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3rd Place

Sylia Khecheni

The Punchy Engineer
Home Privacy Drone Blocker


Sylia jumped headfirst down a career path dominated by men. Keen to open doors for other women, she finished her bachelor’s degree in electronics, and her master’s degree in telecommunications from Mouloud Mammeri University in Algeria. Her main focus was and still is on wireless networks. The engineer demonstrates a contagious fighting spirit and strength resembling the Atlas Mountains.

Sylia worked in an R&D telecommunications unit under the direction of Stars of Science alumni and winner, Abderrahim Bourouis. Together they secured an impressive four patents for their department.

With Bourouis being a great role model, Sylia pushes through boundaries to deliver on her promise. Her mission is to develop a cutting-edge device rooted in safeguarding privacy. Using her expertise, Sylia aims to uphold Algerian traditions and values with her innovation.

Sylia is meticulous in nature. She doesn’t like wasting time. More importantly, she wouldn’t put so much effort into something if she didn’t believe it would make her country and family proud. “I am in awe of all new technology, but it must be used in the right way,” she explains.

“From my own experience, I know how important role models are.” Sylia recalls her mother’s advice before she took off for Stars of Science, “Imagination is the real intelligence. Be unconventional in your ambition.”

About the Project

The market for commercial drones has been on the rise. Kids use them for fun. Photographers use them to gain an edge. Others use a drone to create great memories. The drone hobbyist’s world is one of exploration and discovery, but also crowded with regulations. Sylia was overwhelmed when she started reading about breaches of privacy surrounding commercial drones. Her research revealed that most of the existing drones have HD cameras and capture people’s day to day activities without their consent, or even their awareness. She soon realized that existing transmission blockers were not meant for families to use.

Sylia’s device targets intrusive Wi-Fi or radio controlled hobbyist drones. After detecting the surrounding drones, the device jams the remote control signals and corrupts its video transmission activity on the spot. “My device is meant for families to use,” Sylia explained. “I aim to save privacy while safeguarding drones!”


Sylia’s innovation will protect families’ home privacy from curious hobbyists’ drones without damaging them. The household tool detects the presence of invaders, blocks video transmission, and destabilizes the controllability of the intruding Wi-Fi drone. The device is able to do all of this without impacting other coexistent, safe and legal forms of communication. It is suitable for practical use in various countries, regardless of differences in regulatory laws for drones.