The winning entry, created by CMU-Q students, is an augmented reality app to enhance the fan experience at World Cup 2022.
The winning entry, created by CMU-Q students, is an augmented reality app to enhance the fan experience at World Cup 2022.

CMU-Q students take top spots in Qatar Sports Tech Virtual Hackathon 2020

DOHA, QATAR: Student teams from Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (CMU-Q), a Qatar Foundation partner university, took first and second place in the Qatar Sports Tech (QST) Virtual Hackathon 2020. The event hosted about 70 participants from all over Qatar, including tech professionals, engineers and entrepreneurs.

All of the first and second place team members are Qatari women studying either information systems or business administration at CMU-Q. More than a dozen CMU-Q students and alumni were accepted into the competition.

The winning team was comprised of Reem Al-Dahneem, Alanoud Al-Ghamdi, Reem Al-Haddad, Aisha Al-Jabir and Shouq Al-Khuzaei. The team created an augmented reality game for football fans to explore the fanzone spaces, collect augmented reality markers, and unlock information about the stadiums. The application could also be used to give augmented reality directions to fans in the fanzone.

“Our team was so excited to win, and now we are considering developing the idea further,” said Reem Al-Haddad. Among the prizes are opportunities for mentorship and coaching through QST.

The second-place team was comprised of Sara Al-Hemaidi, Amal Al-Korbi, Rawan Alkuwari and Almayasa Al-Naimi. The team tackled the question of accessibility for people with disabilities. They incorporated point-of-view cameras so those with mobility limitations could experience the stadium and player experience, and included sign language commentators and descriptive audio for people with hearing and vision impairments.

Sara Al-Hemaidi noted that the students were supportive and encouraging of one another during the challenging competition: “We were competing with very experienced people, so when our team saw that we were second place, and then when we saw our friends were in first, we were really shocked and proud.”

Nui Vatanasakdakul, associate teaching professor of information systems, coordinated CMU-Q’s participation in the event. “I am so pleased by the creativity and ingenuity of our teams. While they pursued very different ideas, both teams were focused on serving the fans and improving the sports experience.”

Heba Q. Al Masri, managing director at Qatar SportsTech, remarked: “We are very pleased with the quality of work submitted by the young female entrepreneurs from Carnegie Mellon in the top two winning seats. QST will continue to work with the teams through mentoring and coaching, further developing their MVPs, and launching their ideas into a startup.”

Judges and mentors for the event included professionals from a variety of sectors in Qatar, including CMU-Q faculty members Serkan Akguc, Houda Bouamor and George White.

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