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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 18 June 2018

Apps to collect rubbish and identify people by their gait win awards at Abu Dhabi event

The students won their awards at the British Computer Society ICT Conference in Abu Dhabi

First place winners, Mohammed Rasly, left, and Osama Khan, at the British Computer Society National Students’ Innovation Award in Abu Dhabi where they presented their project "Smart Garbage Monitoring System". Reem Mohammed / The National
First place winners, Mohammed Rasly, left, and Osama Khan, at the British Computer Society National Students’ Innovation Award in Abu Dhabi where they presented their project "Smart Garbage Monitoring System". Reem Mohammed / The National

An app that sets the foundations for automated rubbish collection has won first place at this year’s British Computer Society National Students’ Innovation Award in Abu Dhabi.

Two students from the University of Bolton’s Ras Al Khaimah branch, Mohammed Rasly and Osama Khan have created an app that informs administrators and waste collectors when it is time to empty the bins.

The bins are fitted with solar-powered, ultrasonic sensors that send data to a server, informing a remote administrator and truck drivers when they are ready for collection.

The app creators consider it a first step to a driverless garbage collection system that will allocates more trucks to busier areas and reduce traffic. They won Dh15,000 for first prize.

Mohammed Azeem took the Dh12,000 second prize for an app that uses biometric identification by measuring their gait. Instead of waiting in line for an iris scan, the user simply carries the phone in their pocket.

“Even when standing at an eye scan at the airport, that requires some kind of an effort,” said Azeem, a Heriot-Watt University who grew up in Dubai. “We want to have it so you can live as you live and the system will just know who you are and accommodate accordingly.”

“This is one biometric that is not explored.”

A Dynamic Time Warping algorithm accounts for differences in step lengths. The app has reached 89 per cent accuracy in user identification.

This app can also reveal a user’s happiness.

It was developed over eight months for his honours dissertation research. Mr Azeem has plans to further develop the app following his recent graduation and is also studying how image detection works in self-driving cars.

The third prize of Dh10,000 went to Otobong Friday and Judhi Prasetyo from Middlesex University, who won for designing an autonomous robot that can teach itself building floor plans using tracking lines. After one tour of a building, it will know the quickest route to any room.

The 60-centimetre long robot is a prototype for larger robots that could deliver coffee to tired employees or zip through hotel corridors with trays of room service or to pick up laundry.

Future models will be fit with computer vision for room and obstacle detection, visible light-based navigation and mobile app integration.

Finally, Iraqi Ahmed Tameemi presented an app that allows people to queue by phone. Mr Tameemi, a student at Heriot-Watt University, sees it being used in offices like Etisalat. It also allows people to schedule appoints to a specific time and recommends similar businesses and offices so users can compare the wait time.

The students won their awards at the British Computer Society ICT Conference in Abu Dhabi. Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, who was recently appointed as Minister of State for Tolerance and formerly served as Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, was the keynote speaker.

He urged scientists present to “promote the value of new technologies for the common good” and quoted the19th century French journalist and poet, Anatole France.

“In a sense, Anatole France provided a mantra for the innovator when he wrote that ‘to know is nothing at all; to imagine is everything’,” said Sheikh Nahyan. “I myself have been imagining what innovative technologies might assist one of the newest ministries in the country, the Ministry of Tolerance, in achieving its mission. My ministry is dedicated to advancing and strengthening the respectful understanding of the many diverse cultural, ethnic, and religious elements of the UAE population. I am allied with you in seeking new ways to benefit our global society.”

He congratulated the students on their contributions.

“I hope that by participating in this competition, you have experienced the true excitement that comes with innovation and independent discovery. You may indeed be the ones to develop the next great innovative applications that benefit our global society.”

The students will be connected to software developers at Apple and Android.

A 13-year-old special needs pupil from Al Wathbah, Abdulla Salem, was also honoured at the conference for top marks at his school in academics and swimming.