A smart milk tea vending machine developed by University of Macau (UM) students stood out from 1,210 shortlisted entries at the 16th “Challenge Cup” National College Students’ Extracurricular Academic Science and Technology Contest and won the first prize, the public university said in a statement on Monday.
The statement did not say when the competition was held and when the prizes were announced.
The smart vending machine was jointly developed by three UM students in the Department of Electromechanical Engineering and the State Key Laboratory of Internet of Things for Smart City, namely Hu Zhiyuan, Ouyang Mingcong, and Ding Ziqin, under the guidance of the department’s Associate Professor Yang Zhixin.
“They used infrared sensors on the key points of the robotic arm to ensure that the robotic arm can be accurately docked in various spatial positions. In terms of smart control, they used temperature and volume sensors to remotely monitor multiple liquid containers on an IoT platform. In addition to automatic brewing of milk tea, customers also have the option of adding tapioca pearls, coconut gel, brown sugar, and other ingredients according to their preferences. Alternatively, they can choose other beverages. The smart vending machine accepts a variety of payment options, such as WeChat Pay, Macau Pass, and MPay,” the statement said.
The statement quoted Hu as saying that the machine was very well received during its trial period and also received “unanimous praise and recognition” from the judges at the competition. He thanked Macao’s Science and Technology Development Fund (FDCT) for supporting the project.
Hu also said that the team was in the process of developing a second-generation version of the machine, which will have more functions, such as facial recognition. The machine is slated to be set up at the UM Faculty of Science and Technology soon to enable more students to enjoy milk tea on campus at any time of the day, the statement said.
Hailed as the “Olympics” of college science project competitions, the “Challenge Cup” is a highly influential national competition among the nation’s college students. It is co-organised by the Communist Youth League, the China Association for Science and Technology, the Ministry of Education, the All-China Students’ Federation, and local governments, the statement noted.