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Photonics brought to life at Make Light MAKEATHON

6th July 2017
Alice Matthews

LASER World of PHOTONICS, which took place from 27th to 28th June 2017, hosted the first Make Light MAKEATHON. 78 students and young engineers from five countries took part in the event. The talented youngsters developed a product from idea to prototype within 24 hours in the midst of the trade fair action. Messe München had already been the venue of Europe’s first Makeathon at the AUTOMATICA Robotics trade fair a year ago.

As the summit meeting of the photonics industry, LASER World of PHOTONICS at the Munich trade fair site was now a suitable platform for providing access to optical technologies to talented youngsters. The Make Light MAKEATHON saw 3D printers, laser cutters and programming boards being used to create a product from the optical technologies, robotics or automation arenas.

Many intrigued trade fair visitors made their way to the unveiling of the results. The eleven Makeathon teams had two and a half minutes to explain their projects. This was followed by questions from the jury of experts, including representatives of Mitsubishi, TRUMPF and Fraunhofer. The jury’s task was to provide the participants with feedback from an industrial and scientific perspective; prototype prizes were deliberately not awarded in a specific sequence - the community mindset took precedence over the competitive mindset.

The competition produced enthralling prototypes such as a 'human ping-pong'. This involved developing a 'playing area' that works with a combination of OHP and LED systems as the lines. The 'smog dog' went down equally well with the public and jury: the device, similar to a robotic lawnmower, uses optical sensors to detect and home in on air pollution or the smell of burning.

The prototypes developed by the students and young engineers testified to their capacity for innovation. The key photonics sector offers an optimal framework within which to communicate knowledge and enthusiasm for technology.

The Make Light MAKEATHON was staged in collaboration with the Make Light Initiative of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. ITQ and Conrad Electronic were the event organisers and partners.

Start-Up World as a showcase for young entrepreneurs
Just a few short metres from the Makeathon in hall B3, young entrepreneurs from both Germany and abroad had the opportunity to present their new developments at Start-Up World. Following a successful premiere at LASER World of PHOTONICS 2015, many startups again availed themselves of the opportunity to present their products live to the LASER World of PHOTONICS public.

With its extensive support and matchmaking programme, Start-Up World provided exhibitors, visitors and the press with an innovation marketplace extending well beyond the trade fair stand alone.

Start-Up World’s partner was Anwendungszentrum Oberpfaffenhofen.

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