JOHOR BARU: Three students from the University of Southampton Malaysia (UoSM) have become the youngest mavericks to win an award in a hackathon designed for professionals.
The team won the "Most Impactful Project" award for their app that improves court recordings during the BlockchainSPIRIT Hackathon at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.
The team comprised engineering students Do Wen Rei, Delveer Singh and Chia Tze Hank. Together, they created 'Legal-chain', a solution that uses speech recognition technology to generate court transcripts for legal proceedings.
"This is engineering at its best," said Prof Rebecca Taylor, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Asean) and chief executive officer of UoSM.
"Having students take what they have learnt from their course to create practical solutions, embodies our University Mission to change the world for the better.
"We are incredibly proud of the determination, passion and inventiveness of our students and delighted that their efforts have been recognised by digital leaders in this way.''
Speaking about the event, Do said, ''Being new to blockchain technologies, we had been struggling to choose which platform to use. We were fortunate that the technical trainers were patient with us and helped us get started.
"We did not expect to win this prestigious award. We are very proud to have had our project recognised in this way," he added.
Being one of the youngest participants in this hackathon, the team received coaching from Anthony Law, one of event's technical trainers.
''He (Anthony) taught us how to use the platform and the fundamentals needed to understand blockchain technology," said Delveer, an engineering foundation year student at UoSM.
Blockchain technology is the underlying platform used in Bitcoin, the world's first electronic cash. Despite it being a new technology, recent platform innovations suggest the potential benefits of blockchain adoption for various sectors including banking, insurance, legal, and government.
''Our initial plan was to attend the workshop to learn more about this relatively new technology said Chia, also an engineering foundation year student at UoSM.
''And despite how advanced it was for us, we persisted and managed to create a blockchain project for the legal sector the following morning," he added.
The two-day hackathon challenge proved to be a life-changing experience for the team.
According to Do, it was a great opportunity to try out their ideas and receive feedback from the judges.
Meanwhile for Chia and Delveer, this experience has given them the confidence to join more competitions in the near future.
The duo previously made it to the nationals in the Microsoft Imagine Cup, and they hope to make it to the regionals next year.
Blockchain developers are currently in short supply and hot demand. According to freelance talent marketplace, Upwork blockchain developers are among the top 20 fastest-growing roles.
The University of Southampton Malaysia has recognised this need and is working with industry partners to educate and develop the next generation of students into interesting and exciting roles in engineering.