickly.

<a href="">You can learn more about Energia and find the download info here!</a>

<img alt="Energia.png" src="/images/thumb/e/e1/Energia.png/193px-Energia.png" />

Development Environment - Code Composer Studio ver5

As an intern at TI, you get access to the full version Code Composer Studio for free! Simply install the latest version from our download page while you are connected to the TI internal network (Also works on VPN). Be sure to click the "MSP430" checkbox during install!

<a href="">CCS Download Page</a>

<img alt="CCSThumb.jpg" src="/images/thumb/d/d2/CCSThumb.jpg/200px-CCSThumb.jpg" />

Schematic and PCB Layout Designer - Cadsoft Eagle

EAGLE is the schematic and PCB design tool of choice by the MSP430 team! A free limited version is available, but should be sufficient for these purposes! Check it out!

<a href="">Download the free limited version of Cadsoft Eagle</a>

<img alt="eagle.png" src="/images/thumb/8/8b/Eagle.png/200px-Eagle.png" />

GUI creation tools
Creating a GUI for your project could be another cool way of showing of your designs!

Processing is an easy-to-use, open source tool for creating great-looking Graphical User Interfaces. Processing was used to create the GUI for the Capacitive Touch BoosterPack and the LaunchPad demo. Checkout their website to download Processing. They also have a lot of great tutorials and example code.

Find more information @ <a href=""></a>

The source code and executable for the Launchpad and Capacitive Touch BoosterPack GUIs are linked above.

<img alt="processing.png" src="/images/thumb/8/8d/Processing.png/200px-Processing.png" />

Grace Graphical User Interface for configuring MSP430 peripherals
Grace is a Graphical User Interface for enabling and configuring the various peripherals that are integrated into MSP430F2xx and G2xx Value Line microcontrollers! Users are invited to interact with buttons, drop-down menus and text fields and are guided with useful tips and hover-overs, which are based on MSP430 device datasheet and user guides. This means users can become familiar with the MSP430 device without having to flip through hundreds of pages of documentation.

Learn more @ <a href=""></a>

<img alt="GraceScreenshot.png" src="/images/thumb/4/42/GraceScreenshot.png/200px-GraceScreenshot.png" />

Design Inspiration

For cool ideas and existing projects, check out the websites below:


  • Q: I don't want to share my iPad, does everyone on the winning team get a prize?
    • A: Yes. There's no need to share your prizes. Everyone will get the same prize.
  • Q: Do I have to be on a team?
    • A: No, individual entries are ok.
  • Q: I couldn't make it to the workshop session, can I still get a free LaunchPad and Capacitive Touch BoosterPack?
    • A: Sure. Just email Adrian Fernandez ( and ask for one.
  • Q: Where can I get a full, licensed version of <a href="Code Composer Studio">CCS</a> or <a href="IAR Embedded Workbench for TI MSP430">IAR</a>?
    • A: CCS will automatically unlock the full version if you're on the TI network. There's a free, code size limited version of IAR, but you'd have to pay for the full version (so use CCS).
  • Q: I'm stuck and need technical help. Where can I ask a question?
  • Q: I don't have very much programming experience but want to participate. How can I find team members to join up with?
    • A: Show up to the first information session and build your team or contact Katie Smith ( for suggestions on teams that may need additional members. 
  • Q: Can any TI Co-Op or intern participate in the design challenge?
    • A: Absolutely! The more the merrier!
  • Q: Where can I find free samples of MSP430G2xx microcontroller devices?
  • Q: I’m located outside of Dallas. Can I come to the August 3rd awards ceremony?
    • A: Absolutely! Talk to your manager about making travel arrangements, as each SBE will pay for its own interns to attend. Managers have received a heads up that you will approach them, so they’ll expect you to initiate the conversation.
  • Q: I hear there's some kind of stipend for do I get that?
    • A: Once you and your teammmates have registered your team on in the chart at the bottom of the wiki, send Katie Smith ( an email requesting your stipend -- easy as that! Please remember that each team is eligible to receive one $50 stipend.


Project Submissions

Once your project is uploaded to the "Projects" tab @ <a href=""></a>, link to your project page in the table below! Also provide a short description of your design as well as a picture. 

Project Name & Team members: 

Link to your project page


Provide a short description of your MSP430 LaunchPad-based design!


Include a picture of your design!


Which group are you from?

Daniel Ogilvie, Michael Sherman, Blessing Oskaue

Joel East, Moses Isang


George Netscher, Ryan Bartling, Valerie LaBounta Spoke Ink Video! Spoke Ink -- Take your MSP430 for a spin with Spoke Ink! This booster pack turns any bitmap into art right on the spokes of your bicycle wheel. Unleash your creativity with electronics where the whole world can see it! [Check out our project]
HVAL, Single Core

Team SLL: Justin Nuttall, Austin Eberle

Project Page: Unipolar BoosterPack

Video: VIDEO!

User Guide: User Guide

Unipolar Stepper Motor BoosterPack

Extends MSP430 Launchpads functionality to include the operation of a unipolar stepper motor with the Capacitive Touch BoostPack.


