From a more accurate way to monitor your energy consumption with an app, to improving health care by diagnosing brain injuries faster and more accurately. One student even brought his grandmother to the stage to demonstrate his new product. He developed separate handles to control a wheelchair the other way around as well. The person in the wheelchair can then better interact with the person accompanying him or her. These are some of the innovative projects that participants of the TU/e Contest presented during the grand finale Thursday afternoon. The contest gives students of the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) with special and market-worthy innovations a spotlight.
In recent months they worked hard to develop their ideas into concrete demonstrations, prototypes, and business cases. With workshops and coaching from companies in the Brainport region, the students took their first steps as entrepreneurs. They pitched the results during the grand finale of the TU/e Contest to a jury of leading innovators. The goal: to win one of the many cash prizes to further develop their plans.
‘From dream to demo to impact,’ is the slogan of the annual student contest. “We believe that the future engineers should also have entrepreneurial skills,” said Isabelle Reymen, scientific director of TU/e innovation Space, during the grand finale. TU/e innovation Space is the home base for the student teams. In addition, the organization is responsible within the university for the development and implementation of challenge-based learning. A form of learning in which students from different programs work together on projects in the real world.
Ingenious and simple
Sustainability plays a role in many teams. For example, one group of students is working to recycle the batteries of electric vehicles, particularly trucks, by turning them into local energy storage for energy from solar panels. Others came up with a handy tool to help green your garden. Tiles out and plants in, that’s the motto. But how? Which plants contribute to diversity in the environment? The tool takes all that into account. The right plants will then be sent to your home. Almost like a HelloFresh box, but for the garden.
This year there was a new element. The teams were divided into three categories: “people,” “planet” and “prosperity. For each category, a separate jury judged the five participating teams. From these, two teams were eventually chosen, the winner and the runner-up (a team to keep an eye on).
New rector magnificus Silvia Lenaerts presented the prizes. She emphasized that it is important for the teams to work with a diverse team. That way, the students build a stable business case for now and later, she stated. Reinier Seuren, the co-founder of former contest winner Spacecific, also warned participants against a bubble. His advice: “Go talk to as many people as possible and also hear other opinions about your product and company. That’s important to avoid tunnel vision.”
And the winners are…
In the people category, Team HART won. This team is working on a special sleeve that allows blind and visually impaired people to feel the body language of their conversation partners. This gives an extra dimension to a conversation. The runner-up award in this category went to The Suweve with detachable handles for a wheelchair.
E-SET took the win in the planet category. The judges praised their solution to make battery storage from recycled truck batteries. The Runner-up Award went to Voltalgae. This relatively new company is developing a battery with algae. A sustainable alternative to the current ones.
In the prosperity category, InMotion won. This student team is working on a new technology to charge electric vehicles in minutes. Initially, it is for a race car, but in the future, it could also work for passenger cars. The runner-up award went to Aero Team Eindhoven. This team is developing a drone that can change batteries while in flight. This allows a drone to travel long distances. Earlier this week, the students presented their drone at the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven.
In addition to the three main categories, several other awards were presented:
- The Audience Award went to The Suweve
- The ASML Makers Award went to T.E.S.T. (with its new method for determining brain injuries).
- The Energy Transition Award (By Shell) went to InMotion
- The Van der Lande Sustainable Logistics Innovation Award went to E-SET
- The Mikrocentrum Boost Your Tech Career Award went to Eden (with its tool for plants in the garden).