Monday 6 March 2017
Five students from QMUL fought off five other teams of undergraduates to win the grand final of the Switch-Up Challenge based at Cisco’s UK headquarters on Thursday 9 February. Kapil Pau, Aathishankar Thayanantha, Harriydaran Rajendran, Prodige Tukala and Yusuf Pholby, who are all studying for bachelors degrees in computer science, have each won a week-long trip to Cisco’s global headquarters in San Jose, California this summer.
The growing ubiquity of the Internet of Things – the concept of embedding physical objects (tools, vehicles, buildings etc) with technology and connecting them to the internet – led Cisco to launch the Switch-Up Challenge in partnership with TARGETrecruit in September 2015. The competition is aimed at UK university students, and tasks them with devising an innovative mechanism that can tackle a social or environmental issue by using the Internet of Things.
The team from QMUL impressed the jury with their project, ‘Spyne’. Spyne is a revolutionary posture tracker that comprises a thin, embedded, ‘T’-shaped strip designed to monitor the wearer’s posture, and an app on their phone. It aligns with the user’s spine and across their shoulders to track unhealthy bends in the back and rolling of the shoulders. It pairs with the phone via Bluetooth to send the data to the app, which alerts the user after prolonged periods of bad posture. It also creates real-time renderings of the spinal shape and allows for posture ‘review’ – providing graphical illustrations of users’ posture compared to the recommended shape over time.
“It was great to hear from the enthusiastic students. They all presented ideas to reflect the world-changing possibilities that technology and the Internet of Things can provide,” said Dr Alison Vincent, Chief Technology Officer, Cisco Systems UK & Ireland, and part of the judging panel.
To be considered for next year’s Switch-Up Challenge, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org