Building a Sustainable World: First in History Indian-Russian Youth Hackathon
LETI held an unprecedented hackathon Building a Sustainable World, in which St. Petersburg students and schoolchildren from the Leningrad region competed with their Indian counterparts to offer the best IT engineering solutions for global challenges.
For three days, from June 3 to 5, Kudrovo technopark school served as the playground and test field for young programmers and future professionals in robotics, computer applications, and the Internet of Things. Seven teams of schoolchildren and students from Russia and India worked out innovative solutions to three relevant problems faced by humankind today. The tasks were randomly selected for teams in three age groups. They were: robotic home helper for the aged and disabled, intelligent meteostation for professions and occupations dependent on weather conditions, and smart road quality monitoring system.
The hackathon was opened by Dr. Shishir Shrotriya, Advisor on Science and Technology at the Embassy of India in Moscow, and Mikhail Ktitorov, Advisor of the Russian Embassy in India. Both speakers expressed confidence that such new formats of intellectual cooperation will make a good contribution to the bilateral exchanges and increase the inventory of solutions for real-world problems.
"I hope that one day, participating schoolchildren will enter the prestigious Russian university to contribute to our cooperation in science and technology, which continues to be one of the pillars in the strategic partnership between Russia and India. At present, deep-rooted ties between our countries' scientific institutions are reviving, and new ones are being developed, and exchanges in higher education are intensifying too."
After the opening, 7 teams submerged into the three-day marathon in the classrooms and laboratories of the Kudrovo school and Indian education center.
The youngest participants of the hackathon – under 13 years – worked at the intelligent meteostation providing critical weather data to outdoor workers and weather-dependent services. The developed IoT devices can capture real-time data on temperature, humidity, and wind speed to promptly notify authorities about critical changes. First place in this nomination was shared by RoboChamps (India), whose meteostation can help Indian farmers to fight fires and floods, and Team Number One (Russia), who installed the station on a chassis to monitor the weather in different locations.
Teams in the 14+ age group designed the robotic home helper for people in need. The contestants developed complex robotic systems including several devices: a health monitoring gadget with wearable sensors, a robot for medication delivery, and a cleaning robot. As the best solution, the international jury unanimously recognized the Carrie system developed by the Russian team Heroes of Tomorrow, including school hackers from Kudrovo and Kirishi. In addition to other functions, their robotic system takes into account pills dropped by the patient and found by the robot-cleaner, and the loss is reported to the doctor and family via the Telegram bot.
Students from Indian and Russian universities offered their solutions to the bad road problem. The built robotic systems can monitor the quality of the road surfaces and traffic load on them for road maintenance management. In this nomination winners were the Indian Team Alpha, who added the weather monitoring function for better road condition prediction.
"LETI's close cooperation with recognized Indian institutions and universities made it possible to attract enthusiastic schoolchildren and students to this three-day Indian-Russian hackathon "Building A Sustainable World," during which contestants showed a high level of technological and general knowledge. All this helps to motivate students in engineering education. It also strengthens the established ties between our countries and internationalizes the national systems of higher education in Russia and India".
Engineering solutions presented by Russian teams at the hackathon showed in practice how robotic systems and computer applications can solve complex socially relevant challenges faced by countries, regardless of their geographic and cultural background. This experience also shows the advantages of higher R&D education for current and future students of LETI.
At the awards ceremony, the winners received prizes from the Hackathon partners, and the organizers expressed hope that next year's hackathon will be held in offline mode.
Hackathon "Building A Sustainable World" was organized by LETI, Kudrovo technopark school, and Pravaha Foundation with the support of the Indian Embassy in Moscow and the Russian Embassy in India.