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Textile revolutionaries, public health healer, and lots more

Members of the Aalto community presented the achievements with big impact

The first decennial celebration of Aalto University is getting closer and therefore it is an appropriate time to get an independent view on how the objectives marked back in 2010 have been achieved. The assessment was carried out in August by a team of 45 international top-level specialists who represent the different fields of the university.

Vice President Tuija Pulkkinen.

‘The Design Factory is like a mini version of Aalto,’ the head of the Design Factory, Professor Kalevi Ekman, told the crowd. He was pleased that their learning model has spread from Otaniemi to more than twenty locations around the world.

‘We have the full spectrum of knowledge and skills here today, which is what we wanted, because this is Aalto,’ summarized Tuija Pulkkinen, Vice President of Research and Innovation.

Jaan Praks.

Collaboration, ambition and a dash of the Finnish sisu – stoic determination even in the toughest conditions – are the ingredients that made, for example, the Aalto-1 satellite a success. During the evening Professor Jaan Praks shared the exciting voyage, which began as a student project and, within ten years, has made Finland a space nation. Nanosatellites have created new, growing business; for example, there has been global interest in Iceye radio satellites, which got their start in the Aalto-1 project.

International trends were also central for Professor Perttu Hämäläinen’s research group’s Augmented Climbing Wall. More than 100 million people have seen their video on their climbing wall, which combines an ordinary wall with a giant touch screen that brings game elements, new routes and extra challenges -- to encourage people to move.

‘My motivation is to improve people’s health,’ Hämäläinen emphasized.  

The Ioncell team has also striven to make impact with their ecological alternative to the growing textile market. The Ioncell method, developed under Professor Herbert Sixta, creates soft yet strong textile fibers from pulp, recycled cardboard and fabric waste.

‘From the beginning the key to our work has been collaboration between different fields,’ says Pirjo Kääriäinen, Professor of Practice for design-driven fibre innovation.

Over 50 projects touching economics, technology and arts were presented during the RAI Impact Night at the Design Factory.

From the left: Head of the Department of Art, Professor Kevin Tavin, panelist Paul Gough, Professor Mira Kallio-Tavin and Professor Martti Raevaara.

From the left: Chair of engineering panel Kamal Saraband, Professor Antti Räisänen and Head of the Department of Electronics and Nanoengineering, Professor Jussi Ryynänen.

Photos: Mikko Raskinen / Aalto University
Read also: Soon 10 years since founding – 45 international specialists to assess the development of Aalto University

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