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Students compete to make drones smart in annual hack

The fourth “Design and Build Winter Hack” took place at Queen Mary’s Mile End campus from Monday 18 February to Friday 22 February.

27 February 2019


From detecting bananas to taking selfies from afar – these were some of the tasks that drones learned to perform during an annual challenge that brings together Queen Mary students from the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science and from the Joint Programme with the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications (BUPT).

Computer vision for drone applications

25 Queen Mary students were split into teams to compete in a week-long challenge that promotes creativity, technology and collaboration.

Fifteen students from Queen Mary’s School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science were joined by ten students who travelled all the way from Beijing to take part in this event. It was an opportunity to put their skills to the test and utilise their studies in areas such as Big Data Science, Internet of Things Engineering, Telecommunications Engineering, and Computer Science.

Students were encouraged to create real-world apps that use drone data. The week ended with a demonstration in front of a panel of judges, composed of Professor Andrea Cavallaro, Professor Kasper Althoefer, and Dr Ketao Zhang.

Haseem, one of the four members of the winning team, and a student in Computer Science at Queen Mary, explained that the best bit about the week was: “Getting to know each other. We all come from different backgrounds and study different subjects. Doing the research was really inspiring. We had to beat language and cultural barriers, and we really formed a bond. It was a very special experience.”

Creativity, technology and collaboration

Dr Michael Chai, Interim Queen Mary Director of Joint Programme with BUPT, closed the annual event by recognising the hard work of the participants and the event organiser, Dr Jesús Requena Carrión. He congratulated the teams for their “very impressive demos, which showcased a lot of great ideas.”

Dr Jesús Requena Carrión, Deputy Director of the Joint Innovation Centre between Queen Mary University of London & the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, commented that: “The ingenuity of our students comes to life during the annual Design and Build Winter Hack Week. In just five days our students have created fantastic products blending a wide range of the latest technologies, from drone platforms to AI and Deep Learning. This is a stimulating and rewarding challenge that demonstrates the benefits of our programmes in fostering collaboration among students from different cultures and exchanging high tech skills and knowledge.”

In 2018, teams of students competed to hack robots and teach them a range of football skills. 

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