A drone that puts out fires, a vehicle that can detect objects underwater and a methane monitoring robot were some of the projects showcased at this year’s Teknofest in Samsun.
As Teknofest, one of the world’s largest technology festivals held at the Black Sea city of Samsun came to a close on September 4, a number of projects prepared by students from all over Turkiye stood out during the megaevent.
Organised by the Turkish Technology Team (T3) Foundation and the Ministry of Industry and Technology, Teknofest aims to inspire the Turkish youth to adopt a scientific mindset and promote innovation across civil society in parallel with the government’s technology goals.
The fifth edition of Teknofest featured competitions in more than 40 different categories such as semiconductors, drones, satellites, rockets, robotics and AI.
Among the innovative projects was the HYDRUS-X, an unmanned underwater vehicle made by students from the Yildiz Technical University.
The Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) is built by the CASMARINE team, and the project came second in the regional (Turkish) leg of the MATE-ROV Underwater Systems Competition and fifth in the world version of the competition.
Muhammed Furkan Sezer, an electrical engineering student, told TRT World that the unmanned underwater vehicle they designed can go down to a depth of 15 metres.
“It can perform challenging tasks like removing debris, object detection or object tracking,” Sezer said, adding that the ROV can be used for wreck detection, search and rescue, damage detection and intervention in underwater pipes.
The team said the project took seven months to complete and involved 16 people.
Finding methane gas
Another project that participated was the drone ‘X1-KTUUZAY’, which was designed by the Karadeniz Technical University Space Club members Ahmet Niyazi Kocak, Omer Eser, Ummugulsum Alci and Yigit Fatih Aycel.
Inspired to help people in natural disasters or fires, the drone has a water reservoir at the bottom and can deliver clean water at a height of 5,000 metres.
“The tank can deliver 5 litres of water and extinguish a small fire,” Halil Ibrahim Okumus, professor of electrical engineering at Karadeniz Technical University, told TRT World.
Then there was Yavuz Selimhan Kaya, a 17-year-old student in the 11th grade from the Doga School, who was involved in two projects.
The first was part of the Polar Research Project competition, which aimed to track the release of methane in the polar caps, particularly in the Arctic.
“Because of global warming, the methane stored in [melting] icebergs are being released,” Yavuz told TRT World.
To help monitor the methane, Yavuz and his two other teammates, Melisa Bahadir and Defne Yildirim, built an autonomous robot called ‘CH(4)elebi’ – CH4 being the chemical formula for methane – that can locate and observe it in harsh Arctic conditions and send data back to scientists via satellite.
“You can control the robot from anywhere in the world. And with some tweaks, it can also work in mines,” Yavuz added.
The project came third in the Polar Research Project competition.
Helping the blind
The second project is part of the Social Innovation competition, where Yavuz focused on assisting visually impaired people.
The idea is to make it easier for visually impaired people, many of whom are dissuaded from navigating the public using their mobility canes because most associate it with being blind.
To do so, his team fashioned glasses that work just like mobility sticks, only with a camera on it which then receives information and automatically translates it into speech so the visually impaired can understand any text displayed in their environment.
In addition, Yavuz said, “there is an AI which works with Google Cloud Vision, that can help explain people’s emotions and gender to the visually impaired,” Yavuz said.
The project came in the top ten in the Social Innovation competition.