Engineering Students Compete with Innovative Designs

The first Engineering Student Design Competition delivers solutions to everyday problems as participants compete and learn beyond the classroom.

By Raissa Batakji

Abi Younes, Abdallah, El Khoury and Saab (not pictured) presented “JPGs Bin,” which went on to win in the Robotics category. The team was offered an opportunity to collaborate with Spexal Robotics. (All photos are courtesy of Marise Nassour).

Together with its vibrant community of student club members, the LAU School of Engineering (SOE) organized the Engineering Student Design Competition (ESDC) on the Byblos campus last week. The event drew the participation of eight teams, who competed across three categories: Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotics, and Green and Renewable Energy.

Global and local challenges, such as power outages and waste management, were addressed through the students’ proposed solutions. Their work – presented as simulations or prototypes where applicable – was judged by SOE faculty and experts from leading companies.

Two teams tied and were announced winners in the AI category. The first winning team – third-year computer engineering students Karim Kichli, Anas Honeini and Ali Zayat – devised a car-detection model that uses the photo of a car to determine its model, make, year and engine type, whether it is powered with fuel, electricity or hybrid, among other characteristics.


The all-women team, consisting of second-year computer engineering students Léa Haidamous and Lara Ayass and computer science student Joy Andraos, designed “Gesture Genius,” a model that can detect Lebanese sign language and transcribe it into text.


In the Robotics category, third-year mechanical engineering students George Abdallah, George Saab, Jason El Khoury and Paul Abi Younes came up with an automated system for waste sorting and recycling, named “JPGs Bin.” Spexal Robotics, who were represented in the jury, offered the winning students a collaboration opportunity with the company.


Third-year mechanical engineering students Jad Samia and Sayed Tawk partnered to concoct a mechanism through which they extract energy from waves. Their project, “Wavetech,” won in the Green and Renewable Energy category.


“It is imperative for engineering students to test their limits, practice their knowledge and skills they have acquired during their studies and learn from their peers,” said Dean Michel Khoury, applauding their sense of initiative to apply and demonstrate what they had learned at the competition. 

Building on this thought, Associate Professor Joe Tekli underscored how machine learning, robotics and green energy are some of the hottest topics in the industry on a global scale. “The students showed great dedication and professionalism in showcasing their projects and ideas – a testimony to the promise that they represent as the future engineers and the leaders that LAU is proudly educating,” he said.

The competition was organized by SOE’s Student Affairs Committee, spearheaded by student representatives Wajih El Tayyar (Mechatronics Engineering), Karim Ghamrawi (Industrial Engineering), Ralph Aouad (Computer Engineering), Rami Merhi (Civil Engineering) and Tracy Al Ahskar (Electrical Engineering).

The committee and its vibrant members, added Dr. Tekli, are planning to reinitiate school traditions such as the Annual Engineering Students Gala Dinner.