MCLEAN, VA — Alexander Lee, a student at Central Piedmont Community College , has been named the winner for the Idea Creation competition as part of the MTConnect Student Challenge for his submission, “Raspberry Pi for Data Visualization.” Lee’s winning submission proposed the use of a Raspberry Pi single-board computer as an MTConnect adapter to monitor a machine’s overall equipment effectiveness, utilizing the Python programming language to visualize the data that comes from the machine.

“I’m part of a generation that grew up with the internet, and it was something that was always just there. But if you enter a factory today, it feels like the manufacturing industry kind of missed out on the whole internet revolution,” Lee said. “I hope this award brings to light that there is a huge opportunity to innovate in manufacturing, and that kids who are using computers like Raspberry Pi will explore ways to use them in real-world industrial applications. A lot of millennials are entering the workforce, and they are enthusiastic to introduce these types of new and innovative ideas.”

Lee’s submission utilized an example of a manufacturing facility where engineers are required to manually record a machine’s downtime through a legacy Sinumerek 840D controller, as the controller is not connected to any network. As a solution, a Raspberry Pi could be repurposed as an MTConnect adapter to collect data, with that data processed through MTConnect and the Python programming language and visualized through an open-source Python-based application. Lee has won a $5,000 prize and has been invited to attend the upcoming [MC]2 Conference in Dallas along with the other competition winners. The finalists, along with their schools and titles of submissions, include:

• Steven Hearndon, Clemson – “MTMonitor (IFTTT Channel)” ($2,500 winner)

• Zach DeSmit and Patrick Good, Virginia Tech – “Cyber-Attack Detection” ($1,000 winner)

• Maxwell Micali, U.C. Berkeley – “Extracting Design from Data Streams” ($1,000 winner)

• Ilya Kovalenko and Miguel Saez, Michigan – “Multi-Agent Control of Manufacturing Systems” ($1,000 winner)

“The MTConnect Institute is particularly excited about Alexander’s winning proposal because of his innovative ideas for linking several open-source elements to address an industrywide need for better OEE data collection and visualization,” said MTConnect President Douglas K. Woods. “By leveraging the low-cost Raspberry Pi along with Python, Alex has opened the doors to thousands of developers – especially those in the Maker Movement – to effectively connect, analyze, and visualize data from equipment, all made possible by the MTConnect standard.”

The MTConnect Student Challenge seeks to better develop manufacturing’s digital capabilities by using student creativity to find industry solutions. The challenge continues through July with the ongoing Application Development competition, which closes to submission on July 15. Winning submissions are eligible for a share of $22,500 in cash prizes; competition information is available at

The MTConnect Student Challenge is sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) Defense-wide Manufacturing Science and Technology (DMS&T) and executed by the U.S. Army Benét Labs, the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM), by AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology, and the MTConnect Institute, in partnership with SME and the National Tooling and Machining Association.