“It’s kind of like tinder for finding a sports buddy”, coming from the podium in the Auditorium of the TU/e. It’s the first pitch of a series of 24 student teams, which are spread over three halls, who present their idea to a jury. They all had one day to come up with an innovative solution in the care for heart patients. From VR-experience to injectable blood flow rate meter, it’s all there during the kick-off day of the Slimmer Leven Challenge 2017. This year there are approximately 200 students from the Summa college, Fontys  and the TU/e who develop an idea in mixed teams for the Heart foundation. Therein they were supported by 30 experts from the industry.

“We’re all in the same boat today”, says Damiën Lemans, he studies Industrial Product Design at the Fontys University in Eindhoven. “The college students have a totally different view, they think a lot different than me. I’m not constantly standing at the bed, they are. Innovations really have an impact on them. It is therefore extremely educational to work together.” Kimberley also studies nursing, but at the Summacollege: “I’m not used to brainstorming, I used to find it very hard, but it’s actually a lot of fun. We try to complement each other. I know more from practice, while they have a lot more knowledge.”

“It’s nice that everyone can benefit from each other’s expertise.”

The team has come up with a VR-experience to show young people what happens in your body when you suffer from cardiovascular disease. It is intended as a preventative remedy. According to the jury, this idea is spot on, because they are going through to the final during the DTW in May. Lemans: “I hope we can further elaborate the idea before the final.”

Hilde Meijs, director Summa Care and chairwoman of the Slimmer Leven Challenge organisation team is excited about the collaboration between the different education levels: “It’s nice that everyone can benefit from each other’s expertise. It might be a little strange for our students  at first, they are guests at the big TU/e grounds and are often a bit younger than the most university students, that can be a bit scary. This is the fourth time this year we’re organising this and every time our students come back more confident. They are often not aware of all the things they already know.” But the guidance of the experts is also important according to Meijs. “This melting pot creates an environment that enables innovations that are highly necessary in care.”

Also Peter Portheine, director of Slimmer Leven, finds those innovations highly necessary. “Society is changing, the demand for care increases, it’s becoming more and more expensive. This makes embracing technology more not a luxury but a necessity.” Merging qualities, insights and different parties is essential. “You can have a great idea on paper, but then it turns out not to work in practice. The practice experience of the college students has added value here. They know the problems in society and they know what is going on with Mrs. Jansen. The people from university can do practise-oriented research of this and come up with a good solution. The scientific students come up with the solutions for tomorrow. But they do need each other.”

“It also offers students a stage to show their qualities”

In this way, he believes lifelong learning is stimulated, students from college get to know university. “But not only education will benefit from this challenge. It also offers students a stage to show their qualities, to present themselves. There have been examples in the past where companies picked up talent.”

The six winning teams are given the chance to further elaborate and improve their ideas until the final, during the DTW in May. “The jury has now especially looked at originality and feasibility. Later in the final, the teams are expected to be able to set up a solid business case.” says Portheine.

They don’t have to do it all by themselves. The teams still get two guidance rounds, with pitch trainings and substantive tips. Then follows a meet & greet dinner with the business life. “Here they can approach experts for help, you see some teams with a very smart approach. They seriously present themselves to a partner of whom they expect he can be interesting for them. But you also see teams holding back, that difference in level is interesting to see.”

The teams that are in the finals on May 16th:

Little Big Chefs: a campaign-idea where children and their parents are stimulated in an appealing way to start cooking healthier.

Pressure Point: a device that measures blood pressure on central and public points, like at a supermarket, and is always in different places in the country.

Life App: together with other people in the area, exercising and eating healthily are stimulated as a threat.

Smart Brush: a toothbrush that measures saturation and heart rate. After two minutes the toothbrush turns green (good) of yellow (not so good) and the user gets feedback of the results through an application.

Beating Heart: kids are taught how important it is to eat healthily and exercise by means of several games.

The Heart is The Life: Virtual Reality glasses that takes you on a trip through the body so that the users themselves can experience what cardiovascular disease looks like and what happens in the body.

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About the author

Bart Brouwers is co-founder and co-owner of Media52 BV, the publisher of innovationorigins.com.