OIC, CIE Host Second Annual UNCW Internet of Things (IoT) Hackathon

Friday, November 17, 2017

Over the course of three days, 45 undergraduate and graduate students tackled problems through innovation, technology and the help of 15 industry experts.  

The second annual UNCW Internet of Things (IoT) Hackathon kicked off Nov. 17 at the Center of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The event brings together engineering, information systems and computer science students to develop solutions with the potential of becoming commercial applications.

Researchers were interviewed by staff from the Office of Innovation and Commercialization, which hosts the event, about problems or inefficiencies in their day-to-day research. This year, the hackathon will focus on the fields of marine science and biotechnology.

“We want to see how, if possible, we can streamline their research via hardware or software solutions, using the internet of things,” said Scott Davis, a graduate assistant in the OIC who helped organized the event. “The projects may end up being a remedy to problems researchers are having or it can be a commercial application for the marketplace.”

Projects that students will collaborate on include:

  • Designing a device that utilizes image processing to count microscopic organisms through a microscope;
  • Creating a pump system that collects water samples, in specific quantities and at certain depths, from a remotely operated boat;
  • Creating a system which measures soil and air parameters and suggests plant types to grow based on the determined soil and air profile;
  • Creating a system that measures soil quality, analyzes soil profiles and optimizes irrigation systems; and
  • Creating a water quality monitoring system that relays data to a pre-existing database.

Students will be divided into teams based on skill sets. The teams will be paired with mentors from UNCW, GE Hitachi, Live Oak, PPD, nCino, Apiture, NC Biotech and other industry experts. Student presentations will be held at 12:45 p.m. on Nov. 19. The presentations are open to the public.

“From last year’s hackathon, we found the student-mentor relationship to be one of the best experiences for the students,” said Chris Krumm, Office of Innovation and Commercialization coordinator. “It allows students to see how they might approach a software development project or other technical projects in an industry setting through guidance from these mentors.”

Krumm hopes the Office of Innovation and Commercialization will able to expand the hackathon to include the community or local schools in the future.

“There is also some discussion with industry partners to expand the theme and solicit industry-related problems,” he said. “We are considering this direction and would hope this would help establish greater opportunities and partnerships with local industry in the area of innovation and technology.”

-- Venita Jenkins