Students from City, University of London presented their ideas for the future of engineering at the City Engineering Hackathon 2021


The three day event, which was hosted by Hackathons UK, invited around 200 Engineering students from City’s School of Science & Technology to form teams and present new innovative ideas on how engineering may look in 2050.

A hackathon is an event which challenges participants to a create an idea to solve or provide solutions to a problem.

City Engineering Hackathon 2021

At City’s hackathon, students were divided into 37 teams of six and were challenged to collaborate and develop their ideas in one of the following areas:

  • Energy in 2050 (How are we going to consume energy at home and how will it achieve net zero emission?)
  • Road Networks in 2050 (How our roads have to change to effectively operate the smart cars?)
  • Fridges in 2050 (How fridges in our homes would look like and operate?)
  • Healthcare Wearables in 2050 (What types of healthcare wearables we are going to use and how are they going to increase our quality of life?)
  • Drones in 2050 (How drones technology will change for public good?)

Out of the 37 teams, six finalists were selected by a panel of seven judges who assessed them for idea generation, teamwork and presentation.

Drones to explore the ocean

Ideas from the finalists included wearables which support our health; neonate blankets which can detect disease; drones being used to prevent collisions; dental wear which can measure calories and sugar intake and pollination drones which support biomimicry.

The winning idea was the Picard drone – a hive of nanobots which can break apart and reattach to explore the ocean.

From left to right: Professor Rajkumar Roy Dean of School of Science
From left to right: Professor Rajkumar Roy Dean of School of Science

All of us are passionate about exploration and conservation so that is how we came up the idea of the Picard drone.

A limitation for current drones is that they cannot communicate after a few transit meters due to distance and the structures which are around them. Our idea is to place individual drones with antennas on top of mountains within the ocean to improve this communication and relay information back to the hive.

– Winning team member Ibraheem Qureshi (BEng Mechanical Engineering).

The best thing about the event was working in a team. Our communication was key and we all supported each other in developing and presenting our idea.

Events like this help teach us the importance of teamwork as each person brought different skills to create our idea. This type of teamwork is vital in engineering.

– Fellow winner, Ishtar Choudhury (BEng Civil Engineering)

Professor Rajkumar Roy, Dean of the School of Science & Technology, praised the students in his welcome speech.

It is wonderful to see how many new ideas our students have been able to come up with for the future of engineering. Every idea uses technology to create social good which helps tackle or prepare us for the problems we may face in 2050.

Each team should be proud of their work and I would like to thank everyone who has been a part of this innovative event.

– Professor Rajkumar Roy, Dean in the School of Science & Technology

Full winning team for Picard drone: Ibraheem Qureshi (BEng Mechanical Engineering); Saida Hoque (BEng Civil Engineering), Aayaan Haider (BEng Civil Engineering) and Ishtar Choudhury (BEng Civil Engineering).

For more information on Engineering at City see our course pages or The Department of Civil Engineering.

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