Tinkering with No Limit

Tinkering with No Limit

Again this year there was tinkering, developing and bolting. The participants in the eleventh round of the competition “Creative Minds”, in the last few months have once again built a number of innovative prototypes, which were awarded now.

This well-received competition invites students to participate, and seeks to put into practice innovative ideas in the fields of science, technology, computer science or mathematics. A record-breaking 114 ideas were submitted this year, with 25 having been admitted by the jury. The students then had until the jury session in April to transfer their ideas into a concrete prototype, together with supporters from reputable local companies, such as BARTEC. Together with Iris Lange-Schmalz, who led the competition, the jury chairman Prof. Dietmar Hilpert could now distinguish the best ideas. The overall victory was for an iron that automatically shuts itself off. 2nd place went to the inventor of a feather-light trombone stand, coming not even to 850 grams in total weight, which also can be stored in the horn. The development of a kettle that heats up water to exactly the desired degree received 3rd place.

In addition to the overall winners, awards were also given for technical realization, innovation and creativity, conservation of resources, and marketability. For example, four students were able to pocket the first prize for skillful technical realization: Along with BARTEC experts the 14-year-old Deutschorden-Gymnasium school girls cleverly developed a simple music box incorporating their lullabies for children. The trigger for this idea was a restless night one of the students had taking care of her little cousin. The idea was then to develop a device that parents could turn on in the evening, such that it would play a tune as soon as the baby started crying at night. “I’m always surprised at what ideas the students come up with,” said Ralf Lanig, an expert from BARTEC’s development wing. The supporters from BARTEC gave the students tips in meetings with them, to refine and expand the projects. However it is also important that the students themselves organize things to a degree, taking on their own tasks with regard to implementation. Thus the music box was fitted with the required components in the form of a teddy bear. It was a kit, consisting of a transmitter and receiver, which equipped the music box with the melody and a sensor. The transmitter responds to a specific frequency and then reports this to the receiver, which plays the melody. This was set according to a certain time, such that it turns off by itself, and then commences to run again if the frequency, the crying of a baby, is still present. “The students tinker without limit and it’s fun to experience this, to encourage their creativity,” said Lanig. Seeing their big grins when they have their prototype in hand at the end is a great feeling.

For BARTEC the competition is a great way to support students in the region. The world leader in explosion protection sees this young talent as an important building block in light of current conditions, to ensure the future viability of Germany as a centre for technology, and to increase the attractiveness of the region in terms of employment opportunities.