University of Dubai (UD) students recently presented two projects to help improve the quality and safety of Dubai’s public services. Working with the RTA and Dubai Police, two groups of students presented projects using Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) technology, the same sticker/computer chip technology used in the Salik toll system.
A Capstone Project is a requirement for students graduating from the College of Information Technology. It is usually a group project intended to use technology in combination with a software application, developed by the students, to design something that will improve the efficiency of a company or organization. In past years, UD Capstone students have developed such methods as the M-Parking, which allows customers to pay a parking meter through SMS.
This year, one group made up of UD students Mohamed Smail Djenane, Sofian Fekih, Feisal Abdolnabi and Aisha Albalooshi, developed software in conjunction with RFID technology to inform police officers of what gear is in their equipment bag when going to or returning from a mission. Where time is almost always a factor and not having the right equipment can be dangerous, this technology could make the difference between a mission going successfully or not. The old method was to take each piece of equipment out of the bag, count it, record it and put it back in; with 30 pieces of equipment this would often take too long. Using the system developed by the students, police officers can walk through a doorway fitted with sensors and all their equipment, which is tagged with RFIDs, will show up on a monitor, allowing them to check it quickly and be on their way. The system also immediately inventories all the equipment as it is returned and what used to take the police up to eight days before could hypothetically be done in a matter of minutes. The student group and the Dubai Police are currently working to refine the system before it is implemented.
Another group made up of UD students Murad Ali Sabt Shaban, Sayed Ismail Al Hashemi and Mohammed Ahmed Qasem, worked on their project with the RTA to develop a more effective way of helping disabled drivers. Using RFID technology, the system detects whether a person parking in a handicapped spot is authorized. If the person does not have the correct authorization, the closest RTA agent will be notified to take appropriate action. If the person is authorized to park in the spot, they are welcomed via SMS and also could be given useful information, such as where the closest handicapped-accessible entrance is in a building, or whether their tag is about to expire.
Dr. Sami Miniaoui, a professor in UD’s College of Information Technology who supervised the projects, said, “The students involved in this project have started the process of patenting this concept and soon they will get it. These projects can have multiple applications and although the technology and software application are relatively simple, the number of uses for these systems is limited only by one’s imagination.”
Dr. Miniaoui also said that UD’s College of Information Technology is launching a new Master’s program in Information Systems Management in September. “When our master students conduct projects like these,” he said, “they will be able to do so with more depth and take these smaller projects to a higher level of research and development, so they can be applied on a larger scale.”