Curtin Malaysia hosts first HackWknd in northern Sarawak

Miri – 25 July 2019 – The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Student Branch of Curtin University Malaysia (Curtin Malaysia) recently organised the first Hackathon Weekend or HackWknd for the northern region of Sarawak in conjunction with the 7th International Conference of Smart Computing and Communications (ICSCC) 2019 held at the university.

A HackWknd is a hackathon event typically lasting several days in which large numbers of participants meet to engage in collaborative programming.

Supported by Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) and the Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA), the HackWknd held at the university’s Digital Maker Hub was aimed at discovering raw talent and encouraging open innovation among tertiary students and members of the public.

It saw the participation of a number of young programmers, designers and creative thinkers in the fields of big data analytics, the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), who collaborated in teams to produce web, mobile and digital hardware solutions that could potentially solve issues faced by the private and public sectors in Miri City.

The issues were related to Mobility, Connectivity and Information Sharing and details of the private and public sector challenges, specifications, requirements and potential stakeholders were shared with the teams, after which they were given 48 hours to develop creative solutions and pitch their ideas to a panel of judges.

The teams were judged on the relevancy of their solutions to smart cities and smart computing, their uniqueness, creativity, prototype implementation, business value, feasibility, energy efficiency and low-cost solutions.

Mentoring them were SMA Ecosystem Strategist (Operations) Digital Village Unit Amirrul Rizwan Bin Mohd. Abd. Hafiz, SMA Ecosystem Strategist (Talents) Digital Village Unit Khairool Adzelan Bin Aman, Leslie Lau of Junior Chamber of International (JCI) and Patrick Andra Tawang of SEB.

Meanwhile, the judges comprised Intel Technology’s Dr. Wendy Chin, SEB’s Patrick Andra Tawang and SMA’s Head of Digital Village Hazwan Razak.

Coming up tops in the hackathon was ‘Sigcom Team’ comprising Tay Chuan Zhi, Nurul Ain Binti Hamizan, Hu Ho Yee, Kavin Chelvan Sylvestyne A/L Kathiravan and Ivan Ang Jie Xiong.

Their winning solution was an innovative mobile application called GoMiri incorporating Augmented Reality (AR) navigation, maps, forums and an SOS system. The application allows tourists to locate hidden hotspots using AR pathways, which can also be used for navigation when jungle-trekking.

Using the map function, they can locate destinations, determine travel times and access bus schedules. They can interact with one another in the forums to recommend local attractions, and also send distress signals during emergencies in locations with no cellular connectivity using the SOS system.

‘Beemo’ comprising Leong Yi Sheng, Hong Chin Kai and Gillian Tan Jing Ying came in second with their mobile application that links tourists with local tour operators and includes in-system cash payment.

Third-placed ‘Lemetriq’ comprising Basil Andy Lease, Jonathan Phang Then Sien and Chiam Dar Hung proposed an IoT bus service application that connects local bus companies with passengers, count passengers on buses using cameras, and detects abnormal human behaviour to prevent vandalism.

The winning teams will receive support from the sponsors to fine-tune and pilot their prototypes. The teams are also encouraged to pledge seed funding, facilitated by SMA’s Digital Village Unit.

Electrical and computer engineering associate professor Garenth Lim King Hann, who is the IEEE Curtin Malaysia Student Branch advisor, said hackathons are good platforms for promoting critical thinking and providing solutions using open-source applications. I

“It instils the maker spirit in young minds and supports talent and entrepreneur development for the future development of Sarawak,” said Associate Professor Lim.

The HackWknd was held on the sidelines of the 3-day 7th International Conference of Smart Computing and Communications, or ICSCC 2019, hosted by Curtin Malaysia in collaboration with the IEEE Malaysia ComSoc/VTS Joint Chapter, IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology (EMB), Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA), Sarawak Convention Bureau (SCB) and National Institute of Technology (NIT) Kurukshetra.

Carrying the theme ‘’Smart Computational Intelligence for a Digital World’, ICSCC-2019 drew delegates from all over the world. It provided an excellent platform for experts from academia and industry to share their insights and experiences, and discuss various aspects of evolving technologies and trends related to smart computing and communications systems.

 

One of the judges testing a prototype during the HackWknd.

 

A hackathon mentor supervising some of the participants.

 

SMA Head of Digital Village Hazwan Razak giving his speech during the closing ceremony.

 

Group photo of HackWknd winners.

 

First prize winners Sigcom Team.

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