Engineering is far less popular among young people than, for instance, media professions. As a consequence, media and communication degree programs are overcrowded while engineering programs are much less in vogue. From this, the question arises how to make the technological branches more attractive to students.
For more than ten years, ITQ has been arranging “fun-with-learning” programs together with students, in order to convey high-tech concepts in a playful way and offer young people completely new gateways into technological subjects. Part of the ITQ mission is to use high-tech toys to attract new blood and to use those projects to make the engineering degree programs more varied and thus more interesting.
In 2014, based on an interdisciplinary and international team of students, the family brand Mi5 was established. Now, over 100 motivated students from several fields, several nations, and several national and international universities have participated in Mi5 projects.
From the Cloud to the Personalized Power Bank
The smart4i Demonstrator makes industrie 4.0 tangible and proves that manufacturing processes can be made industrie-4.0 compatible by efficient use and combination or technological components. By means of the smart4i Demonstrator, customers have the option of ordering an individualized power bank. Color, wrapper and label can be adapted to the customer’s personal preferences and wishes.
Your order is immediately processed by the demonstrator and the parameters relayed to the modules. The distinctive feature is the consistent crosslinking from the cloud to the field devices, which is ensured at all times by unified interfaces (OPC UA) and information models. The smart4i Demonstrator was implemented in only 36 weeks by an interdisciplinary and international team of 36 students in cooperation with industry partners.
Smart Airhockey Demonstrator
Artificial Intelligence through Machine Learning
The new AMK Air Hockey Demonstrator is intended to show the connection between IoT and automated drive components. The Air Hockey Demonstrator was developed in close collaboration with our partner AMK Group as well as the Hochschule Aalen.
The goal is to expand the supply of demonstrators related to IoT and automation and by that to visualize the already existing ubiquity of IoT in everyday life. Regarding the software components, there is a user interface panel, a controller, a puck detector, a puck positioner, puck collector, puck gatherer, and a support system.
Furthermore, the system is controlled using a complete PLC simulation and AMK drive components. The first demonstration was done during the SPS IPC Drives 2017 in Nuremberg, where visitors could challenge an AI player.
An interdisciplinary team of 20 highly motivated students from different fields – e.g. mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, computer science – and from different nations – among them Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Tunisia, and China – have carried out the project “Showcase MI5” together with partners from industry, research, and education.
MI5 stands for “mechatronic, ideal-typical engineering” fulfilling the following 5 i’s: innovative, interdisciplinary, incremental and iterative. This “engineering demonstration plant” was built virtually and as a real machine, and presented for the first time in 2014 at the trade fair SPS IPC Drives. It also visualizes the concrete individual steps of the engineering.
Who doesn’t dream of always hitting bullseye? That is possible with the High-Speed Dartboard. A dartboard of 450 grams is accelerated with 12 times Earth gravity (g) and decelerated with 30 g, resulting in a movement of up to 50 cm in 100 ms.
In order to make the dartboard not just move quickly, but move to the right position, the dart, which typically stays in the air for 300 ms, is tracked and traced during the first 100 ms, then, from this information, the impact spot is predicted and the traverse coordinates calculated. If you want to feel like “always” achieving your goal, you can experience that at our facility in Garching.
State of the Art Loom
To weave sounds – yes, you have read correctly. In this project, a state-of-the-art loom with up to 600 woofs per minute has been remodeled to allow changes of the weaving pattern on the fly, that is, at full production speed. Full production speed means that a thread thinner than a typical human hair is accelerated to a speed of 290 km/h in less than 100 ms.
The thread suffers an acceleration of 1,800 g, and 1 km thread is run in per minute. In order to allow visitors to experience the flexibility of production, the loom was coupled with an oversize keyboard. Each key is assigned a specific thread color and a specific weaving pattern, so a tune played on the keyboard is immediately translated into a texture. So, using this plant, you can literally weave sounds.
Racing Track for Single Children
Modified Slot-Car Racing Track
The task of the student team was to modify a slot-car racing track in a way that you can compete in a race against a computer – making the system suitable for single children – and lap times and high scores can be visualized. To allow the computer opponent to brake before curves and constrictions, position and speed of the vehicle must be measured.
For this, the track – on a length of 6.4 m per lane – was equipped with 104 sensors in total. Miniature fork light barriers detect whether the vehicle’s fin passes the sensor. As you can see from the technological data, the basic requirement, which sounds playful at the first moment, quickly turns into a manifest mechatronic challenge.
Pinball with Brains
Pinball Machine with Intelligent Control
The development of a pinball machine with intelligent control was the task of a student team at the Universität Erlangen. The 10-headed team had to manage the problem themselves, find sponsors, and develop hardware and software.
Besides expertise in the areas of mechanics, drive technology, image processing and visualization, especially marketing and project-management know-how were needed. Exclusively components built by the project sponsor Siemens were used.