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Mechanical Engineers’ COVID-19 Student Challenge results

Institution News Team

Luca Casula's project
Luca Casula's project

The COVID-19 Student Challenge tasked young people to develop innovative solutions to problems facing their communities as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Entries were submitted from countries around the world including the UK, USA, Spain, Nigeria, Palestine, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Malawi, United Arab Emirates, Papua New Guinea and Bangladesh.

Competing individually or as part of a team, young engineers submitted their entries in the following education groups, with the percentage of submissions received in each category highlighted: Primary (12%), Secondary (50%), Further Education (9%) and Higher education (29%).

Dr Mark McBride-Wright CEng MIChemE, Founder and Managing Director, EqualEngineers, commented,

“It has been a pleasure working with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers on the COVID-19 Student Challenge. Through a shared desire to engage with students on their novel and innovative ideas, our partnership has shown what can be done in a tight timeframe when everyone is aligned on getting the output. The entries have been fantastic to read, and our judges have enjoyed reviewing all the entries submitted.”

 Leyla Spiteri’s Primary Education category competition entry

Leyla Spiteri's project

Winner of the Primary Education category was Leyla Spiteri’s device which detects, measures and alerts the wearer of those around them who are within the recommended social distancing guideline. Stewart Jackson CEng FIMechE, Technical Sales Manager at Bytronic Automation described Leyla’s competition entry as “a great idea that is well described and thought out, I particularly like that she has understood the types of sensors available that could be used for this.”

George Lenney's project

George Lenny's project

Our congratulations also go to George Lenny whose 'Hands Free Gate' project was the runner-up in the Primary Education category.  His gate "works when you stand on the footplate, it pushes down the end of the lock; lifting the hook end from the lock pin, the bar swings down into the space on the gate post and then you just need to kick the gate and it’s open! It will swing back and the lock will fall and reset."

Meanwhile, Sirihaasa Nallamothu achieved first place in the Secondary category with her machine learning algorithm "RiscusExplorato" which diagnoses chest X-ray images as COVID-19, viral pneumonia or healthy in a matter of seconds with 98% accuracy. When assessing Sirihaasa’s competition entry, Chrisma Jain, Senior Project Manager at Transport for London noted how her idea and presentation was “very original amongst the other entries and was well-articulated. She backed up her idea with evidence and the coding was developed to show us a working model. This was an idea that I would have expected from a university student so was pleased to see her win the Secondary category.”

Many congratulations also go toPeter Ayomide Odugbile, runner-up in the Secondary Education category with his 'Ultrasonic 2m Distance Notifier'.

Taking first place in the Further Education category was Luca Casula’s "Edustation" entry which is an affordable and portable device designed to share information without the need for internet by storing offline content on open source ZIM files in a micro SD card that is inserted into his ‘Edustation’ device. According to Tom Willshare CEng FIMechE, Director at Fewer Moving Parts Ltd, Luca’s product stood out as it “offered a solution for multiple issues faced in the wake of the pandemic. The entry showed he has carefully considered the user requirements while working to develop his product, a skill vital in successful product development. He also carefully considered both main, and supplementary target markets, backing up his statements with referenced data, and followed with a thorough risk and cost analysis”.

Many congratulations also go to Milan Gurung for their "Lip Readable Facemask" aiming to provide "a mask that allows people hard of hearing to read lips of other people and communicate better whilst being protected from Covid-19".

Milan Gurung's project

Milan Gurung's project

In the Higher Education category, Team MORA Phoenix emerged victorious with their idea for a lightweight, easy to manufacture vest integrated with a cooling system designed to keep healthcare workers comfortable in hot weather conditions while wearing hazmat suits and personal protective equipment. On judging their competition entry, Hafiz M. Muddassir CEng MIMechE, Hon. Secretary of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ Pakistan Group highlighted that “the idea of a wearable cooling vest for healthcare professionals and frontline workers is very thoughtful and innovative. As a spouse of a healthcare professional, I understand the pain and exhaustion that frontline workers have to go through on a daily basis. During the hot summer season, this exhaustion turns into frustration which then hinders the overall operation of the healthcare system. Team MORA Phoenix's cooling vest has the potential to put the bodies and minds of healthcare professionals at ease, so they can efficiently take care of us and our loved ones.”

Team Phoenix project
Team Phoenix' project

Many congratulations also go to Milan Gurung, runner-up in this category, for the "Lip Readable Facemask" which aims "to provide 'a mask that allows people hard of hearing to read lips of other people and communicate better whilst being protected from COVID-19".

The Institution hopes that participants enjoyed taking part in the COVID-19 Student Challenge, congratulates all of the winners and thanks all those who took part.

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