Four female students of the College of Engineering at United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) won first place in the Ideathon competition, held in Abu Dhabi, on November 10, 2016. The Ideathon competition was organized by the joint cooperation of the UAE Space Agency and other partners in Japan such as the Japan Space Forum, Agency of Natural Resources and Energy, the University of Tokyo and Japan Space System, which are all part of the global space congress. Several universities from across the UAE (MASDAR, AUS, Khalifa and UAEU) participated in the competition which is an extension of the capacity-building program.
The competition aims to encourage students to submit ideas on how to use space technology in general, and satellites in particular, in order to resolve various issues in the State. It included a lecture informing the participating teams about the uses of space, and then a brainstorming session was conducted for two hours for the teams to extract an innovative idea to apply to space science. The idea was presented to a jury composed of a number of experts and specialists from multiple universities in Japan.
The winning idea by the Supernova team from UAEU was to utilize small or nano-satellites for finding lost airplanes, using a large number of inexpensive small or nano-satellites to enable better resolution imaging for the sky of the UAE. This enables excellent tracking of airplanes at many locations around the country. The idea includes the creation of an online 3D imaging like a Google map, but for the sky. This will enable the creation of a high-resolution online monitoring system for the sky in the UAE. The proposed technology has important applications that benefit the society of the UAE. The online system would enable the detection of any irregularity such as smoke, sudden changes in elevation or speed or direction of airplanes. By using this tool, the UAE government could have better control of the sky in the UAE with this powerful monitoring tool. This would significantly help in the case of a rescue mission by achieving a quick response and determining the exact location of lost airplanes. Also, the tool will enable the UAE to detect any unknown aircraft that is crossing its sky or that is moving at a higher elevation and which cannot detected by land radars.
Professor Khaled al Hashmi, Director of Space Missions, Science and Technology at the UAE Space Agency honored the winning team. The students were Lamia Al Marzouki, Aisha Al-Shamsi, Aisha Alyahyaai, and Shamma Al Kalbani. The team was supervised by Dr. Fadi Alnaimat, an Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering at UAEU. They won an all-expense-paid training trip to Japan for a week, under the supervision of a team in the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency where they will train in parabolic flight experimentation. Ms. Al Marzouki proudly stated, “Winning first place among State universities makes them proud in this achievement and it inspires them to present new ideas to embody the application of space technology for the benefit of the society". She noted the role of UAEU in this success, for allowing them to take advantage of experts and specialists in this field.
The program has sought to promote the study of space science among young people in the UAE. This has included several lectures, presented by Dr. Hiroaki Akiyama from Wakayama University and Professor Bolin Foury from Kyushu Institute of Technology, to discuss the objectives of the study of space sciences and present educational programs in the field of space development. In addition, they aim to clarify the role of the hybrid water rocket as well as to know the procedures of safe missile launching and missile structures by presenting their experiences and expertise to the students.