IDE(E)As from tomorrow that are able to change the world. That is how the results of the second IDEEA forum can be summarized. During the past 5 month, students from 22 different university worldwide collaborated in diverse teams to find real human needs through the design thinking process and solve those. Overall goal was to create some sort of drone.
Even though the task sounds simple, the teams did not stop with the simplest solutions but started thinking outside the box and some even designed complex drone systems.
An international project is a challenge for everyone involved: students, professors, faculty and universities, but it enriches with a great experience that can normally not be made through classes. It requires commitment and teamwork while teaching how to overcome struggles and finding a new approach to existing problems. With all of that, astonishing results can be reached as shown in the final presentations that were held in July. It became clear that the main pain for the upcoming generation of engineers and designers is the world pollution and environmental damage always with focus on the society. Winning drones did not only convince with their design or technical feasibility but also with the problems they are solving. And the results should not be taken easy but rather been viewed as revolutionizing.
“Design and model a new and innovative Smart Modular Drone design concept based upon a selected specific drone application category.” was the given task to all 15 teams. Since last years first IDEEA forum had been a huge success, it was decided to carry on with the project with even more participants joining from all over the world. Groups of students were formed by mixing design and mechanical engineering students from different universities. Guidance for each team was provided through two faculty mentors that stepped up to support and help when needed. Within these teams students had to globally collaborate online through weekly video meetings, messaging and working together no matter the distance. This opened up a whole new perspective with having to overcome a language barrier as well as having different cultural and personal influences. The special circumstances that the year 2020 has brought helped in some way improve the work since not only friends that live in the same city had to meet online but also teammates from the other side of the world. This made the world appear smaller and all of the teammates closer while going through the same situation.
Finding a specific drone application category is the first step in the process of designing and modeling a new drone concept. The Design Thinking Process provides a guideline on how the problem can be viewed. There are five elemental steps – Research, Definition, Ideation, Making, and Testing. The goal is to focus on the customer and his human needs and finding a solution that satisfies those.
Human needs and problems existing in today’s world are wide spread, some of them more obvious than others. The new inventions can be divided into three categories: disaster management, environment safety and pollution control. Many of those topics have been in the news lately, therefore students were inspired to find solutions for those. Thus different versions of drones have been designed, working after a disaster has taken place, starting from wildfires and earthquakes, building up mobile service, mapping the landscape, dropping medical supplies to supporting rescuers. Besides the community, another big topic has been the global warming and pollution of the environment. Trash in the oceans, locust and bore destroying crops, mosquitos transmitting dangerous disease and dying of the bees are some of the problems that have been found. At the end of the project, new drones have been developed that solve those in an efficient and new way. Mockups and high renderings give a great impression of how a further improvement can build a functional product.
Become part in building a platform for academia, students and industry to meet, exchange ideas, foster collaboration and make new friendships!
Prepare for the Future
The process of designing a new drone concept is completely new for the students since most of the regular classes do not focus on project work, are not combining knowledge of different courses and do not teach competences that become important in worklife, like discussing ideas, having meetings and working with a deadline. Still, all those capabilities are helpful when starting a job for both, the students and the companies. If you, as a company, are interested in joining a community, which sculptures tomorrows design and engineering education, on a global level and are willing to support this process make sure to follow the IDEEA page on LinkedIn. Become part in building a platform for academia, students and industry to meet, exchange ideas, foster collaboration and make new friendships!
Success for All
The results are surprising, overwhelming and sometimes even breathtaking. They show how much commitment, work and will has been put into it. How each team member has worked hard to contribute through their personal knowledge. It becomes clear how much the team has grown and how their ideas evolved. They did not stop at the first thought but worked through it, asked questions and thrived to create something world changing. The learned abilities will not only help while studying but become useful when starting a career giving them an insight on what to expect in international projects and teaching them how to deal with occurring issues. And last, it should not be forgotten that creating a very own product proves what all the hard studying is for and makes all involved proud. A big thank you to everyone who helped make this years project a success!
The planning for next year has already begun and it is exciting to see what it will bring! Interested in participating? More information will be published on this side soon.