Smart Bin Prototype developed by CompEng Students

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(fltr) Hakan Bayer, Salih Enes Tiryaki with the Smart Bin Prototype


Working alongside your studies, whether in a company or at university or doing an internship, is normal everyday life for most students. At the same time, it prepares them for their career after graduation. Starting your own business while studying is still the exception. Three (former) CompEng students, namely Tarik Sahin, Hakan Bayer, and Salih Enes Tiryaki, have taken this step. Together with Berk Hakbilen, they have started a project developing a smart bin that should lead to a start-up in the future.

Tarik Sahin has a Bachelor's degree in Aerospace Engineering and a Master's degree in Computational Engineering. He is doing his doctorate on the topic of digital twins at the Universität der Bundeswehr München and is responsible for the AI algorithm and software. Berk Hakbilen, like Tarik, has a Bachelor's degree in Aerospace Engineering and a Master's degree in Computational Mechanics. He is also working with Tarik on the AI algorithm and software. Hakan is responsible for mechanical integration and electromechanical components. Enes is responsible for design and production.

The idea is to make waste recycling more efficient with the help of an AI algorithm and thus sort waste into recyclable raw materials as purely as possible. This is already being done in large waste management companies. But the project team wants to make pre-sorting by the consumer more efficient. Instead of the consumer thinking about whether this or that belongs in the paper or recycling bin, which would inevitably lead to misdirected waste, the consumer simply throws the waste into the flap provided and the bin itself uses a cloud-based solution to assign the waste to the appropriate bin in a fraction of a second. It is currently intended that this system could be used in offices or public spaces, for example.

When public life almost came to a standstill in March 2020 and the Ruhr-University Bochum also went into distance mode, Tarik, and Hakan used the time to come up with this idea where Enes and Berk joined later on. They have been working together since then. To further develop their idea, they have been supported by a scholarship by the Worldfactory StartUp Center (WSC) since September 2020. In addition, they received the Founder Scholarship NRW for 6 months in 2021. The financial support was very helpful in developing their prototype. It took the team over a year from the initial planning to the current status. At first, they were able to use rooms of the WSC on the campus of the Ruhr-University Bochum until they were finally ready to move into their first small office two months ago. This is also provided by the WSC. Unfortunately, the provision of the rooms was delayed because the premises were also affected by the big storm in 2021.

We visited Enes and Hakan and asked them a few questions.


Can you briefly explain what your project is about? Who came up with the initial idea?
We have a mission to sort waste on spot with a smart waste sorting bin for waste management to increase the sorting efficiency and tedious documentation process of waste. The initial idea was found by Tarik Sahin and Hakan Bayer during the beginning of the pandemic in march 2020, later on, the team was extended. The idea came up while taking a machine learning course and discussing the applications of AI in the field of waste sorting and management.
You are studying CompEng at the RUB. Has the Master’s program been helpful for your project?
The master's program was quite beneficial due to the variety of courses that extended our vision in real-world engineering applications, particularly the lecture "Supervised machine learning" which initiated the idea and helped us a lot to build the software of smart bin.

What has been your biggest challenge so far?
So far our biggest challenges were to create the right business plan, develop marketing strategies, and reach out to people since we don't have a fluent German speaker who doesn't particularly have the engineering-based studies or background.

Your project is/ has been supported by the RUB Worldfactory StartUp Center. To what extent does this financial support, but also support beyond that, for example through their network, help you to realise your ideas?
World factory mainly supported us in building the prototype which was not possible without their help. Beyond that, they supported us in matching with coaches, getting a good network, and introducing us to the right people.

You are studying for a Master's degree at the RUB. How can you combine full-time studies and your project? Does the university give you enough support for your project?
It wasn't easy to combine this project with our studies, we had to put in extra work to reach our goals and expand our vision. But since we are mostly at end of our studies or already graduated, it was not the biggest challenge for us. So far, there was not any support from the university except from the Worldfactory. But it would be great to have an opportunity if we can get some help to locate our prototype as a showcase inside the university.

What is the next step and where do you see yourselves in 5 years?
We are currently in the ideation phase and validation of our idea using the prototype, that we have recently built. After the validation phase, we would like to turn this idea into a start-up. We want to be able to spread the use of this high-end technology and bring it to a usage volume where we can have a positive impact on the environment. In 5 years, we hope to be able to achieve that.

What are your tips for other students who want to start such a project, possibly a start-up?
First, they have to find a problem in real life, and then they should find a way to solve it. Also, they have to show that the idea is financially viable. After joining multiple meetings with experts from the industry, investors are willing to invest in products that do not include hardware or they are willing to invest in products that have hardware with simple designs and without dynamic systems. Also since we are all engineers in our team, we don't have a background in marketing and economics which leads us to fail in preparing a reliable business plan. Because of that, it is highly recommended to include someone with a Business and marketing background who has the German language as his/her mother language.

