Innovation Project (2 Credits | Spring | BSc)
The Innovation Project is an annual project-based engineering design course, where the students conceive, design, manufacture, test and operate a technical system. The students learn about dependencies between design and production, the importance of testing and validation, and how to deal with limited resources. Link to VVZ
Innovation Project 2017
More than just a normal course
As in the previous years, our Mechanical Engineering bachelor students are currently giving proof of their design skills. In the Innovation Project the students work in teams and run through an entire product development process. What starts as a challenge turns into an idea, becomes a solution and finally develops into a fully functioning system.
The Innovation Project is no typical seminar; hence the methods of product development are not conveyed in a typical way either; rather they are implemented hands-on right from the start.
The challenge 2017
The Innovation Project typically starts with a realistic yet fictive development challenge. This year, the background story is about conducting research on an asteroid during its fly-by along our planet. What is urgently needed is therefore a robot that can move and operate on the asteroid surface for collecting valuable soil samples, as well as placing a team flag on the asteroid surface to tell extraterrestrial life about mankind. Moreover, the students’ systems may collect an energy package to extend their operating time.
It lies with the students to structure their development-challenge and to generate and evaluate ideas. They plan, design, and produce their technical system, which they will later produce and operate. This way the students gain thorough insight into the codependence of design and production, the importance of iteration cycles as well as of frequent testing and prototyping.
Agile Development and pd|z Principles
This year's Innovation Project follows the idea of agile development. Integrating elements from scrum and kanban into their work, the teams work in biweekly sprint cycles at the end of which they present their interim-results.
Student colleagues from more advanced semester coach the Innovation Project participants in their work; for this they are specifically trained in the Coaching of Design Teams. With the help of the pd|z Principles for Product Development, the coaches guide the students through the sprints and iterations of the agile product development process. Behind the Principles as a success factor, lie several carefully selected practices for the advancement of teams in creative development processes, elaborated through research by the pd|z.
The grand touch-down this year takes place on Tuesday 30st May. This day's Innovation Contest is where the teams present their final product and where the systems compete against each other. Performance, technical implementation and innovation are at the focus of attention here.
We kindly invite you to join us at this event where mechatronics, construction and production come together and where students turn ideas into reality.
On May 30st at 10-12am in the Main Hall of the ETH Main Building.
Innovation Project 2016: Watch the official aftermovie
In 2016, the background story is that of a shipwreck, which has left valuable treasures at the bottom of the ocean. What is needed is a solution that can operate from a submarine and collect valuables such as rum bottles, treasure chests, pearl necklaces and coins and store them. All of this happens in a fictive setting of a sensitive ocean bed with corals; hence the teams have to operate their systems so that these are not tipped, touched or damaged in any way. This means that the students are expected to design a mechanism, which can collect and salvage items without impairing the underlying surface.
Innovation Project 2015: Watch the official aftermovie!
In 2015, the teams had to design a robot which can climb up a “burning” seven story building. The robots have to rescue people, evacuate barrels and distinguish fire by entering the building through the windows. Some of the windows are closed by a shutter or a windowpane. Therefore, the robot must be able to open the windowpane or break through the shutters. The robots of 90 student teams competed in a challenge. Each robot had 5 minutes time to prove its performance. The robots earned points, depending on position and type of the evacuated objects. The students contributed with a wide variety of solutions to tackle the assigned task, once again proving that the most successful solution isn't always the obvious one.
Innovation Project 2014: Watch the official video!
In 2014, the teams had to design a system that is able to transport different goods, namely sheep, air cargo, and melons. The course consisted of five islands arranged in a regular pentagon. Each island featured a beach and a volcano. Five teams competed in parallel. The team that was able to deliver the most of the three types of goods to every volcano was the winner.
Innovation Project 2013: Mountain Ropeway
In 2013 students designed mountain ropeway systems that were able to lift building materials from the mountain landscape. The systems had to hoist and carry as many materials as possible and unload them at the upper station.