CHIC: the connected objects produced by the students will be presented at the ECAL DemoDay
The 4th China Hardware Innovation Camp (CHIC) educational project began almost a year ago and the various teams – made up of students from HEC Lausanne (UNIL), EPFL and ECAL – flew to China in July. Their aim was to produce prototypes of the connected objects they had already worked on together. The public will have the opportunity to find out more at the ECAL DemoDay on 28 September. A look back at the highlights of the trip to China and the various lessons our students learned.
What is the CHIC?
The CHIC is a programme supported by various institutions, including the Canton of Vaud, the College of Humanities at EPFL and HEC Lausanne (UNIL). Launched by Marc Laperrouza, Part-Time Lecturer at HEC Lausanne and Scientific Collaborator at EPFL, the programme aims to take a connected object from the initial concept to a tangible item, after just 30 days’ work. The teams, made up of members with complementary skills (future engineers, designers, economists or computer scientists) work together on designing the prototypes. The programme includes a trip to China (Hong Kong and Shenzhen), which allows the various teams to produce their connected objects in small quantities.
One of the highlights of the CHIC is the opportunity for the students to unveil their achievements to the public at the DemoDay at ECAL on 28 September (at 12.30) and at the MassChallenge in early December.
News of the various projects
This year, three students from the Master’s in Information Systems (Sandra Ueberlhart, Victor Dietrich and Estelle Geneux) took part in the CHIC in the following three teams:
- The Flowlin team (Sandra Uebelhart) has come up with an intelligent object that helps people stay focused at work by avoiding interruptions from colleagues and other sources of distraction (such as smartphone applications), which have a negative effect on productivity. The trip to China allowed them to gather constructive feedback and suggestions for improvements: “We found that people agreed increased distraction at work was an issue, to which we can provide a solution with our Flowlin intelligent object” explained Sandra Uebelhart.
- The Fluid team (Victor Dietrich) has designed Seeki, a connected object for young children but aimed at adults. It consists of a clip attached to their clothes and helps any adult supervisor to manage a small group of children and above all, ensure the best possible level of quality and attention on school outings. The project was well received and even attracted a marketing proposal, however the team found that numerous objects with similar features were already widely available in Chinese households. It therefore decided not to pursue the development of the project.
- The Toygether team (Estelle Geneux) has developed a connected soft toy for children. The principle of the toy is that it is connected to their parents’ smartphone so that they can interact and play with each other, even if they are geographically a long way away. During their time in China, the team resolved a number of technological challenges linked to the presence of electronic components in a soft toy, and its sensory functionalities.
Now the three teams just need to present their projects to the public at the DemoDay (ECAL) and the MassChallenge. An experience that will allow them to meet a Swiss audience, this time: save the date if you are keen to meet the entrepreneurs of the future and preview the short film produced in China this year!
par Myriam Bango-Lepage (Faculté des HEC)