Object-Seeking Robot Wins PennApps XVII

Monday, Jan 29, 2018
PennApps Winner

Florida Atlantic University undergraduate computer engineering student, Nazik Almazova with her teammates from the University of Pennsylvania won the grand prize at the PennApps XVII hackathon that was hosted January 19 through 21, 2018 at the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, Pa. with their project "CloudChaser".

The CloudChaser project is a robot that can recognize objects and follow commands to seek them out. Using an onboard Amazon Echo Dot, users ask Alexa for the object they wish to be found; the robot then scans the environment for that object and rolls to it once it’s identified. The image analysis, a computationally intensive process, is done in the cloud, which means that the software that powers CloudChaser can run on any device that is able to connect to Wi-Fi.

The PennApps event hosted 1,000 students from around the world, with more than 150 tech projects created over the course of the event. Teams of up to four people spent the weekend working on innovative software and hardware solutions to a real-world problem. The projects included elements of web development, mobile applications, drones, and more. The finished projects were evaluated by a panel of tech industry judges, who rated them on originality, technical difficulty, polish, and usefulness.

"Nazik was the top student in my Introduction to Programming in C course," said Saeed Rajput, Ph.D., adjunct professor in FAU's Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science. "This is a proud moment for the department and FAU's Women in Engineering and Computer Science."

The main aspect of the hackathon is the community it generates and the skills that inexperienced hackers walk away with.

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