We say thank you and wish you all the best for the future.

If you want to found a start-up yourself and don't quite know where to begin, you can contact the Worldfactory StartUp Center.
And of course, we are happy to pass on that Tarik, Enes, Hakan, and Berk are currently looking for project partners/ investors and are also searching for at least one more team member who speaks fluent German and should support them, especially in business and marketing issues.



Sarah Jordan




from left to right: Prof. R. Span (Academic Director MechEng@VGU), Dipl.-Ing. J. Sahlmen (Programme Coordinator CompEng), Prof. K. Hackl (Course Director CompEng), Frau M. Sprung, M.A. (Head of the Int. Office of the RUB), Prof. T. Benz (President of the VGU), Prof. M. Paul (Rector of the RUB)), Prof. M. Knobloch (Dean of the Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering), Prof. M. Petermann (Dean of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering)


After more than 10 years of successful cooperation, we are pleased to announce that a double-degree agreement for the Master's programme Computational Engineering was signed between the Vietnamese-German University (VGU) and the Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) on 15 March 2022.

The Rector of RUB, Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Martin Paul, and the President of VGU, Prof. Dr. Tomas Benz, signed the agreement during a small ceremony in the presence of the RUB lecturers and coordina-tors who are closely involved with the VGU degree programmes.
The CompEng@VGU Master's course has been established at VGU in 2009 and has since graduated over 50 graduates, more than a third of whom have gone on to pursue a doctorate and start an international career. One of the first graduates from 2012, Dr. Lu Trong Khiem Nguyen, was recent-ly appointed Lecturer (with tenure, equivalent to a professorship at a German university) in Mul-tiscale Materials at the University of Glasgow. The teaching of Computational Engineering at VGU was initially carried out exclusively by a flying faculty consisting of German lecturers. In the last years, the number of Vietnamese lecturers increased and since 2018, the degree programme has been successfully transferred to autonomy at VGU.The now finalised double-degree agreement regulates and strengthens the cooperation between the two partners in the future.

We would like to thank all those involved who have intensively lived and promoted the cooperation between VGU and RUB in the recent years and look forward to further expanding the exchange between the two study programmes in the coming years.

K. Hackl, J. Sahlmen (Programme coordinators CompEng)




CompEng Alumni Sandra Klinge appointed to Professorship at TU Berlin


Sandra Klinge, alumni of the Master Computational Engineering at RUB, was appointed to the professorship "Structural Mechanics and Structural Computation" (SMB at the Faculty of Transportation and Machine Systems at TU Berlin in July 2021. We from CompEng warmly congratulate her to her professorship. We have talked to Prof Dr.-Ing. habil. Klinge about her studies, her professorship, and her career.

Bild SK 2Why did you choose to study the Master Computational Engineering at Ruhr-University Bochum?
Sandra Klinge: I chose CompEng on account of the scientific curriculum of the course. The focus of this master program was placed on numerical methods and their application in engineering: civil engineering as well as mechanical engineering. It offered an opportunity to acquire a lot of knowledge about the FEM but also about the finite difference method, finite volume method or boundary element method and parallel computing. This was exactly what I had been interested in: learning to develop new codes and to improve existing ones; to get faster and more efficient software and simultaneously to provide more realistic simulations.

What did you do in the time after your graduation in CompEng until your appointment to your professorship? Can you give us a brief review of your previous career?
After finishing my master course, I did my PhD and post-doc studies at Ruhr-University Bochum in the group of Professor Klaus Hackl. Thereafter, I pursued my scientific career as a junior professor in Computational Mechanics at TU Dortmund. In between, I was a visiting researcher at Graz University of Technology in Austria in the group of Professor Gerhard Holzapfel. I also visited the University of Berkeley, the Ohio State University and University of Delaware several times for shorter time periods.

When and why did you decide to pursue a career in science? Was that already decided when you started studying CompEng?
I would pose this question differently: It was not a decision, I had been wishing it, I was dreaming about it. When did I start to wish it? Long before the CompEng, long before I came to Germany. I wished to be a scientist since I was a child, maybe since the second or third class of primary school. I found the school and the possibility to continuously learn and (later on) to discover new things absolutely exciting.

To what extent has CompEng's international environment influenced you in your career planning? Has it influenced you in other aspects of your life?
The decision to study master course CompEng had a significant influence not only on my scientific career but also on my private life. It was the very first time that I was completely independent from my family and far away from all my friends. However, although we all were coming from different countries, the CompEng group has become homogeneous pretty fast. We were writing our homeworks together, organizing a dormitory-kino, visiting different cities in Germany and Europe. It was a nice time that we enjoyed together with the ComEng organization team. I use this opportunity to give my thanks to Professor Günther Schmid, who has been the initiator of the course and to Vera Feldhaus, Julia Lippmann and Jörg Sahlmen who were our contact persons at that time. Their continuous support was really precious to me and, I believe, to all CompEng students.

