Makerere Team Shines at Global Hackathon

The 7 Hills Team of Makerere University was ranked in the top three finalists at the Realize LIVE Sustainability Design Hack Challenge 2023 held on the 12th of July 2023. Participating teams were from Universities in Uganda, France and South Africa in a 48-hour hack which required using Siemens NX software, from Siemens Digital Industries, Germany. SIEMENS DIGITAL INDUSTRIES organizes these competitions thrice annually and the students are always welcomed to apply to participate and then wait for the vigorous selection process to confirm whether they have been accepted.


The Makerere team comprised of seven students including: Tumusiime Jacob (Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences, College of Health Sciences(MakCHS) who was the team leader, Mugisha lan (Bachelor of Science In Mechanical Engineering, College Of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology(CEDAT), Murozi Abel (Bachelor of Environmental Engineering, CEDAT), Kyeyune Ronald (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor Of Surgery, MakCHS, Ddembe Joseph, Luzige Kizito ( Bachelor Of Medicine And Bachelor Of Surgery, MakCHS). The team worked under the guidance of Dr. Norbert Mukasa, Lecturer – CEDAT. This was the first time for the medical and engineering students to interact with the SIEMENS NX software.


The teams were tasked to solve a real-world automotive design challenge presented by KYBURZ an Automotive manufacturing company in Switzerland. Specifically, the competing teams were required to re-design the chassis components of the eRod, which is an electric car for delivery companies, with an emphasis on design, material use, topology, manufacturability, and its end of life. 


During the challenge, each team made a 7-10-minute presentation of their innovative solution and how their solution is more sustainable than the original or how it could be manufactured with less conventional, more sustainable techniques at the closing ceremony. 


The team of expert judges decided the winner using a matrix approach using the following criteria; safety, sustainability, feasibility, business value, simulation and creativity. At the climax of the competition, all the teams presented their solutions to the Judges. Uganda was one of the teams that were not able to attend the event physically in Munich, Germany, thus their presentation was made virtually. 


Tumusiime Jacob, who was the team leader said, " It was a very tough competition right from the selection process to the final competitions. This is because, our team is mainly made of medical students, and secondly the software was very new and it was very difficult and still difficult to find anyone using it in Uganda, apart from Kira Motors. In addition, that, we were undergraduate medical students’ competition with PhD engineering students. With all our dedication and teamwork, the 4 medical students and the 2 engineering students on the team produced nice work. We had to train ourselves the new software and then use it to solve the challenge. We learned about the challenge through a friend in Germany a few days to the deadline. I visited the SIEMENS website for details about the competition; we received the confirmation letter of selection 6 weeks later.  The team had to train the software within a week to the challenge. We requested Dr. Norbert Mukasa to give us guidance in that short time, but we thank him that he gave us all what he could for us to solve the challenge”.


Murozi Abel, a member of the team also says that the competition exposed them to an advanced software which added skills to encourage more design challenges in his field. He also says that the challenge exposed him to different opportunities in his engineering career, and he encourages students to follow up on these.


The competitions were organized by Siemens IT company, and coordinators for the Makerere team from the company were Mr. Martin Kogzman and Ms. Anna Garton. The team expressed appreciation of the support from the coordinators.