Home News Students in final of national competition with revolutionary door locking system

Students in final of national competition with revolutionary door locking system

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A group of Exeter Computer Science students have secured themselves a place in the final of a national competition with their revolutionary door locking system.

As part of the Project Arduino competition, which is organised annually by Thales, a leading engineering and technology company, the four-member team of Matthew Gilbert, Joshua Holmes, George Young and Ashleigh Udoh, beat off competition from four other Exeter teams with their innovative security system design, which allows users to lock and unlock their doors via a smartphone app.

The contest required the students to build a piece of equipment using the Thales Arduino open-source microprocessor platform, which related to one of Thales’ key areas – transport, aerospace, defence and security.

Despite having little experience in computer programming – just 6 weeks in Joshua Holmes’ case – the group of students were eager to enter.

“I had never heard of an Arduino before, but I was keen to experiment with the different ways that a mundane object could be made so much more helpful,” team member and Computer Science student George Young told Exeposé.

The students subsequently began planning their entry.

“After several fruitless brainstorming attempts, we stumbled upon the idea at the Ram one afternoon,” commented Matt Gilbert.

“I mentioned that on the way to meet up, I had to turn back and check whether I’d locked my door, only to find that it was locked, and suggested making something to solve that problem,” he added.

The team then set about making their “Lockduino” prototype from “K’nex, random pieces of metal and lots of tape” and filming their entry video, submitting it just 15 minutes before the midnight deadline.

Other entries in the Exeter heat included extensions for existing mine-clearance systems, secure storage boxes and a proximity sensor, but it was ultimately their remote locking device that impressed the judges and assured their place in the final.

The four students will now face competition from the Universities of Bath, Leeds, Liverpool, Loughborough and Reading for a place in the grand final, which will see the final three projects put to a public vote later this month.

Watch their progress video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NjOTufk1qDQ

Fiona Potigny, News Team

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