Siemens most recent Sir William Siemens Challenge, a 48-hour engineering hackathon, has helped the company to identify a collection of talented engineering students.
The challenge is designed to identify emerging engineering talent from across the UK and give young people a taste of what it is to work for a leading technology company. Held at the University of Birmingham, the competition brought together more than 70 students from 27 UK universities studying engineering, mechatronics, robotics or digital courses, including computer science, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, telecommunications or a related degree.
Multi-disciplined teams of seven were challenged to build and programme a unique mechanical/electrical device that brought to life data from Mindsphere, Siemens’ industrial cloud-based operating system. The teams were given access to a large assortment of kit packed full of essential materials and components, giving them the flexibility to build almost any tabletop device that they could dream up.
Such was the talent on show that Siemens offered more than 30 participants access to internship or graduate opportunities with Siemens’ Digital Industries, Smart Infrastructure and Mobility businesses.
The winners, Team Simocast (pictured above), made up of Subhaan Hussain, Axel Gonzalez, George Edwards, Alexandru Spinu, Dumitru Mavris and Ayman Hussain, created a robotic flower with petals and an LED array that opened and closed, and changed colour in response to the temperature and levels of carbon monoxide and oxygen in the room.
‘As a computer science student, it was amazing to interact with engineering disciplines and see my code come to life,’ said Dumitru, 20, who is originally from Bucharest and is studying for a BSc in computer science at the University of Birmingham. ‘The hackathon was a great experience and I would very much recommend it to any student.’
The runners-up were Team Vectron, featuring Ben Broadbent, Hannah Bentley, Shadi Madieh, Vedika Bedi, Alejandra Francisco and Waleed Hamad. They created a miniature version of the competition space with model ‘people’ that lit up to represent increased footfall and carbon dioxide levels, an LED array that changed depending on carbon monoxide levels and a rotating display to show the time of day.
‘While it was intense, it was great fun to work with a team from a variety of degrees and disciplines, and to really put into practice the project management and design principles I have learned over my degree,’ said Hannah, 23, from Beith, North Ayrshire, who is studying for an MSc in mechatronics and automation, with product design engineering at the University of Strathclyde. ‘It was great to be able to implement a plan and design so quickly and have a working device at the end. Overall, it was a very rewarding experience.’
‘Now in its fifth year, the Sir William Siemens Challenge has become an extraordinary annual showcase of the engineering and digital talent emerging from UK universities,’ said Amelia Donaldson, a senior talent acquisition specialist at Siemens. ‘Having moved the competition online during the pandemic, we were delighted to return to an in-person event again.’
‘The judges were blown away by the standard of the competition and the range of innovation on display throughout the weekend,’ said Colin Morris, Siemens Mobility’s lead development engineering manager. ‘There was a clear demonstration of adaptability, collaboration and problem-solving skills from across the teams. The winners stood out for excelling in the data-driven, engineering and creative elements.’
Details of all of Siemens’ early-careers opportunities, including internships, apprenticeships and graduate schemes, can be found here.