South Building, HVAL - Standard Linear & Logic
Nathan Ritchey

William Toth

Project Page

Quadcopter Booster Pack

Let your lauchpad really take off with this booster pack which allows you to easily interface with a quadcopter baesed platform. The booster pack uses four laptop HDD motor drivers made by TI to control the props. It also incorperates an onboard gyro for stability, and the pinout allows the RF boosterpack to stack right on top, giving the system wireless control capability

Unfortunately the physical board did not arrive on time for the competition, but once it does I will update the project page with some videos and pictures etc. so stay tuned!

Quad_NF_.jpg  SPG Servo

Team Blaster: Timothy Reyes, Dorothy Wong, Polina Vorozheykina

Force B: Bluetooth Connectivity for the MSP430 Launchpad

The Launchpad now has wireless connectivity through Bluetooth!

This boosterpack turns the Launchpad into a remote sensory and control device. And it is easily customizable into whatever module you like! 

Imagine being able to monitor and control your home from one convenient place!

Video: Watch here!

Project Page: Learn about the Force B!

User Guide: Force B Guide

User guide.gifDevice2.jpg 

Multicore Processors, Software Applications

Roberto Mancera

Web Page



NightCruiser -  LED Boarding Solution


Everyone has heard of skateboarding and longboarding, but performing these at night is niether safe or easy.  NightCruiser is a bright and fun solution to this problem.

NightCruiser Text.png

NC GUI Screenshot.PNG    IMG121.jpg



Teamz.PNG Jonathan Zhang, Walter Zarate, Adam Dunhoft

Product Use: Ward off pesky cubiclemates and neighbors with the turret430 boosterpack even if you are not in your cube!

Team Page: View page here

Product Video: Watch our video here

turret430.jpg  Turret430boosterpack.JPG
C2000, Multicore Processors
Adam Zygmtontowicz, Chris King, Joel George

Zahidul Haq, Raisa Valenzuela Watch the Video here!!! Bluetooth Home Automation

Want more control of your home? Want to turn on your light wirelessly? Check out this handheld device!

[Click here for MORE!]  

South Campus

Wireless Apps

Project: LCD BoostPack - Complete Development Kit:
Members: Nick Oborny, Nick Smith, Taylor Homoky
A complete development solution for the MSP430 LaunchPad. Create a wide variety of applications with this easy to use Booster Pack.
Watch the video!!

Project Page!

Motor Drive Apps
Will Elswick, Evan Sawyer, Demetri Wilright Tired of always getting into a hot car? Cool it down before you get in with the Heat Buster, a booster pack for the MSP430 that lets you control the power windows of your car in any way you see fit!
More Information

Heat Buster Wiki.jpg

Max Thrun, Brittany Finch, Kathleen Foster
Transform your LaunchPad into a full fledged gaming console!
Temporary Project Page
Gamingpack logo.png
Gamepack system small.png
SmartGrid System Apps, MSP430 Apps
The Magnificent Xighting LED Disco Ball   
Victor Basantes, Pohan Wu, Swapnil Dhuri
Party-up your day with the magnificent Xighting Ball; a motor-powered rotating LED disco ball with astonishing Touchpad capability.
Watch the video now!
Project files here!
Xighting LED Disco Ball
  | South Campus
Google Hub Engineering



padTI (\' päd- 'ti)

Gabe Ayala, Kevin Rockwell, Mike Brantley

Tired of carrying a thermometer, barometer, hygrometer, and time-ometer just to see how miserable the weather is outside? padTI fixes all those life hassles in a simple data logging booster pack!

Hungry? Check out our page for the recipe!

Or check out our tasty video!



Internlink VOIP walkie talkies

Mike McDonald and Greg Larmore

Desperation drives innovation: The story of Internlink
Internlink was created by two lonely interns, stuck in far corners of the supercube, away from their intern friends.  Longing for companionship and confused about the basic workings of the phone system (seriously, who knew dialing required your social security number?), these interns suffered alone.  Until, that is, during one of their brief moments of social engagement, these two interns combined their collective brainpower and, in a moment that comes only once in a lifetime, designed an affordable, easy to use method of communication (so easy an intern could use it).  And thus, Internlink was born.


Get talking with your friends at:

MSP430 Apps

Aldo Plaku
Mark Hageman
Mark Labbato

Autonomous Robot Booster Pack

Check out our video here!

MSP-Robokit Project Page

Mario Lok, Bonnie Lam, Markus Novak

Kilby Labs, MHR
Trevor Green
Creative Photo Intervalometer

  HVAL - Isolutions/MIS
Joey Sankman

Self-Powered Wireless Sensor Node 

Project site here 


 BMS - Single-Cell BCM
Alan Aragon, Alan Bullick Light drawing BooseterPack: With this boosterpack anyone with an extended expose time camera can draw light designs in the air!

Project site!
Project files here!
Gallery images!

RW5an 2.jpg
Project 27

Project 28

Project 29

Project 30