Over 100 student engineers and computer scientists from ten universities from across the UAE showcased a range of lifestyle improvement technology projects at the annual Software Development Tradeshow organised by the University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD).
Now in its 9th year, the competition is a regular fixture in UOWD’s calendar and is one of a number of initiatives which helps students link academic theory with industry practice and raise the profile and competitiveness of UAE IT students. The event saw over 30 teams compete for prizes, internships and certificates. Judged by a leading panel of experts from the world of industry and academia, entries were marked on their level of innovation and research, real world applicability, integration of new technology and benefit to the community.
First place winner in the engineering category was “EyeSee”, a project which enables blind and visually impaired individuals to navigate effectively within both their homes and the wider world. Created by a team of students from UOWD, the invention uses ultrasonic technology to detect obstacles and notifies the user via audio feedback when they are outdoors, and small vibrations via a wristband when indoors.
Winning team member Chisom Nnorom remarked: “In this day and age, it is important to use technology to develop tools that help those less fortunate. Our project was a chance to incorporate academic theory into a device that could help blind and visually impaired individuals. It was a lot of hard work, but winning made it worth it.”
The creators of a system which uses state-of-the-art brain sensors to monitor a patient’s brain waves and then feed this information to a medical practitioner via a mobile device wowed the judges and received first place in the software category. Created by UOWD graduates Fariha M Khan and Abdulbasit Abbakr, it can be used to manage chronic conditions, especially in remote areas.
“This project was very unique”, commented judge Fakhra Matar Al Mansouri, lead game designer, CEO and founder of Hybrid Humans. “It has the potential to make the world a better place. It was great to see so many students using technology for the good of other people and the environment.”
An application created by UOWD students which uses audio fingerprinting, speech and handwriting recognition to help children to brush up on their reading, writing and maths skills captured the attention of delegates to receive the People’s Choice award.
Other developments which were honoured by the judges included Cardio Builder - a mobile gaming app which encourages cardiovascular patients to exercise by monitoring their heart rate, a payment system developed by students from the University of Sharjah which allows people to pay using their fingerprint, a home automation and smart lighting system and a braille system which will empower blind people to read Arabic with ease.
The judging panel was headed up by leading industry and academic experts, including Farhad Mahammed, Product and Account Manager at Dubai Trade, Rami Sarieddine, a Technical Evangelist at Microsoft, Fakhra Matar Al Mansouri, the lead game designer, CEO and founder of Hybrid Humans, Dr Sami Miniaoui of the University of Dubai, Dr Mohamed Adel Serhani of UAE University and Dr Mourad Elhadef of Abu Dhabi University.
The event was organised by the University’s Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences, led by a committee including Dr Abdelghani Benharref, Dr Halim Khelalfa, Dr Kamal Jaafar, Dr Farhad Oroumchian and Majid Munawar.