UnternehmerTUM – Our weekend at #techfestmunich
When you think about an event which is mainly set out for technology enthusiasts who spend 3 days without much sleep (although there was a small room full of air mattresses and sleeping bags), you will probably imagine something like a teenage LAN party.
However, Techfest (which did resemble those LAN parties in many different ways), was something completely different. In just three days, the participants, who formed into small workspace groups, managed to redefine the art of technology. They came from all different areas of science, e.g. microbiology, engineering, fashion, and of course, computer science. There were a few projects that were naturally dear to our hearts: a group of biologists teamed up with a couple of micro-chip specialists and created a first-class gin out of cheap supermarket liquor. How did they do this, one might ask. In all honesty, we merely understood parts of its complex procedure. But basically, everything started with a few bottles of Korn, cabbages, other vegetables and junipers to recreate the specific taste of gin. This mix then got distilled in a little microchip (pictures below) which regulated the temperature at a gentle range to ensure non of the flavors get denatured by overheating. The result was tasty, I can assure you!
Here’s another one: a team of microbiologists from Georgia befriended two adorable hackers. And together they automized a high-tech procedure that allows young researchers to train viruses to kill certain types of bacteria, like those that make your nose run during winter. Nowadays, antibiotics are being fed to animals due to mass production of cheap meat. As a result, our medication no longer works resulting from the overdosage of penicillin leading to growing resistance of various bacterias. So the bacterias happily carry on spreading. Therefore, with their trained viruses, hopefully we will have the chance to let those work for us to heal our diseases. Where’s the Nobel Prize?
In the field of smart fashion, there was a lot going on. The lovely team of Hugo Boss had an entire section of the workspace area that provided young developers with garments to create prototypes to show us the future of fashion. One team showed us that most of the fabrication can be done just by computers. And another had a program that transfers pictures into an embroidery-machine which then sews that very motive onto fabrics. Thus, it enables a much quicker process compared to hour-long hand-made labor.
But it’s not just about saving time in style. Many of the projects had simple intentions that are not so simple to realize: to help people. One of the sponsors of Techfest was Osram, the multinational lightening manufacturer, so naturally, there was a whole section dealing with lights and how to use them in a way to make our lives a little better. Take for example, a young team that wanted to help the visually impaired by using light and analyzing the data coming from its reflection to measure space. Through an interface, this data can be transferred into another perceptional sense: haptic. Instead of seeing a room, you can feel it via electrodes that are integrated into garments. Well that’s smart, isn’t it?