Wristband developed in Protocamp course may prevent cot death
Students designed and built prototypes for businesses in the Protocamp workshop course organised for the third time. The tasks were assigned by business partners representing different fields, and they varied thematically from digitalisation and electric power technology to the construction sector and smart textiles.
Jani Kiviaura, Lauri Blomberg, Minh Nguyen, Ville Sinkkonen and Joel Määttänen produced a prototype for Futurice. Their task was to make a robotic arm, which could grab fragile objects firmly without breaking them.
‘We made several versions, but, for example, the five-fingered hand based on an already existing and open project could not bend its fingers as desired and therefore its grip did not hold firmly. Finally we ended up with a hand with three fingers, which can use force to break an object if necessary,’ says Blomberg while demonstrating with an egg how the robot’s gentle grip holds even when the egg is hanging upside down.
‘The cooperation with Futurice was interesting. We got ideas and suggestions for solving the problems we encountered, as well as a few parts, but otherwise they gave us freedom to construct the prototype’, another member of the group, Jani Kiviaura, says.
Beibamboo manufactures practical clothing for small children, such as premature babies. The company commissioned the students to produce a smart garment, which could, for example, help prevent cot death. Machine technology student Topias Tyni, design student Heidi Kulmala and student of bioinformation technology Liisa Seluska designed and built a wristband measuring, for instance, a child's heart rate for home and hospital use.
‘We managed to fit many functions in the wristband’, Kulmala says. ‘Sensors measure the child’s pulse, oxygen saturation and temperature in order to prevent cot death and seizures. The information sent to the mobile phone gives parents peace of mind.’
In addition, the wristband has audio features: if a child wakes up and starts waving his/her hand, the wristband plays soothing music. Since faces are of interest to young children, the case containing the sensors resembles a panda’s head, and it is also safe to put in the mouth. The team praises its collaboration with the company as fruitful: ‘We got many ideas and tips during the process.’
Open to all Aalto University students, the Protocamp workshop course is suitable for both bachelor’s and master's level students. Even the lack of programming skills does not prevent participation.
‘Most of the project work requires basic programming skills, but not all group members have to know programming. Moreover, you can learn programming in our courses with the help of assistants, starting from the very basics,’ Kimmo Silvonen, one of the teachers in charge of the course, says. The project work is documented and presented to the public at an event organised at the end of the course. The project work made for companies remains public, and course participants can use it in the future when searching for a job.
The participating companies were Tuxera, Futurice, Aboense, Granlund, Ensto, Consair, Safera, IML, ImageWear, Topper, Medanta, Beibamboo and ScanPoint.