Check out the top research and BYU innovation videos of the year
Clean water for Pakistan
A BYU engineering capstone team designed a prototype for an affordable, easy-to-use water filtration device to purify water in Pakistan, where contaminated water sources cause about 30% of diseases. The students tested the device in the duck pond on south campus and found that it removed almost all pathogens from the murky water; 15 devices based on the team’s prototype went into use in Pakistan almost immediately.
“Light shared is the best kind of light”: BYU seeks to expand joy in the world through inspiring learning, by which university members serve and connect with all God’s children in lasting ways. Below is the 2022 institutional message, shared most widely during broadcasts of BYU football and BYU basketball.
World’s smallest Book of Mormon
What has 291,652 words and fits on a 4-inch diameter silicon disc? That would be the world’s smallest copy of the Book of Mormon, produced by a group of engineering students with BYU professor Aaron Hawkins. Physically engraved à-la-Moroni and coated with a layer of gold in a nod to the gold plates from which the text originates, these “scriptures on a chip” should long outlast other existing forms of storage (although you’ll need a microscope to read them).
Counting polar bears
Sponsored by Polar Bears International and led by BYU professors Tom Smith and Terri Bateman, a group of BYU engineering capstone students traveled to the Arctic and traversed the terrain in Tundra Buggies, looking for polars bears to image using synthetic aperture radar. Once back at BYU, the group analyzed the radar images to identify the “signature” of polar bears, a step toward using radar to locate bears in underground dens, which is crucial in conservation efforts for the endangered animals.
Origami inspires innovation
Origami, the ancient art of folding paper into complex shapes, has inspired BYU engineers to create dozens of patented designs, from medical devices to wearable tech like a folding bullet-proof shield — and they’ve even designed a giant solar array for NASA.
“The BYU Mars Rover isn’t going to Mars, but the people who are developing it might,” according to student Dallin Cordon, who was part of the BYU’s Mars Rover team selected as one of 36 finalists to compete in this year’s University Rover Challenge. Learning team building and systems engineering, students in the international competition designed rovers that could operate in the rocky, harsh environment of the Red Planet, testing them out in the Mars-like desert near Hanksville, Utah. Cordon noted that many BYU engineering alumni now work in NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Freshmen came together to celebrate belonging at BYU by creating the time-honored Incoming Class Y-Photo. This mesmerizing time-lapse video captured the whole process.
Resilient and nutrient-rich, quinoa is a promising “miracle grain” substitute for the corn, wheat and rice crops that are difficult to grow in increasingly arid climates around the world. To make quinoa a more viable food source, BYU plant and wildlife sciences professor Rick Jellen and his team have sequenced the genomes of many quinoa varieties and developed new quinoa strains, which are already being grown to feed people in developing countries.
Blue zone tips
Looking to live a longer, more joyful life? BYU students traveled with public health professor Randy Page to Ikaria, Greece, to study one of the world’s five “blue zones,” areas known for health and longevity. They brought back lifestyle tips to share.
BYU Animation proved its chops again, winning a Student Emmy at the 41st College Television Awards for “Stowaway,” a short film about the shenanigans that ensue when two pirates attempt to rid their ship of a baby kraken they find hiding aboard. Despite pandemic disruptions, the tight-knit group of students who produced the film worked long hours and considered every detail, down to the Crocs and jeggings sported by their unconventional pirates.
A BYU acoustics team, noted for studying the world's loudest sounds, shares its first-hand account of measuring audio levels during NASA's epic Artemis launch in November. Undeterred by two hurricanes and other challenges, the BYU team of undergraduate students (led by professors Kent Gee and Grant Hart) used their customized field equipment to record high intensity audio of the launch from NASA's Kennedy Space Center.