This year marks the fourth year that the Zigbee Alliance Member Group China (ZMGC) sponsored the 2018 TIIC-National Undergraduate IoT Design Contest, which took place last month at Wuxi Taihu Lake Expo Center in Jiangsu, China. In addition to the consistent support from long-term co-organizer and Zigbee Alliance member, Texas Instruments, the event was also sponsored by major brands such as China Mobile, Google, Baidu, Alibaba Cloud, and Huawei.
To further boost the magnitude of the event this year, the contest was backed by the Wuxi Municipal Government and became a major event of the 2018 World Internet of Things Expo held from September 14 to 18, 2018.
Frank Zhang, our very own leader of the ZMGC’s technical team, was on the judges’ panel to help grade and evaluate the participating projects.
The contest saw a record high of nearly 2,000 participating teams of undergraduate college students who attended the event with innovative projects and hopes of taking home an award. Applications of Zigbee were scattered throughout the event, and many of the students’ projects made excellent use of Zigbee technology to connect sensors and implement controls in their projects.
The judges met the submissions with high expectations, as only 108 teams made it to the final round.
Two teams that implemented Zigbee in their projects accomplished their goal and won special awards in the final. Read on to find out more about why their projects got the attention of the judges.
Improving Lives with Faster Rescue Times Using Indoor Positioning
In China, there is a growing demand for smart home systems that are able to assist the elderly who may not live with someone who is readily able to help in emergency situations. The team from Jilin University of Construction introduced Zigbee-based positioning functions in conjunction with health status monitoring. In an emergency, the location of an elderly person inside a building can be quickly reported through a Zigbee-enabled wearable device and Zigbee positioning nodes. Rescue workers will then receive information about the fastest route to gain access to the person in need.
To enhance the effectiveness and completeness of the project, the team also converted the door lock to a Zigbee node in the network, thus enabling first responders to reduce rescue time by receiving authorization to unlock the door through platform management on the cloud and/or from the elderly person’s family members. The team’s application of Zigbee for indoor positioning understandably won the Zigbee Innovation Award.
|History Repeats Itself
Coincidentally, a Zigbee smart elder care project by a team from Huazhong University of Science and Technology won the same award in 2015. By installing sensors to record the elderly person’s behavior data, an algorithm developed by the team was used to establish an early warning mechanism for emergencies. Not long ago, based on the technology used in the award-winning project, the team received tens of millions of dollars in venture capital investment, and the core members of the team were selected as one of the “Top Ten Startup Teams” in Wuhan in 2017.
First Place TI Cup: Smart Beekeeper
The “Smart Beekeeper” project from the Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University team was a highlight of the final. The team integrated Zigbee sensors and controls on a “smart partition” that could be easily inserted into a beehive, thus linking a group of beehives to a Zigbee network that can then be connected to a beekeeping platform on the cloud via NB-IoT protocol. From there, a number of monitoring and controlling functions can be implemented: bee activity monitor, temperature and humidity monitoring, hive micro-environment control, and air pollutants containment. They even included a scale to alert the beekeeper when the hive is ready for honey collection based on weight.
The implementation also comprehensively utilized multiple technologies, including Zigbee, NB-IoT, GPRS (General Packet Radio Service), and VR (Virtual Reality).
In addition to the “smart partition” and cloud monitoring platform, the team created several pieces of smart hardware, such as temperature and humidity sensors, cluster controllers, pressure sensors, solar energy collection modules, and a drone that can inspect the status of a hive without opening the lid. The team also developed corresponding software for platform management and app for users. With such a robust implementation (and a truly impressive onsite demonstration), it’s no surprise this project won the best-in-show “TI Cup” award in the finals.
Fostering Growth and Innovation
This year’s contest reached new heights in not only the number of participating teams but also in the quality, innovation, and comprehensiveness of the projects.
We look forward to seeing what these soon-to-be graduates will do in the IoT in the years to come, and hope to see more inventive, cutting-edge Zigbee implementations from them soon.
Want to learn more about our Zigbee Alliance Member Group China?
For more information, please contact Laura Shang at [email protected].