Follow the 4th CHIC: connected objects
The fourth China Hardware Innovation Camp (CHIC) learning program started up in October 2017. As part of it, the teams of students from HEC Lausanne (University of Lausanne), EPFL, and ECAL will produce the connected objects they have designed in China. The first three CHIC camps led to projects with social, medical and sustainable components. This year, the focus is on fun and practicality, with objects enabling increased interactions between parents and children, optimized monitoring of groups of children on trips, and improved concentration at work.
What is CHIC?
CHIC is a program supported by a range of institutions, including the Canton of Vaud, EPFL College of Humanities, and HEC Lausanne. The program was set up by Marc Laperrouza, Part-Time Lecturer at HEC Lausanne and Scientific Collaborator at EPFL. It aims to move from an idea to the actual creation of a connected object, in 30 days of work. The teams, whose members have complementary skills (future engineers, industrial designers, economists and computer scientists), work together to design prototypes. During the program, a trip to China (Hong Kong and Shenzen), gives them the opportunity to manufacture a limited series. A smart dustbin and a smart device to measure the quantity of water in a well in countries in the South are among examples of connected objects produced by the students in previous years.
Projects combining fun and practicality
This year, three students of the Master in Information Systems are taking part in CHIC: Sandra Ueberlhart, Victor Dietrich and Estelle Geneux. They are members of the following teams:
- The ‘Flowlin’ team (Sandra Uebelhart) ideated a smart object which enables users to stay focused at work, avoiding interruptions from colleagues and other sources of distraction (such as smartphone applications) which reduce productivity.
- The ‘Fluid’ team (Victor Dietrich) is designing Seeki, a connected object for young children that is aimed at adults. A clip attached to the children’s clothing enables an adult leader to manage a small group of children. Its purpose is to enable optimized quality and attention during school trips.
- The ‘Toygether’ team (Estelle Geneux) is developing a connected plush toy for children. The project concept is that the toy is connected to the parents’ smartphones, so that that parents and children can interact and play together, even when the parent is away.
“I am delighted to see that the teams have reached an advanced stage in the development of their projects. This is a testament to the enormous amount of work they have done in advance, during the team ideation and the prototyping phases.” said Marc Laperrouza.
Departure for China
The student teams are in China from July 9th to 26th to finalize their projects. This is the time to test the technical functionality of their objects and to adapt them to the needs of the Chinese market, working with Artop, a major Chinese industrial design company. They will have the opportunity to pitch their projects to incubators (HAX and BRINC) and to present them at the inauguration of the Sino-Swiss Platform in Shenzhen on July 17th. As is the case every year, there will be company visits (to Huawei and Tencent) as part of the program, as well as immersion in the two megacities.
“This year, the HEC Lausanne students will be called on to exercise their respective skills. They will need, among other things, to consider the mass manufacturing stage and the options to follow on their return from China.” added Marc Laperrouza.
A high point for CHIC will be the presentation of the products to the public by the students at a DemoDay at ECAL on September 28th and the MassChallenge in December 2018. We wish them every success with their projects and a great trip to China.
par Myriam Bango-Lepage (Faculté des HEC)