Datuk Dr Tan Chik Heok, President of TAR UC (fifth from left), poses for a group photograph with Derrick Liew (third from left), Kang Wenn (fourth from left), Poh Yee (fourth from right), Peck Hui (third from right), Ms Lim Mei Shyan (second from right), Dean of Faculty of Computing and Information Technology (‘FOCS’), and the academic staff from FOCS.
A gruelling weekend of blood, sweat and tears bore fruit for four Tunku Abdul Rahman University College (‘TAR UC’) students who claimed the first runner-up spot at the annual F. A.C.E. Hackathon 2017 held from 17 – 19 November 2017 at Menara AIA Cap Square, Kuala Lumpur.
The quartet of Yang Poh Yee, Chan Peck Hui, Derrick Liew Yan Kit and Lee Kang Wenn, second year students in Bachelor of Computer Science (Hons) in Software Engineering, created a working prototype for facial recognition software which helps the visually impaired “see” their surroundings such as moving vehicles or people and to transcribe speeches based on mouth movements.
“The software is able to recognise faces, shapes and movements, and alert the visually impaired users accordingly. It is also capable of interpreting speech through detection of mouth movements and transcribing those movements into words,” Poh Yee explained during the interview.
With only 48 hours allotted to brainstorm, conceptualise, design, code and present their idea, the students managed to stand out from the other approximately 24 teams and impress the judges, who proceeded to award them the first runner-up spot and RM2,500 in prize money for their facial recognition software idea.
“It was not easy. We rushed to the competition venue right after evening classes on Friday (17 November) and spent a lot of time and effort to code and debug our software. We were all tired and sleepy but we wanted to present our work as perfect as possible,” said Kang Wenn.
His teammate Poh Yee added: “But in the end we pulled it off because we had a cohesive team. We knew our respective roles well and were able to focus on the task even when we were tired. Plus, having teammates to encourage each other during the 48-hour window helps a lot.”
The team did not forget to credit their senior lecturer who guided throughout this experience. “We must credit Mr Hoo Wai Lam for this achievement. He helped us stay on track, advised us to focus on ideas which we are passionate about and believed in us. We have learned a lot through this competition and that is thanks to him,” Peck Hui quipped.
So what can the team take from this brief but enriching episode?
“We realised how much bigger the world is and how there are so much more talent and possibilities to explore out there. After this experience we will continue to strive for greater heights from now on,” Derrick added.