Saranya Jayalekshmi, Dylan Verburg, Vinay Thapliyal, Monika SahaThe Erie Hack UWinTeam is (from left): Saranya Jayalekshmi, Dylan Verburg, Vinay Thapliyal, Monika Saha. Not pictured: Mohammad Madani.

UWindsor team advances to the final round in ecological competition

A team of UWindsor students has reached the final round of the Erie Hack competition for pitching an innovative idea that could be worth $100,000 in cash and prizes.

Erie Hack was created by the Cleveland Water Alliance and the Creativity and Innovation Team at NASA Glenn Research Center to address such problems such the growth of harmful algal blooms, the lack of useful data collection, and aging water infrastructures.

Teams from Cleveland, Detroit, Buffalo, Erie, Toledo, and Windsor are all in the finals for the chance to have their ideas be applied to these issues.

The competition in Cleveland on Thursday, June 20, focuses on collaborative solutions for the pressing problems in Lake Erie, and UWindsor students have created a cost-effective and technology-driven idea.

The UWindsor team is pitching its idea to use drones to monitor the lake’s hazardous algal blooms. These engineering and law students proposed combine unmanned aerial vehicles with advanced imaging hardware and hydrodynamic modeling. The resulting high-resolution images, more frequent sampling, and flexible data collection are all cost-effective, enabling policy makers, public stakeholders, and other research groups to make decisions about Lake Erie.

Registration for Erie Hack is available now and includes a full day of pitches that will feature the UWindsor students and their idea to address Lake Erie’s pressing water issues.

—Dana Roe