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The Protocamp course successfully completed company assignments

The students got to realise a prototype project from start to finish.
One of the Futurice teams designed microphones and a machine vision camera for a humanoid robot with 3D modelling software.

During the summer, the students focused on projects that combine the physical world and software, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), sensors and robots.

'After the course, the students know how to design an industrial project and implement it as a group together with company representatives. At the same time, the students have an opportunity to creatively apply their own expertise. The aim is to learn about combining electronics, programming and data transmission as well as collecting and analysing data and making it available,' says Kimmo Silvonen, one of the two teachers responsible for the Protocamp (Protopaja) course.

The companies offered distinct challenges and active mentoring

The participating companies included Consair, Ensto, Futurice, Helvar, Parkkisähkö, Planmeca, Sick and Vaisala, and Futurice offered the students three challenges to address.

Anniina Leggat, Ismael Omar, Joonatan Mäkinen, Petteri Heinonen and Tanweer Chandry formed one of the teams that worked for Futurice. In their project, they developed an interactive EVA (Enhanced Visual and Auditory System) humanoid robot because communication between people and robots will continue to increase in the future. EVA is an InMoov robot that is based on open source code. The team designed the parts and also added microphones and a machine vision camera.

'Our team was multidisciplinary and international, and each member could bring different skills to the project,' says project manager Anniina Leggat, a student of industrial design at Aalto ARTS.

Tuukka Rouhiainen, Antti Paavola, Reino Kinner and Severi Casserly developed a prototype for Parkkisähkö. They demonstrated OCCP protocol for communication between the charging stations and switchboards. The protocol enables communication between equipment from different manufacturers.

'The original challenge presented by Parkkisähkö seemed quite simple. So it was great how we could fine-tune the assignment during the first two weeks and make it more challenging and worthwhile for all of the parties,' commented the team. 'Cooperation with the company was very straightforward from the beginning of the course to the end.' The Parkkisähkö team included four students: one from information technology, one from automation and systems technology, one from energy technology and one from computer science.

The teachers responsible for the course, Kimmo Silvonen and Timo Oksanen, thanked their excellent course assistants, Juha Biström, Emil Fihlman and Aleksi Turunen, at the Protocamp summer course's final event on 24 August at the TUAS building. In practice, the assistants directed the 10-credit course that lasted for 10 weeks.

'In addition to the course assistants, I would like to extend my warmest thanks to the companies without which this course would not have been possible. We hope that you will join us again next summer and give us feedback on how to improve our work,' said Kimmo Silvonen.

The Protocamp summer course was organised for the second time at the School of Electrical Engineering. The first course took place in summer 2016. The course was open to all students at Aalto, and it was suitable for both Bachelor and Master students as an elective course. Good programming and prototyping skills were required.

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