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Make Light MAKEATHON brings photonics to life

July 5, 2017


On June 27 and 28, the world’s leading trade fair LASER World of PHOTONICS hosted the first Make Light MAKEATHON. 78 students and young engineers from five countries took part in the event. The talented youngsters developed a product from idea to prototype within 24 hours in the midst of the trade fair action.

Messe München had already been the venue of Europe’s first Makeathon at the AUTOMATICA Robotics trade fair a year ago. As the summit meeting of the photonics industry, LASER World of PHOTONICS at the Munich trade fair site was now the ideal platform for providing access to optical technologies to talented youngsters. The Make Light MAKEATHON saw 3-D printers, laser cutters and programming boards being used to create a product from the optical technologies, robotics or automation arenas.

Many intrigued trade fair visitors made their way to the unveiling of the results. The eleven Makeathon teams had two and a half minutes to explain their projects. This was followed by questions from the jury of experts, including representatives of Mitsubishi, TRUMPF and Fraunhofer. The jury’s task was to provide the participants with feedback from an industrial and scientific perspective; prototype prizes were deliberately not awarded in a specific sequence—the community mindset took precedence over the competitive mindset. The competition produced enthralling prototypes such as a “human ping-pong”. This involved developing a “playing area” that works with a combination of OHP and LED systems as the lines. The “smog dog” went down equally well with the public and jury: the device, similar to a robotic lawnmower, uses optical sensors to detect and home in on air pollution or the smell of burning.

The prototypes developed by the students and young engineers testified to their capacity for innovation. The key photonics sector offers an optimal framework within which to communicate knowledge and enthusiasm for technology.

The Make Light MAKEATHON was staged in collaboration with the Make Light Initiative of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. ITQ and Conrad Electronic were the event organizers and partners.

Start-Up World as a showcase for young entrepreneurs
Just a few short meters from the Makeathon in Hall B3, young entrepreneurs from both Germany and abroad had the opportunity to present their new developments at Start-Up World. Following a successful premiere at LASER World of PHOTONICS 2015, many start-ups again availed themselves of the opportunity to present their products live to the LASER World of PHOTONICS public.

With its extensive support and matchmaking program, Start-Up World provided exhibitors, visitors and the press with an innovation marketplace extending well beyond the trade fair stand alone.

Start-Up World’s partner was Anwendungszentrum Oberpfaffenhofen GmbH.

Photos and videos about the LASER World of PHOTONICS 2017 are available on the corresponding link in the marginal column of this page.