ABU Student Aliyu Isah Wins NSE National Young Engineers Innovation Competition

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A student of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Aliyu Isah Bugaje has won the First Prize in the Nigerian Society of Engineers’ National Young Engineers Innovation Competition.

Bugaje who is a student of the Department of Computer Engineering, ABU Zaria was presented the award at the 2021 Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) International Conference held on December 8, 2021, at Abuja International Conference Center.

The award is in recognition of his invention called “ABUCEA” (ABU Computer Engineering Assistant).

What is ABUCEA?

ABUCEA (ABU Computer Engineering Assistant) now modernized as NSE Assistant (Nigerian Society of Engineers Office-Assistant) is an intelligent voice-controlled AI personal assistant robot.

ABUCEA: Wins NSE National Young Engineers Innovation Competition
The ABUCEA

The Department of Computer Engineering ABU Zaria led by Professor Muhammad Bashir Mu’azu strives to provide regular and updated programs and courses in Computer Engineering of a standard required and expected of a Department and University of the highest standing to produce graduates that are resourceful, creative, knowledgeable, Competitive and well skills in the computing world.

Bugaje and his team developed ABUCEA which is an intelligent personal robot during their Industrial Training period at the Control Laboratory of the Department of Computer Engineering, ABU Zaria under the supervision of Prof M.B. Muazu.

The aim of developing ABUCEA is to help in reducing the manual efforts being put by the workers of the university in their day-to-day tasks such as information search, sending emails, and relaxing.

This interaction through a voice Conversational User Interface is more friendly to humans. To achieve this, Aliyu Isah and his team use techniques in Natural Language Processing. ABUCEA v1 robot responds with voice via its inbuilt speaker. It has the following features:

  • Information Search: (Ask Questions and Receive Answers)
  • It can move in any specified direction via its omnidirectional wheels, it stops when it sees obstacles on its path.
  • It can carry out face emotion detection to determine the emotional state of the user (happy, sad, etc) via its inbuilt cameras through trained emotion detection neural networks.
  • It responds appropriately with relevant jokes or music to help the user’s mode.
  • It can carry out object detection to identify objects around it through pre-trained object detection modes.
  • It can provide the latest news for the user. etc.
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In an exclusive interview with The Abusites, Isah expressed his excitement for winning the coveted award which he said looked a bit difficult at first when he was invited for a physical presentation at NSE headquarters Abuja after passing the first stage of the competition.

He said, “I actually feel very excited because it’s looks a kind of difficult for me the first time I was invited for a physical presentation at NSE headquarters Abuja after passing the first stage of the competition, which I did successfully and emerged as the top 3 winners…

“After we presented ABUCEA v1 to the 2ND International Conference of the IEEE, Prof M.B. Muazu further counseled us to develop ABUCEA v2 which is an office assistant. Been developed for an office, it does not move around. It was designed in the shape of the ABU Logo because it is designed for use in ABU offices. Only its “neck” moves to turn and face the direction it is spoken to from. The whole system is deployed on the latest raspberry pi 4 Linux computer as the brain of the robot.

“NSE Young Engineers Competition
And then I later customized it to serve as an Office Assistant for the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE-Assistant Robot), which I finally emerged as the first position and won the first price for Nigerian Society of Engineers, Young Engineers Innovation Competition during The 2021 Coal-city NSE International Conference that held on December 8th, 2021, at Abuja International Conference Center (AICC).” He said.

The customized version has the following features: Information Search (It is trained on information specific to the NSE); It can carry out face emotion detection to determine the emotional state of the user (happy, sad, etc) via its inbuilt cameras through trained emotion detection neural networks; and It responds appropriately with relevant jokes or music to help the user’s mode.

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Other features include, security and attendance system; It can provide the latest news for the user (covid 19 update, headline news, etc.); It can calculate distance from different cities; It uses Rapidweather APIs to tell the current weather in any city; It can convert currency using just your voice command to the assistant; For note keeping, alarm, and event scheduling using a voice command; And many more features…

Who is Aliyu Isah Bugaje?
Aliyu Isah Bugaje
Aliyu Isah Bugaje

Aliyu Isah is a 26yrs old 500level final-year student of the Department of Computer Engineering at Ahmadu Bello University Zaria. He hails from Katsina State and lives in Bakori L.G.A.

He is passionate about Hardware design, software development, and building future technology with real-life application scenarios.

He said, “I decided to invest my time to focus in the field of Robotics and Artificial Intelligence during my I.T period in the department and it became difficult for me at first, but I became better over time and some of the lecturers in the department saw the interest and encouraged me to put in more effort.

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“The HOD, Prof. Mu’azu’s consistent mentorship was the driving engine of the whole work. The technical know-how of the Technologist Aliyu Isah Elayo was very supportive.”

Aliyu Isah Bugaje also emerged as the 2nd best undergraduate project in the Department of Computer Engineering, ABU Zaria during the departmental final year project exhibition held on October 15th, 2021 and won the 2nd Price during the exhibition.


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