RMIT University and LEAP Australia are hosting a Hackathon for teams of students to solve some of the toughest problems from the world of IoT (Internet of Things) and AR (augmented reality) – including one related to HVAC&R.
Using PTC’s ThingWorx, an award-winning platform for developing IoT applications, students will digitally solve real-world problems presented by companies from the industry. The top three groups will receive cash, software and services prizes, as well as three-months’ mentoring.
Last week, 72 students registered at the pre-hack briefing and training session. According to LEAP Australia’s David Graham, they came from a wide mix of disciplines.
“There is a good showing from Civil and Mechanical Engineering – approximately 40 per cent of students. Others come from Computer Science, IT and Aerospace, as well as a few very keen, forward-looking students from the Masters of Architecture course.”
The competition will take place from August 30 to September 1. Over three days, teams will select an industry-sponsored problem, develop their solution and present their findings.
This year one of the problems is to come up with an HVAC&R machine learning solution for predictive maintenance, a challenge provided by Airconstruct HVAC.
The company is looking to overlay IoT sensor information into an AR platform so technicians can see what HVAC equipment is doing in real time. If it works, a technician could scan a QR code or other unique identifier on a unit to bring up an AR or similar style overlay on a smart device showing temperature, pressure and other data from IoT devices.
“We see from overseas demonstrations that there are many IoT, AI and AR solutions for HVAC&R problems,” says Graham. “However, in Australia the industry has been slower in seeing the opportunities. One of the event’s sponsors plans to take a lead from a more holistic standpoint of smart facilities management. Their solutions will incorporate IoT for smart connected operations, AI for operations, energy and maintenance optimisation, and AR for lowering maintenance costs.”
Graham says the Hackathon is a win-win for students and participating companies.
“IoT and AR are exciting new technologies that will change the way engineers and designers work, all the way from design/conception through to construction and asset maintenance,” he says. “The most engaged, forward-looking students are the ones who sees this and are embracing the Hackathon as a way to differentiate themselves in the future job market.
“Likewise, it is a great opportunity for the HVAC&R industry to get in early to engage with the smartest and most motivated students and promote the HVAC&R industry as offering a rewarding career path.”