The 21th International Computers Contest for Students - HARD & SOFT Suceava 2014

Andrei and Mircea are our colleagues who participated in “Hard and Soft competition 2014”, in Suceava - Romania. Together with another colleague of theirs from the University of Oradea, and their teacher, Cristian Tiurbe, were the ones representing Oradea, our city, in this contest.

“Hard & Soft” is a contest for senior students from Computer Hardware and Software Engineering (Computer Science) who are supposed to work on an on-site assigned task over a period of five days in teams of four (

Andrei and Mircea had a nice experience there and they wanted to share it with us on our blog. Qubiz also sponsored to their experience and we are very proud of them!


1. Which are the reasons for you choosing this experience?

  • Andrei: I have been participating in this event for 2 years now and last year I got a very good result. Also, this year was my last chance to take part into this competition, being my last year as a student. So, I wanted to take advantage of this last chance and there I was.
  • Mircea: For me, it was the first time and for sure, it was a great challenge. I am glad that I will be a mentor for the other colleagues who will participate in the next years. Well, to be honest, I really don’t know with what to start, mainly because it was my first year to Hard and Soft contest and I have to admit, it was something special and everything that happened during the week was exciting.

2. What was actually your application about?

  • Andrei: The theme was “Exploring the exoplanet” and the idea was to build a small robot, a rover like Curiosity from Planet Mars, and this robot would detect various signals from a Planet surface, such as minerals, water, and generate a simple map. The purpose of those actions was the robot to discover if the Planet can be habitable. My part in the project consisted in hardware and also software development. The software part handled the generating of the map and the robot function of determining the coordinates and the transmissions of data between the robot and the computer. As programming languages we used: Python, Processing, Eagle, C and Shell Script, under Linux Operating System. Raspberry pie received information from Arduino, that catched signals from the sensors. Raspberry pie communicated with a laptop via wireless communication, that received a video live streaming of the machine and received data from sensors to the computer.
  • Mircea: I was in charge of the sensors part and ensuring the communication between 2 hardware devices: Arduino ( a microcontroller connected to the sensors and the Raspberry) and the Raspberry. Our other colleague, Ioan, was in charge with the hardware part. He is very talented.

3. What did the competition consist in?

  • Mircea: It was a unique experience, I was very curious, very excited, it was a challenge for me, also due to the fact that I met people from so many places!
  • Andrei: It was an international contest. There were 14 teams from various national university centres such as: Bucharest, Iasi, Timisoara, Cluj, Oradea. There were also teams from Moldova, Ukraine and Germany. The idea of this contest is secret until you get there and sign in. There is a whole working week at your disposal from when you find out the theme until you need to demonstrate what you have implemented. During the first 4 days, we had to implement the application on the hardware and software sides. The organisers offered us the Rover, the Raspberry Pie and a web camera. We came with the temperature, gas, humidity and ultrasonic sensors.

4. Why would you recommend this experience to other colleagues?

  • Mircea: I would definitely recommend this experience for many reasons:
  • If you fail to get to a successful result from a first attempt, the only thing that matters is how you will correct that mistake before demonstrating the project in front of the committee.
  • Having the opportunity to learn something new.
  • Meeting new people, encountering new mentalities and new ideas.
  • Andrei: A great experience, you can find out new things, you can present at the end of the 4 days what you have implemented in a short time, it is like a working experience. Everything was very professional, the documentation, the completed details of what we had to do. The main thing is that you gain a lot of experience in a very short time.

More pictures on our Facebook page

by Alina, Andrei and Mircea

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