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YVR hosts first Hackathon with top talent from BCIT, UBC and SFU

Last week, YVR piloted the airport’s first student hackathon!

Hosted by YVR’s Innovation Hub and Maintenance Team, the inaugural event brought together top talent from BCIT, UBC, and SFU to collaborate, learn, and apply their ideas in an airport setting.

The hackathon challenged BC’s next generation of innovators to solve a maintenance-related issue and present their solutions to a panel of industry experts with cash prizes at stake for first, second, third, and fourth place – not to mention the first-place team received unique plaques made entirely of recycled chopsticks from Vancouver based company, ChopValue.

First place, and a grand prize of $5,000, went to a group of keen BCIT students who proposed the “Keep it Clean” initiative. Their solution aims to make our airport smarter by leveraging advanced technology for improved hygiene and cleanliness.

The centerpiece of the initiative is the “Crow’s Nest,” an interconnected camera system that uses AI and image recognition to identify exact areas needing specific attention throughout the terminal. This system optimizes facilities operations by identifying and tackling high-traffic zones for improved service and enables staff to identify areas that need attention through real-time AR goggles and mobile devices. The model powering Crow’s Nest could be trained to detect spills, lost luggage, emergencies, damages, and other potential issues, thereby improving the overall efficiency and effectiveness of our airport’s operations.

Second and third place also went to teams from BCIT, and fourth place was awarded to a team from UBC.

YVR’s Innovation Hub and Maintenance Team will work with the winning students to look at a potential integration of their solution into our operation as part of our commitment to support students in solving real-world challenges.

The hackathon was proudly sponsored by Innovate BC, Schneider Electric, and Ainsworth, who are aligned with YVR in our excitement and commitment in supporting the next generation of innovators and tech leaders in British Columbia.

The event was such a success, that we’re aiming to host another student hackathon in the fall. If you’re a student from UBC, SFU or BCIT – stay tuned!

About YVR’s Innovation Hub:

The Innovation Hub @YVR is a platform that develops, tests and trials new processes and sustainable technologies in collaboration with the community, such as the deployment and continued development of YVR’s Digital Twin Platform and the recent partnership with the Province as part of the Integrated Marketplace Initiative to support made-in-BC tech companies. YVR’s Innovation Hub also recently signed an MOU with BCIT to collaborate on innovate applied research products to support the development, advancement, and implementation of innovation initiatives.

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