FICT students bag top prizes at ViTrox Tech 4 Good Challenge

FICT students bag top prizes at ViTrox Tech 4 Good Challenge  

A total of four teams from UTAR Faculty of Information and Communication Technology (FICT) were in the spotlight when they bagged first, second and third prizes at the ViTrox Tech 4 Good Challenge, which took place on 8 July 2023 at ViTrox in Penang.

The first team, named Martial Art and made up of three members, namely Bachelor of Computer Science (Honours) students Yeoh Ban Choon and Ng Shi Qi; and Bachelor of Information Technology (Honours) Communications and Networking student Yap Chee Kuang, was crowned champion under the “Well Being” track for their project titled “Augmented reality (AR) martial arts education application”.

Third from left: Yap, Ng, Yeoh and FICT Dean Prof Ts Dr Liew Soung Yue

The AR Martial Arts Education Application project aimed at assisting one in learning the way of martial arts by providing personalised learning modules, made available by AR and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, with the intention of enhancing accessibility to martial arts education and improve one’s wellbeing.  

The team leader, Yeoh explained, “The project was inspired by our diverse martial arts backgrounds and the shared passion for promoting martial arts. As a team, we aim to raise awareness about the benefits of martial arts and inspire others to embrace these transformative practices for personal growth and well-being. The AR Martial Arts Education Application enhances martial arts education, offering accessibility and engagement for all ages and skill levels. Users receive instant feedback for improved performance and 3D visualisation aids for understanding complex techniques. It revolutionises martial arts training through interactive and effective methods.”

He added, “The AR Martial Arts Education Application has a significant societal impact by democratising martial arts education, fostering inclusivity, and improving the physical and mental well-being of users. It also drives positive change and growth within the martial arts industry through innovation, market expansion, and increased engagement.”

Additionally, his teammate Ng enthused, “The AR Martial Arts Education Application is a powerful tool that combines technology, martial arts, and sustainable development goals. By empowering youth and promoting gender equality through accessible and gender-inclusive martial arts education, the app contributes significantly to SDG 4 (Quality Education) and SDG 5 (Gender Equality). By fostering a sense of community and promoting physical and mental well-being, the application aligns with broader sustainable development efforts, making a positive impact on society.”

Concurrently, Yap expressed his joy and said, “We never thought we could become champions; we simply devoted ourselves fully and focused on completing our project. However, it is an incredible feeling to be recognised for our efforts, and it motivates us to keep innovating and pushing the envelope in our field. Winning this competition feels like a moment of triumph after overcoming various challenges. We are proud of what we have accomplished and grateful for the recognition.”
He continued, “Winning this award for the Vitrox Tech 4 Good is a testament to how UTAR’s supportive and innovative environment fosters creativity, academic excellence, and social consciousness. The guidance and mentorship from the esteemed faculty members, especially those in the FICT, proved instrumental in shaping the application’s concept and design. Their expertise and encouragement throughout the development process were invaluable in refining the application’s features and enhancing the user experience.

The proud champion, Martial Art team walked away with a cash prize of RM3,000, medals and certificates.

Following the incredible feat by the Martial Art team, another two teams, named Reef and GPT0 eachsecured second prize at the competition. The three-member team Reef, comprising Bachelor of Computer Science (Honours) students Oh Jia Sheng, Lim Xuan and Yvonne Eng Xin Yeewas awarded second prize under the “Sustainability” track for their project titled “Food donation”.

Third from left: Lim, Oh and Eng with Prof Liew (far right)

The project developed by Reef, titled “ReeF: Recycle food” was aimed at combatting food wastage by developing a mobile application that empowers consumers to manage and reduce their food waste. The app incorporates features such as food freshness detection, donation options, a decentralised point-reward system, and IoT devices to facilitate the redistribution of surplus food to those in need. The project also aims to raise awareness about the benefits of reducing food waste and contribute to achieving sustainable development goals of zero hunger and climate action.

When asked the team to share their vision about the project, team leader Ong enthused, “Our inspiration for the ReeF project stems from the growing global concern regarding food wastage and its detrimental effects on both society and the environment. The staggering statistics on food waste, coupled with the pressing issues of hunger and climate change, motivated us to develop a practical solution that could make a significant impact. We aimed to leverage technology and behavioural change to raise awareness about food waste and empower individuals to actively participate in reducing it. Our goal was to create a user-friendly app that could effectively manage food surplus and enable seamless redistribution to those in need.”

He added, “The practical application of the ReeF project is to provide a user-friendly mobile application that individuals can readily use to manage their food waste. The app’s features, such as food freshness detection, recipe suggestions, donation options, and a decentralised point-reward system, make it a practical tool for users to assess the freshness of their food, prevent overbuying, and actively participate in reducing food waste. The integration of IoT devices, such as freshness detectors and GPS trackers, streamlines the process of food redistribution, ensuring that excess food reaches those who need it most. The practicality of the app lies in its ability to address the root causes of food waste and provide tangible solutions for individuals, charities, and organisations involved in food management.”

When asked about how helpful the project is to the environment and society, Lim explained, “The ReeF project holds immense societal and environmental benefits. By empowering individuals to manage their food waste effectively, the app promotes responsible consumption and reduces the amount of food ending up in landfills. This has a direct positive impact on the environment by minimising greenhouse gas emissions and conserving valuable resources used in food production. Moreover, the project's food redistribution aspect helps alleviate hunger and supports charitable organisations by connecting them with surplus food. The decentralised point-reward system encourages behavioural change, fostering a sense of social responsibility among users. Overall, the ReeF project contributes to achieving sustainable development goals related to zero hunger, climate action, and responsible consumption, making a positive impact on society, the environment, and the industry.”

