UoN Eng students are finalists in global Airbus ideas challenge –VOTE! - The Sauce
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UoN Eng students are finalists in global Airbus ideas challenge –VOTE!

Team ABE

UoN Eng students: Karl Heinz, Marian Muthui, Alex Njiira and Tony Mugita

When four University of Nairobi engineering students entered the Airbus Fly Your Ideas (FYI) competition, they had no idea they will be finalists in the video category. But eight months down the road, rigorous pre-qualification stages, hundreds of man hours and loads of work that has gone into their project, the team is now competing with four other teams in different universities in Germany, Australia, China and Spain.


The fourth year mechanical engineering students came together to form Team A.B.E (Aero Bamboo Engineering) and submitted their idea of using bamboo to make the interior cabin and flooring of planes as an alternative to other synthetic material.

 ABE at work

“The bamboo is modified into bamboo honey comb structure. This material is not only lighter but also much stronger and flexible than conventional wood,” explains Karl Heinz, a member of team ABE.


The competition, which is open to teams of three to five students from around the world, kicked off in September 2012. Marian Muthui approached three of her classmates with a challenge to enter the competition. Other members are Alex Njira and Tony Mugita.


“We had to brainstorm and research on the idea to present to FYI. After many days, we settled on the honey comb technology. Unfortunately, one of the ideas we had dismissed (tapping energy from plane seats) was submitted by another team which went to the main finals,” says Karl.

cross section

cross section of the honey comb structure

Round one had over 600 teams but only 102 teams proceeded to round two. It is only the UoN team that made it through to round two after two teams from South Africa and Nigeria were disqualified.


Although Team ABE was not named among the five teams that have qualified for the finals of the best idea, the team was announced among the finalists of the best video idea category.

final 6

“We have picked five videos from almost 100 sent in to us for Round 2 of Fly Your Ideas so the teams can battle it out to be ‘Best Video Team’ to Fly Your Ideas 2013. Now it is up to you to decide which deserves to win,” states the competition website.


The video should aptly capture the idea, how it is going to be implemented and the benefits of the technology. Members are required to demonstrate engineering skills, design capacity and communication skills.


Team A.B.E has already patented the Bamboo Honey Comb Structure technology and is already getting considerable interest from different people.


“We got a lot of support from KEFRI (Kenya Forest Research Institute) who allowed us to us their machines to modify the bamboos. We are also grateful to Fun Kids, Fab Lab and Protel, who shot our video,” says Karl.


The five finalists of the ‘Best Idea’ have already received 60,000 Euros and they eventual winner will get an additional 30,000 Euros while the runners-up get 15,000 Euros. FYI has not announced how much the winner of the video will get.

 Check out their Facebook Page …Airbus Team ABE

VOTE FOR Team A.B.E here by June 3rd >>  https://www.airbus-fyi.com/medias/best-videos



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