That is precisely why Teruyuku “Teru” Yamasaki registered for ETH Week. The biology student from Japan is at ETH Zurich for one semester. He wants to learn more about the technologies and was impressed in particular by the Cybathlon experts.
Finding feasible new solutions
“It was difficult to find an entirely new approach that's actually viable,” Luana Schena says. The geography student is in the fifth semester of her Bachelor's degree and is almost blind due to an eye disease. Her team – team 3, “Eye of Providence” – also decided to sketch out a solution to Schena's real problems. They developed an idea for a smart navigation device that can help blind people find their way around unknown buildings such as hospitals. Mazda Farshad, medical director at Balgrist University Hospital, was impressed by the presentation on the final day: “Our hospital has repeatedly considered developing a solution like this not only for blind people, but for everyone living with an impairment.”
The closing event on Friday at Hönggerberg brought home how worthwhile all the discussions and effort of the preceding days had been. After the teams received additional input on their ideas from experts on Thursday, they presented their projects in creative ways – without PowerPoint – to the expert juries and other teams to great applause.
Cheers for presentations and new friends
Rector Sarah Springman, patron of ETH Week, and Julia Dannath-Schuh, ETH Vice President for Personnel Development and Leadership, then jointly announced the winning teams. The jury award for the Balgrist teams went to team 3, “Eye of Providence”; at Hönggerberg, it went to team 12, “Shi-er sharks”, which wants to improve hospital hygiene using a fluorescent disinfectant. Both received a saucepan with ingredients for a team evening. Team 15, “Peace & Love”, designed a protective tent made of innovative materials for panic attacks, winning the overall peer-to-peer award for both locations. The team can look forward to a yoga class and brunch together. Team 4, “No Pressure”, came in second with its app for personalised, holistic medicine, and similarly can look forward to the now-traditional saucepan.
All the participants went home with new ideas and interdisciplinary contacts after what was, in Rittiner's words, a “super long and intensive week”. Exchange student Teru enthuses: “I met so many people in such a short time.” And Heitmayer says: “I'm thinking of participating again next year.”