Judging day #1 and touring Aalto University!
We got off to an early start this morning in Helsinki! Breakfast opened at 7am and we were among the first people to eat. Before having to be in the exhibition hall at 10 am, we visited a market across the street. There, they sold lots of local food including MUSHROOMS and many homemade souvenirs. After the market, we headed over to the exhibition hall and grabbed seats for the opening ceremony.
The opening ceremony was hosted by a Finnish hip hop musician named Axl Smith and it featured guest speakers from all across Finland and Europe. Some of the guest speakers included Thomas Wilhelmsson (Rector of Helsinki University), Máire Geoghegan-Quinn (European Commissioner for Research Innovation and Science), Gilles Laroche from EC DG Research, and Pekka Pellinen (the EUCYS National Host). The opening ceremony ended with sound laborant Miro Mantere who made unique sounds from everyday science equipment like a beaker or test tubes.
Immediately following the conclusion of the opening ceremony, all contestants entered in the fair took a group picture followed by some lunch, and then off to judging it was!The judging was really fun and all the judges were so friendly! After judging, everyone got bussed to Aalto University where we sat down for a presentation about patents in Europe. Dinner was served after the presentation and then all the contestants were split up into groups for the design challenge at the Design Lab in Aalto University.
In the design challenge, each group had to prototype an idea that solved a problem. There were four main tasks to choose from, and each one had a list of problems in the task to fix. My group, called Aquasun, chose a task and problem that dealt with fixing water deficits in the world. We ended up building a machine that takes humidity out of the air and converts that into water to be used for various other things. As you can tell, none of the prototypes had to work, they just had to be an idea of something that could possibly be a solution in the future. After an hour of designing and building our prototype, we headed back to the hotel to get some sleep for the next day of excitement!