Monday, June 25, 2007

UoN Tech Day

So - this is probably like my first real blogged article - as in I sound like a journalist ;)

The UoN Tech Day is an Annual event - a day where computer science students showcase the final-year projects they've been building. A very cool concept that other universities need to adopt.
It's really weird ... whenever I go to these student project showcases, I come away very impressed at what I see ... yet it's hard to notice the same results in the real world :) I've always mused where these students go ...
The thing that struck me about the projects on Saturday was the completeness of most of the products. They were really thought through, and some are even marketable immediately.
Didn't get to see all of them (below is only a small section of what was on display). And sadly didn't carry a camera :( Looking for pictures ...

1. mobile maps for nairobi
Jessica has built an app for querying maps of nairobi from a mobile phone. The maps sit on a server, and she built a grid of points on that. The mobile app has a menu where you can select points of interest in Nbi eg Hilton, street names etc. The app is capable of zooming into the map and displaying the location (including a picture), and also giving directions from point A to B. Works over GPRS.
Very neat - Google are you listening ?
Real world - can probably link to live GIS data from someone like Geomaps or Ramani.

2. facial recognition
Billy uses a webcam to get video input of his facial features, and can then control his computer by moving his head around :) The application can control stuff like Windows (selecting menus etc), and is very cool when it comes to playing games (you can look around in Quake, Doom by turning your head). We must get him to present this at one of our sessions.

3. mobile blogging
Judith built a j2me app that allows bloggers to create posts via GPRS on their mobile phones. She built this on her own blogging platform. Wants to take it further - lots of options - eg SMS-based posts, linking to a platform like WordPress, and she's very keen on adding support for blogging images/photos etc.

4. interfacing car remote with a computer
Peter and Charity linked up the wireless remote of a toy car to their computer (managing to only blow one transistor in the process). The computer app can then control the car. They built in a recording function such that the car could be driven by the remote, and the whole sequence/motion could then be replayed by the computer alone. Self-driven cars.
This seems to be a popular project with all universities - got Titus very excited. I think they need to take it to the next level - robotic competitions, or things like the DARPA challenge - that would be so cool if we built that.

Very fun day - trip to the toy store :)
Eric Magutu - a lot of these guys need to join skunkworks .....


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post. It brings back lovely memories. I was the chairman of the Computer Science students association (NUCOMSA) back in 2001 when we organized the first Tech Day. Back then we called it the Open Day. The next year I presented my facial recognition product (called DejaView) that really wowed people. They sat, took their own photos with a webcam and when they came back the computer could 'recall' their names. This is why I'm particularly impressed by the product that uses facial recognition to control the computer.


egm said...

Thanks for the roundup!

Riyaz said...

Alex - it's still called Open Day. I think it's a brilliant idea :)

Chris Kiagiri said...

Riyaz and Jessica,

Yes, Google is listening ... as Wapakala pointed out, we are a lot closer to the ground than you might think. :)

creativemind said...

Contacts contacts contacts! Is there like a list of all projects showcased and the names and contacts of their developers?

Riyaz said...

creativemind - we have a list of the contacts for the projects we were able to see. Drop me a line.