Our Ph.D. student Jiří Ulrich received the prestigious IT SPY award for the best diploma thesis in computer science out of 1,200 Czech and Slovak students.

Jiří Ulrich wins the best diploma thesis in computer science in the IT SPY 2022 competition. A graduate of the Open Informatics program is now a doctoral student at our AI Center. He won the prestigious competition with his thesis on Fiducial marker-based multiple camera localisation system (supervised by Tomáš Krajník). As a prize, he received 2,000 EUR for the further development of the project from the software company PROFINIT, which organizes the competition.

Poster of Jiří's diploma thesis (PDF)

Localizing moving objects using cameras and simple markers

As part of his diploma thesis, Jiří designed and implemented an open and accessible WhyCode system for determining the positions of moving objects. Thanks to its versatility, scalability and user-friendliness, this system is used in a number of foreign universities, technology companies and international projects. In addition to its use in swarm robotics and autonomous vehicles, the system has also been deployed to monitor the activities of social insects as part of the European RoboRoyale project.

Tracking of a beehive using markers.

Jiří has been working on this research project since his bachelor's studies and continues to do so as part of his Ph.D. "I enjoy the various use cases of this technology. It can be used for localization and creation of formations of autonomous drones, augmented reality, determining the position of robots during interactions with each other or with the environment, and basically any time when it is necessary to know the position of an object," explains Jiří and adds, what makes the technology unique.

Compared to the PTI Phoenix or OptiTrack systems, WhyCode is cheaper and much simpler. It can be set up in minutes, works in direct sunlight because it doesn't use infrared light, and has a longer range. It is available on Android as a simple mobile application, and the open source code is also a big advantage.

Setup for testing the WhyCode system on the university campus.

The prize of 2,000 euros definitely comes in handy. "I will use the award to finalize the project on the software side and expand it to mobile platforms as well, because then the system will truly be available to everyone. I would also like to purchase a few more cameras and accessories so that I can better test the universality of the system," Jiří revealed his future plans.

Best out of 1,200 students

Six Czech and five Slovak universities, where almost 1,200 diploma theses were defended in the last academic year, participated in the thirteenth edition of IT SPY. Out of these, the ambassadors nominated a total of 52 projects for the semi-finals, which were evaluated by an expert jury. Those going to the finals then defended their theses in person on November 24, 2022.

Jiří Ulrcih (first on the left) with the finalists of IT SPY 2022.

"For me, the IT SPY competition is a probe into the best works created in the Czech Republic and Slovakia in the field of informatics. The domain of the last editions is the useful applicability of the ideas of diploma theses, which was confirmed this year as well," Jiří Vokřínek, Head of the Department of Computer Science at FEE CTU, evaluates the results. His department has delivered the fifth winner of the competition, and last year the first woman ever received the award – Jindřiška Deckerová.