New film proves student’s theory: You can unring a bell

February 1, 2017 By Sara Griswold

Engineering student Chris Nguyen of Waukesha, Wisconsin, won GE’s “Unimpossible Missions: The University Edition” competition last fall, receiving a 10-week paid internship at the GE Global Research Center and a scholarship of up to $100,000 to continue his education.

The contest challenged students to disprove a catchphrase using GE technology. Nguyen chose “You can’t unring a bell” and as part of his prize, he got to have his idea filmed. GE recently released the video.

University Communications caught up with Nguyen to ask how it feels to see his idea come to life.

Q: How did you get the idea to do your project on ‘unringing a bell’?

When I had heard about the competition, I knew I wanted to come up with something clever. I scoured the internet for idioms from different countries and created a list that I may want to tackle (there were about 10 on the list). … I was researching headphones for an upcoming purchase and upon looking into noise cancellation, the solution to the experiment was found.

Q: How long did it take you to do the research and experiment to figure out the solution?

The most difficult part of this challenge was to find an idiom that could be debunked in a clever way. Once I found the idiom and the corresponding technology, it did not take long to put it together. I am very grateful to GE for making it possible.

Q: What will you be doing during your internship this summer?

I will be graduating in May and am excited to be at the Global Research Center in Niskayuna, New York, for my internship this summer. I have gotten the opportunity to speak to several project leaders about their projects and we are in the process of determining which one I will be working on.

I am planning on returning to UW Madison in September to get my master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering. I am hoping to do research in mechatronics and biomechatronics.

Q: What do you think of the video? 

 The video was incredible and it was exciting to see my experiment performed at such a large scale. During my visit to the GRC, I was able to participate in several scenes of the video. Due to fall classes, I was unavailable to go to Myanmar for the grand experiment. However, I am extremely happy with it and am glad that it worked as planned!

 This entire experience has been a blast and I am grateful to GE for the opportunity. I am incredibly thankful for all the support from my professors, mentors, fellow Badgers, and UW staff; without them, this would have been impossible.