The partnership between the World Air Sports Federation (FAI) and Noosphere Ventures which began February 2, 2017 has already started to bear results. In accordance with the global technical partnership agreement signed by Noosphere Ventures Managing Partner Max Polyakov, FAI President Frits Brink and FAI Secretary General Susanne Schödel, have started working together on on a number of initiatives. Those were complemented by the student innovation tournament “Best deviсe for FAI” hosted by Association Noosphere on May 27th.
The FAI is eager to modernize the technical infrastructure of all their air sports events. In an effort to increase the accuracy of results in their competitions and to encourage public interest, a tournament was held dedicated to a specific technological challenge the FAI is currently facing in Ballooning.
Many ballooning competitions require pilots to drop a marker as close as possible to a target. The competitor whose marker is closest to the target wins. Markers are usually dropped within a 50-100 meter radius of the target. Depending on the event they might be tossed or just dropped. While it is easier to just fly as low over the target as possible, markers might also be dropped from high above, sometimes from as high as 1 km above the target. Up to now markers have been measured using a measuring tape once all the balloons have passed. This can be somewhat troublesome due to the high number of balloons in some competitions, or if there are multiple targets along the flight route.
Thus the task was to find a way to automate the tracking and scoring process, as well as transmit the data live to the scoreboard. This challenge was accepted by six Ukrainian teams from Cherkasy State Technological University, Petro Mohyla Black Sea National University (Mykolaiv), National University of Water and Environmental Engineering (Rivne), National Aviation University (Kyiv), Zaporizhzhia State Engineering Academy and the Noosphere Engineering School.
The tough competition between the teams of developers was judged by a panel of experts including representatives of FAI, the Ukrainian Spacemodelling Sport Federation and Noosphere Ventures. The panel was chaired by Michael Ryabokon, Cofounder of Association Noosphere.
Participants surprised the judges by developing solutions for the tournament that forced the judges to split the top prize between three teams from the Noosphere Engineering School, Cherkasy State Technological University and Petro Mohyla Black Sea National University.
However, it is not all over for the winner teams yet. Now they are getting busy to proceed to the next stage of prototyping. The winners have just three months to get their prototypes ready for live-testing at the FAI Ballooning Competition in September 2017. The best performing solution will be chosen to replace the current manual scoring system.
This isn’t the first time that engineers and developers from Black Sea National University have participated in and won an event hosted by Association Noosphere. The university’s team Cubomania stole first place and the 800 000 UAH (approx. 30 000 USD) grant at the hardware startup competition, Vernadsky Challenge 2017, for their interactive blocks and toys for kids.