Students from the ACSE-led SunbYte project win Urban Flows Observatory sensor competition

UFO Competition Win Image 2

Yun-Hang Cho and Gianni Heung, from the ACSE-led SunbYte student project have won a local Sheffield competition sponsored by Siemens, Autodesk and Arup. The Sensor Build competition invited Engineers from across the city to present their innovative sensor designs on improving air quality, health or energy efficiency.

"This was an excellent opportunity to merge together the knowledge I gained from SunbYte and my PhD in remote sensing. I want to thank ACSE and my partner Gianni Heung for their support."


The team’s concept was; The Internet of Things Multi-Use Technology, a low-cost, USB powered, remote sensing platform which uses Ethernet, USB, WiFI or mobile signal to collect and transmit data. Gianni Heung, SunbYte Electronic team leader programmed the sensors whilst Yun designed and built the prototype structure. For their final pitch they had 2 minutes to demonstrate, in front of a panel of experts, how their prototype would capture data and present how this could be scaled across the city. UFO Competition Win Image 1

Yun-Hang and Gianni’s prototype was designed and aimed to monitor a range of harmful gases such as Butane or Methane, and air properties such as temperature, pressure and humidity. The prototype could help researchers predict the pollutant distribution across the region. The low cost device’s capabilities could be expanded to include wind and rain sensors, providing a portable USB powered weather station.

Combined with the latest advances in the ‘Internet of Things’, researchers and engineers could easily utilise this device to monitor and receive incoming data remotely, using telecommunication networks or VPN.

"This project gave me the chance to learn new skills such as HTML and practise telecommunication knowledge from my EEE degrees."


The winners will now have the opportunity to commercialise their entry with support from USE, Sheffield Technology Parks and Siemens. Find out more about their design here

The Urban Flows Observatory competition provides a forum for creative ideas and practical solutions to help us understand the flows and usage of energy and resource across the city. We were impressed by the quality, ingenuity and breadth of the proposed solutions and by the engineering and interpersonal skills demonstrated by all the entrants. Congratulations to the students from the winning team for their remarkable achievement.

Professor Daniel Coca, Head of the Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering


The Urban Flows Observatory is part of a wider network of UK Urban Observatories, a collaborative venture led by the Universities of Newcastle, Bristol and Sheffield, and part of UKCRIC (UK Collaboratorium for Research in Infrastructure and Cities), 14 universities working to address issues of infrastructure development. The observatory will bring together fixed, mobile, atmospheric and satellite data that measure a range of environmental and physical criteria across a wide range of temporal and spatial scales. This will allow us the opportunity to deploy advanced data fusion techniques to create a dynamic understanding of the flows of energy and resources in the city that is globally leading. View more information here.

SunbYte is an ACSE-led near space mission with NASA to launch a solar telescope into the upper atmosphere revolutionising solar observations by lowering cost of access to high quality space images. The team is composed of interdisciplinary students from Sheffield, Hull and Hong Kong. Find out more about their work and the launch of the mission here.

SSI: Thank you for the support and funding provide by the Department of ACSE, Aerospace, Faculty of Engineering, IET, the Alumni Fund and the School of Mathematics and Statistics.