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UTECH Granted IEEE Regional Exemplary Student Branch Award

A team of University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech) Students from the Faculty of Engineering and Computing recorded an excellent performance at the recently concluded Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Region Three Southeastern Conference held March 17-20 in Nashville, USA. The team was accompanied by their team advisor, Dr Dave Muir, Lecturer in the School of Engineering.

SoutheastCon is an Annual Region Three Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), is the world’s largest professional organisation technical, professional, and student conference. It brings together Computer Scientists, Electrical and Computer Engineering professionals, faculty and students to share the latest information through technical sessions, tutorials, exhibits and meetings. The theme of this year’s conference was ‘Building Global Engineers’.

Dr Muir notes that the experience was very rewarding for students, despite difficult financial challenges, adding that “there is tremendous opportunity for reapplication of their software knowledge to solve some of Jamaica’s engineering problems”.

Granted IEEE Regional Exemplary Student Branch Award

The 12-member student team participated in the Ethics Paper, the Software, T-Shirt, Website, Student Paper and Hardware (robotics) competitions. UTech was granted third place in the Technical Paper competition and was the only university to be awarded the “IEEE Regional Exemplary Student Branch Award”.

This award was given because the student branch conformed to IEEE Bylaws, have an active programme and support IEEE goals. Undergraduate students are invited to submit papers on subjects of their choice. UTech was among the top eight universities selected to present. The student presentation done by Kimroy Bailey entitled, “of Utilising Offshore Wind Turbines as a Primary Source of Renewable Energy Compared to its Onshore Counterpart” was reviewed by the professionals in the selected fields. The technical articles are published in subsequent IEEE magazines after the conference.

The University was also in the top five for the Ethics Paper Competition. The hardware team placed in the top 25 out of 40 for the competition.

The team placed top six of 15 in the software, and top three in the website design competitions and was among top three Engineering Universities to enter all six competitions at SoutheastCon 2011 and gain two awards. Only 11 of 40 competing universities received awards.

Robotics Competition

The student hardware competition focused on designing an autonomous robot to be deployed in response to natural disasters. The team comprised Odane Kentish, Durvan McKenzie, Jamaal Wilson, Johniel White, Paul Lawrence, U-Shane Taylor, Osane Lannaman, Dean Jones, Tennison Dougherty, Brent Richardson and Kimroy Bailey. The robot’s action should be triggered only by a start button, thereafter there should be absolutely no wireless communication or control of the robotic device.

The robot should comprise of sensors to make it intelligent enough to overcome obstacles, search for victims and report their status (live, unconscious or dead) and their given location both audibly along with a visual display. This competition is usually the major seller of the conference as it requires serious time and resource commitments.

During the competition obstacles were strategically placed by judges, such that it blocked the entire pathway’s access to the victims at times. The UTech team successfully designed and implemented a navigation mechanism to go over these obstacles in order to report the victim’s condition. This evolution of the robot took place in the period of 23 hours.

Ethics Paper Competition

In the Ethics Paper Competition, Latania Morrison, Brent Richardson and Kimroy Bailey represented UTech. They worked on a case study of a military missile malfunction that caused an explosion during transportation. The transportation mechanism which triggered the explosion was orchestrated by an electrical engineer.

The case placed the competitors in the position of a young engineer, who had to make a compromising decision against the interest of his company and investors, but for the safety and welfare of the public who would be endangered if the production of the missile transport mechanism is continued. The student engineers were allocated two hours to prepare an indept analysis of the case, providing grounds for every decision taken using the IEEE Code of Ethics.

Software Competition

The Software Competition included real world design problems and tested the competitors thinking ability, creativity, and programming skills. Two students from the School of Computing: Dean Jones and Tennison Dougherty along with an Electrical Engineering, student Osane Lannaman participated in this competition.

They were provided with the programming infrastructure to carry out the tasks required during the competition. Each Team had access to a computer without internet access and were required to produce executable codes for each given task before proceeding to the next.

Source: Jamaica Observer


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