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FSTE iHack Challenge, A Success

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The first prize winners with Mr. Avi Raju, Director of Big Ocean Technologies (first from left).

A very successful iHack Challenge was organised by The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment (FSTE) in partnership with the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP) and Big Ocean Technologies at the Japan-Pacific ICT Centre on 20 March 2019.

The challenge provided a platform for University students and staff to present their innovative technology enabled ideas and concepts to help solve the issues addressed by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Addressing the participants and guests, Professor Pal Ahluwalia, USP Vice Chancellor and President expressed that these challenges are important in the Pacific context, “as we are very small nations and to be able to bring this kind of energy and opportunity to our students is really special”.

A total of 10 teams were selected to pitch their ideas at the iHack Challenge. The selected teams were provided training by the PFIP Programme Manager, Mr. Bram Peters on 14 and 15 March to prepare them for the pitch. The teams competed for the prize money of 3000 FJD for first place, 2000 FJD for second place and 1000 FJD for third place, as well as the opportunity for internships and training for team(s) with the best idea(s).

Mr. Avi Raju, the Director of Big Ocean technologies encouraged the participants to benchmark themselves against the best in the world and further added that “this is possible now since the information is available and you can know what people want globally”. 

The first place was won by the team with the concept of an Energy Harvesting Paver which can generate electrical energy from pedestrian locomotion. The team was led by Aneesh Chand and other engineering students - Kushal Prasad, Neha Kumar and Krishneel Sharma. They were supervised by Dr Kabir Mamun.

The runner up was the team with the Coral Sense concept that determines the coral species using image recognition. Members included Harsh, Mayuri Harkishan, Sumit Sharan, Dr. Utkal Mehta and Dr. Stuart Kininmonth.

The second runner up was the team with Eco Coins concept which is a rewards based app for Eco-friendly events.

Dr. Bibhya Sharma, Acting FSTE Dean and event organiser said that the sponsors and industry partners who were present were impressed with the concepts presented by the students and a second iHack Challenge will be organised later in the year.

Students and staff are encouraged to start thinking of innovative ideas for the second challenge.

This news item was published on 28 Mar 2019 03:54:36 pm. For more information or any High-Res Images, please contact us on email

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