A Super NOVA With An Innovative Spirit: Annandale Resident Builds Device to Aid the Blind | Super NoVA
A Super NOVA is a person with a unique talent or business that makes them stand out in the crowd of Northern Virginia. Steve Struebing of Annandale makes this week’s Super NOVA spot for his innovative spirit in building H.A.L.O (the Haptic Assisted Locating of Obstacles) for the Humana Health Competition.
“By using a few inexpensive components and sensors, I’ve made a device that could help the blind to navigate their surroundings and avoid collisions,” said Struebing.
Struebing is an engineer by education and has always been into the creative aspects of technology. He is currently an engineering manager at JDSU in Germantown, Maryland, where he has been a software manager for about 10 years.
After several weekends and late nights of programming and debugging, Struebing submitted his project to Humana just after Thanksgiving. He learned that he was the Grand Prize winner of the contest in January. He won a $5,000 adventure vacation (which he has not used yet). How were the other contest entries?
“They were brilliant. There are tons of smart guys out there. All they need is a problem to solve,” said Struebing.
He believes that technology has undoubtedly made our lives easier and hopes that more people will find ways to connect teams of engineers with people who have a need or problem to solve.
Struebing believes that there are 3 main things that enable innovation:
1) The web communities and technology support networks (like HacDC)
2) The vast amount of tools now available
3) Having a prize structure (like the Humana contest) because he believes that “creativity loves constraints”
Check out the video to see the H.A.L.O in action. Look out for more Super NOVAs every Wednesday afternoon going forward. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to nominate yourself, or someone you know that deserves to be recognized as a Super NOVA!