What is the research focus of your professorship? And what particularly fascinates you about your field of research?
The topic of my PhD thesis has been “Multiscale modeling of heterogeneous material”. This has been the main topic of my scientific work until today. The multiscale material modeling is a powerful technique that gives us an opportunity to go deeply into the material structure and to use the knowledge on very small length scales in order to exactly model and predict the material behavior at higher order scales. Possibilities to create the so-called representative volume element (RVE) for a material are in many cases countless. The only limitation is the imagination and, of course, the computer effort. The challenge to bring these two together is what fascinates me. My habilitation thesis has also dealt with the heterogeneous materials, however from another point of view: Here, I have been working on the numerical identification of material parameters on lower scales.

How does the knowledge you acquired in the CompEng program still help you today?
Answer: The knowledge which I acquired in the CompEng course is the indispensable basis for my scientific work today. All models we currently develop at my department rely on the rules of tensor algebra, principles from continuum mechanics and assumptions typical of the FEM. I am also very glad that I can pass on to my present students the knowledge I got during my master studies.

Do you have any tips for other female engineers? Have you had any particular challenges as a woman in engineering?
I have never considered the engineering as something related to a specific gender, women or men. Engineering is a quite a wide field with many different branches which are equally attractive to women and men. For example, if we speak of sustainable production, it is a topic that concerns everyone. I believe that this way of thinking is becoming more and more accepted.
For all young scientists, it is a great challenge to reconcile research work and family life. A good organization and a strong support by the family are necessary in order to combine these two aspects.
A word for the end: I am very happy that I decided to go to Germany and to study the ComEng master course. That has certainly been one of the most important decisions in my life.
I wish all present and future students of this course a lot of success in their further professional career!


Mrs. Prof Dr.-Ing. habil. Klinge, thank you a lot for the interview!

Klinge und LehrstuhlKlinge und Lehrstuhl b









Prof Dr.-Ing. habil. Sandra Klinge and the department of Mechanics – Structural Mechanics and Analysis, and the Study-Bear (click to enlarge)


Alice Alferink, Student Assistant




Lu Trong Khiem Nguyen appointed Lecturer

Z50 6018 rzCompEng@VGU Graduate Lu Trong Khiem Nguyen has been appointed Lecturer at the University of Glasgow. He has started his new position as Lecturer (with tenure, equivalent to a professorship at a German university) in Multiscale Materials on 5 January 2022. His research focuses on multiscale theories and related numerical methods to study the behaviour of heterogeneous materials and metamaterials in a dynamic regime.

Lu Trong Khiem Nguyen got his Bachelor degree in Mathematics & Computer Sciences from University of Science, HCM City, in 2010 and his Master degree in Computational Engineering from VGU in 2012. He graduated from VGU with the best final average grade ever obtained in the Computational Engineering program both at RUB and VGU, and published part of the results of his Master thesis with his supervisor Professor Le Khanh Chau 2013 in the scientific paper "Slope modulation of waves governed by sine–Gordon equation" in the international journal "Communications in Nonlinear Science and Numerical Simulation".

In 2013, also under the supervision of Prof. Le Khan Chau, Lu Trong Khiem Nguyen continued his academic career at RUB with a PhD study on the topic of "Application of Variational-Asymptotic Methods to a Set of Nonlinear Equations" as a DAAD scholarship holder. Lu Trong Khiem Nguyen successfully completed his doctoral thesis in 2016, after only three years of processing, an absolutely outstanding achievement that led to him receiving an offer of a postdoctoral position from the University of Stuttgart even before he had finished his thesis.

During his time in Stuttgart, Lu Trong Khiem Nguyen spent time as a Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, UK and at the University of Pennsylvania, USA. This was followed by positions as a research associate at the Helmholtz-Zentrum, Geesthacht Centre for Materials and Coastal Research, and as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at ETH Zürich.

We warmly congratulate Lu Trong Khiem Nguyen on his new position.

Season’s Greetings

seasons greetings 21


Dear all,

The nice thing about winter semesters is the time between the years. Before the last weeks of lectures begin in January and the exams are just around the corner, there is a well-deserved break. We hope you can use this time to recharge your batteries, meet friends or family and get your mind off the next lecture.


RUB will be on Christmas break from 24 December 2021 to 9 January 2022. There will be no courses during this time. The University will go into "energetic hibernation" from 23/12/2021, evening - 02/01/2022, noon and will therefore be literally closed. The CompEng office will be back (digitally) on the 10th January 2022.


The CompEng Coordination Team wishes you happy and relaxing holidays.

See you in 2022!