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SCDF X IBM Lifesavers' Innovation Challenge: Call for Code 2020

Recently, SCDF has organized SCDF X IBM Lifesavers' Innovation Challenge: Call for Code 2020.The first round is a hackathon that occurred in June 2020, and through a broadcast to all the Schools from the College of Engineering, about 13 CoE teams participated in this hackathon. 

Despite having to work under the gloomy Covid-19 situation and team members can only collaborate remotely, all teams have worked very hard during the 2-day hackathon. In the end, only the top 5 teams, out of more than 300 teams and 1200 participants coming from the different Institutions of Higher Learning, have been selected to proceed to the Grand Finals. Team Circuit Solver is one of the top 5 teams, and is the only team representing NTU in the Grand Finals. Team Circuit Solver has been working very hard these few days and will be putting up a good fight in the Finals. The team was made up of 5 students, namely Lim Wee Jen Aaron (IEM), Lim Wei Jia, Vanessa (IEM), Loke Seng, Theodore (IEM), Lee Jia Wei (IEM) and Tan Ding Hao (EEE). All 5 students are in their 3rd year at NTU EEE. This year’s innovation challenge was unique compared to previous years, where it was predominantly held virtually. Leveraging IBM Cloud to form solutions, teams had 48 hours to create and present their solutions to problems related to crisis management and climate change responsiveness. 

The team found out about the hackathon from an email sent by Dr Wesley Tan. Their ideas for the hackathon was about preventation and detection of electrical fires. Electrical fires are one of the main contributors to fires in Singapore, most often caused by the overcharging of devices such as Personal Mobility Devices. The team Circuit Solver sought to tackle this issue through the early detection of electrical anomalies like current surges or overcharging with the hopes of preventing electrical fires, alongside detecting electrical fires and other sources of fire. Through the use of smoke sensors and smart plugs centered around the IBM Watson IoT Platform, smoke sensors will be able to determine the concentration of smoke, while smart plugs with a built-in current sensor and temperature patch will be able to determine if there are current surges and overcharging occurrences in our power outlets respectively. The teams' solution will notify homeowners, Community First Responders and the SCDF immediately through various means, enabling appropriate actions to be taken swiftly to prevent the spread of fire and endangerment of lives. The team was awarded 2nd runner-up for this hackathon. 

Circuit Solver.jpg

The student acknowledge that Makeathon activities organised by Garage@EEE as well as a Summer Program mentored by Assoc Prof Andy Khong and hosted by Garage@EEE certainly proved really useful in enabling them to utilize Arduino and its related sensors and technologies in serving as the foundation on which our project was built upon. Numerous EEE modules also equipped us well to craft meaningful solutions. Computing modules such as From Computational Thinking To Programming, Data Structures And Algorithms and Software Engineering were instrumental in enabling us to write sound and effective programs, while circuit design modules such as Circuit Analysis and Analog Electronics allowed us to understand and analyse complex circuitry. 

The students were particularly impressed by the winning team’s solution of Dr Watson. Their solution on using visual and audio recognition technologies on IBM Cloud to identify evacuees in high-rise building evacuations would set a new precedent in fire rescue should it be implemented. The use of WiFi triangulation is also a concept that has piqued our interest and will be something that we would like to explore further in-depth. In a competition like this, the thing they most found crucial is the soft skills. Interpersonal skills are key in ensuring effective communication within the team and in delivering an effective pitch. 

Circuit Solver 2.jpg

A spirit of perseverance even in the face of uncertainty and daunting circumstances is a definite catalyst for success, and being bold to approach others for help and being open to fresh perspectives will enable one to create well-thought-out solutions that are exactly what stakeholders are looking for.

Published on 14 August 2020​
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