BZU Engineering team claims third spot in European engineering competition
A team from Birzeit University’s Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering claimed the third spot in the European Speak Out for Engineering competition, held in Seville, Spain, for their Automatic Tray Seeding Machine project.
The team, composed of Mechanical and Mechatronics majors Rand Msafir, Malik Nawabeet, Mohammad Kawazbi, Tariq Shawahneh, Osama Baransi, and Yousef Al Shaib – who’s currently detained in an Israeli occupation prison – represented by Ameen Allan, and supervised by Chair of the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering Dr. Sameh Abu Awad, participated in the competition after taking the first place in the national Speak Out for Engineering competition.
Allan said that winning the third place was satisfactory, given the disparity in capacities and experience between the team and the European teams, in addition to the nascent nature of the project. “Responses to our project were positive, and attendees and audience members were really excited. We already have offers for the project once it’s finalized,” he added.
“We wanted to get our names and Birzeit University out there for the world to see. Our aim is to deliver a message to the world that we have the skills and capacities to create a remarkable project despite all the obstacles that beset us,” Allan said.
The team was supported by the Palestine Techno Park after applying for funding and seeking the proper approvals.
Allan noted that the project is a fully automatic tray seeding machine that would make working in the fields easier for farmers and would attract people’s attention back to this field.
“The idea first popped into Dr. Abu Awad’s head after noticing how many hardships farmers endure during their work. All similar machines are foreign-made and expensive to purchase and maintain, so we’ve decided to create a local, reasonably-priced alternative. We plan to bring this project to fruition even after graduation.”
Dr. Abu Awad, taking pride in his students, highlighted the team’s efforts, saying “Birzeit University’s team competed with some very capable European teams, which included even some Ph.D. dissertations – we submitted a bachelor’s capstone project – and the results were positively surprising. Still, we’re aiming for higher and higher positions and awards.”
“The project supports a marginalized segment of the society – farmers,” added Dr. Abu Awad, “It supports them with the proper tools and equipment for half the price of imported, foreign-made equipment. We hope that the project will turn into a startup that will provide job opportunities for recently-graduated engineers.”