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NTU and Fujitsu celebrate a successful Grand Challenge 2019

After the success of last year's first ever Grand Challenge, Nottingham Trent University (NTU) alongside strategic partner Fujitsu launched the Engineering Grand Challenge 2019 to first and second year Engineering students in April.

NTU Grand Challenge Trade Show 2019

Students were challenged by NTU and strategic partner Fujitsu to develop an engineering solution aimed at enhancing the lives of future campus users under the theme of Smart Campus 2039. These solutions were asked to exploit the increasing opportunities in Smart Connectivity, as well as provide an opportunity to create an impact outside of the University campus environment. The challenge featured five sub themes, allotted to teams of students that included members from across Mechanical, Electronic, Biomedical and Sport Engineering;

  • Smart Wellbeing: How can we use technology to keep ourselves and our friends healthy in body and mind? How do we help those living with or alongside those with conditions, risk factors, or long-term illness?
  • Campus as a Workplace: How can we use technology to support those working in the many roles across campus? And how can we make them more productive in their job as well as happier, safer and more effective.
  • Facilities Management: How can we use technology to better manage the assets of the University? How can we help make buildings more efficient in terms of energy use, and occupancy?
  • Smart Mobility: How can we use technology to improve access to and across Campus for students, staff and visitors? What can be done to improve the efficient use of transport, and encourage integrated and sustainable mobility solutions?
  • Smart Social - International Students: How can we use technology to improve social and leisure time for staff and students on Campus? How can we build social groups and support those who find it difficult to integrate or make it on campus due to other commitments?

The five-week challenge culminated in students developing and building a working demonstrator that they showcased at the end-of-challenge trade show in the Pavilion Building on NTU's Clifton Campus. Members of the NTU Engineering Department and Fujitsu's senior leadership team attended the show, with students showcasing their designs, as well as one minute elevator pitches and details on how their solutions could be adapted for commercial production.

The calibre of talent amongst NTU students was extremely high, with Fujitsu and NTU Engineering staff coming together to award a number of teams for their outstanding effort and innovative designs across all the sub themes. One team in particular, Kuvaa, were award the overarching Human Centric award for their original design, and invited to attend the prestigious Fujitsu World Tour this coming July in London.

Grand Challenge 2019 Winning Team Kuvaa
Winning team Kuvaa

Kuvaa utilised AI and other technologies to provide a solution to empower people with accessibility needs navigating their location, as well as offering support for those with disabilities such as visual impairments.

Andy Seferta, Head of Ecosystem and Analyst Engagement at Fujitsu, was impressed with the talent on display: "Fujitsu has been delighted to support such an exciting initiative with our strategic partner Nottingham Trent University. The 150 students rose to the challenge set and addressed them through innovation technology solutions along with guidance and industry advice from Fujitsu.

Being able to provide industry insight to students who are clearly bringing fresh thinking to address business challenges means the students benefit from considering how their ideas can have a wider business and commercial impact. As well as being beneficial for students, we at Fujitsu also benefited from engaging with smart students who bring different thinking and perspectives into the conversation. The winning solution is impressive: empowering people with accessibility needs navigating their location, supporting disabilities such as visual impairments, through utilising technologies such as AI. It was an inspiring and refreshing session seeing the outputs of young people's work who are motivated and are striving towards a better future for our learning spaces through digital technologies."

Kuvaa will be showcasing their solution at the Fujitsu world tour in July. You can read more about our strategic partnerships within Engineering and Digitalisation elsewhere on our website.

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