In the meantime, Eng enthused “Standing out from the rest, we embraced challenges with a strategic and innovative mindset. We joined the competition to showcase our skills and knowledge, and to learn from industry experts. It filled us with immense pride and reinforced our confidence as IT professionals. This triumph inspires us to keep pushing boundaries and making meaningful contributions to the IT community. Together, we will continue striving for excellence and embracing new challenges. We attribute our achievement of winning this award to the invaluable experiences and contributions gained from our time studying at UTAR. The university has provided us with a strong academic foundation, equipping us with the necessary knowledge and skills to develop an innovative solution like ReeF. UTAR’s supportive learning environment, mentorship programmes, and access to state-of-the-art facilities have played a significant role in our success. The guidance and mentorship from UTAR’s experienced faculty members have been instrumental in shaping our project, refining our strategies, and overcoming challenges. We are grateful for the opportunities and support provided by UTAR, which have contributed to our growth, knowledge, and skills, ultimately leading to this award-winning achievement.”

The Reef walked away with a cash prize of RM1,500, medals and certificates.

On another note, the team GPT0 was comprised of Bachelor of Computer Science (Honours) students Tan Sin Chee, Lee Wei Song and Daniel Looi Jun Jie. The team walked away with RM1,500 for their project titled “Talkable’ under the “Well Being” track. The team explained, “Our winning entry, ‘Talkable’, is an innovative application that aims to bridge the communication gap for the deaf and mute community by providing an interactive and immersive platform to learn and practice sign language. Through AR technology, the app superimposes sign language videos on real-world objects, creating an engaging learning experience. Additionally, it incorporates a sign language recognition feature to facilitate the communication between deaf and mute and normal people. The application also includes a comprehensive library of images labelled with vocabulary to aid illiterate users in constructing sentences and effectively communicating. Overall, our project strives to empower the deaf and mute community, fostering social inclusion, and improving their overall well-being.”  

Third from left: Tan, Lee and Looi with Prof Liew (far right)

They added, “The inspiration behind our project, Talkable, stems from our passion for technology and the desire to make a positive impact on the deaf and mute community. Witnessing the struggles faced by these individuals in effective communication and social integration, we knew we could leverage technology to help them lead more fulfilling lives. Through our experiences in hackathons, we understood the power of augmented reality and how it could be used as an educational tool to teach sign language in a more engaging and immersive manner. We also recognised the need for a sign language recognition system that helps deaf and mute people in normal life.”

When asked the team leader to explain the societal impact of their project, Tan emphasised, “The societal impact of Talkable is profound, as it addresses the communication barriers faced by the deaf and mute community. By empowering them with a comprehensive and accessible tool to learn sign language, we foster social inclusion and open doors to better education, employment opportunities, and healthcare access. Furthermore, our application helps break down stereotypes and stigmas associated with the mute and deaf community, promoting a more inclusive and compassionate society.”

Ultimately, the last team HeliCoda won third prize for their project titled “Gnome: An intelligent farming analysis and alert system” under the Agriculture track. The team was comprised of Bachelor of Computer Science (Honours) students Soh Wen Kai, Goh Ken How and Ho Joe Ee. They walked away with a cash prize of RM1,000, medals and certificates.

Third from left: Ho, Soh, Goh and Prof Liew

The team explained, “The project titled Gnome is an intelligent agricultural system that detects abnormal conditions in real-time by leveraging federated learning approach and employs predictive modelling to determine risk scores for current crop conditions, thus ensuring optimal crop health while preserving data privacy. The Gnome project was inspired by several key factors and motivations that drove us to develop this intelligent agricultural system. The project was born out of the desire to revolutionise agriculture by harnessing the power of data and technology, empowering farmers with valuable insights, making farming more accessible, and promoting sustainability in the agricultural sector. Our vision is to create a thriving community of farmers who can benefit from cutting-edge solutions while contributing to the overall growth and development of the agricultural industry.”

They added, “Our project is closely related to multiple SDGs. It addresses food security, promotes innovation in agriculture, encourages responsible consumption and production, supports climate resilience, preserves biodiversity, and fosters partnerships among farmers. Through these contributions, the project plays a role in advancing sustainable development and making progress towards the global goals set by the United Nations.”

The teammates also expressed their winning joy and enthused, “We are incredibly fortunate and proud to be one of the winning groups in the competition. We believe that what set us apart from the rest was the sheer effort we invested in building this project and the seamless collaboration between the three of us to bring our system to life. The audience’s keen interest in our project was also a significant validation of our hard work. Participating in this competition was driven by our shared interest and enthusiasm to push ourselves further and contribute fresh ideas to the realm of technology. We are eager to explore and develop workable solutions that could have a real-life impact in the future. Throughout the competition, we had the opportunity to learn a great deal from other projects in various tracks, such as well-being and sustainability. It was an eye-opening experience that expanded our knowledge and broadened our perspectives.”

The four teams from UTAR FICT were personally supervised and coached by FICT Department of Computer and Communication Technology academic Dr Aun Yichiet. Dr Aun was proud that the team’s hard work had paid off. He expressed his joy and said the team used their skillsets learned in UTAR as well as explored some trending technologies like AR and AI to make their ideas possible.

Jointly organised by ViTrox and UTAR, the Tech 4 Good Challenge aimed to encourage young students to participate and showcase their creative ideas by using engineering design to solve real-world problems. The challenge was opened to secondary school students and university students. 

Read more: UTAR FICT Teams Shine with Multiple Wins at ViTrox Tech 4 Good Challenge 2023

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