10 innovative tech projects from Polish student worth following
From international programming contests, through Mars rovers, solar cars, innovative smart devices and robots – Polish university students take their knowledge and innovation to the world of technology and startc-ups. Get familiar with 10 great examples of tech innovation from Polish students that may or are already turning into start-ups
Who said that you first have to graduate to do start-ups and be innovative? You can very well do that before or during your university years. Especially when you have the skills and drive. Like some of Polish university students that gain recognition as engineers, entrepreneurs or downright pioneers. Here is our recap of some of the most impressive achievements from Polish students.
Face Controller: User interface controlled by face motions
Back in 2014 students from the Rzeszow University of Technology won the national eliminations for the Imagine Cup – a contest held every year by Microsoft to find new innovative tech projects. Theirs was called Face Controller – Microsoft's Kinect-based system that allows for issuing commands to the computer using mimics and sounds. Face Controller is meant especially for the handicapped. Even though they didn't win the finals, Face Controller is still doing great, as assured by Norbert Pisz from Risenbit – a start-up founded around this project:
- We've spent the last month developing our young company. We have acquired a few clients and done a few projects that ensured our stability. We acquired funding are currently working on Face Controller 2.0. We're polishing the concept based on opinions and reviews of the handicapped we're cooperating with. The final version will be available sometime early next year. We hope it will impress even more than the previous one.
Bandbarian: Stay fit... playing games
The year 2015 brought another edition of the Imagine Cup and, you guessed, another unique project from Polish students. This time it's Bandbarian – a one of its kind video game with the purpose to help you stay fit. How does it work? In Bandbarian, you control a warrior that needs to get stronger. But in order to do so, you have to actually train yourself wearing the Fitbit wristband capable of tracking steps, distance, calories etc. The game follows your results through Fitbit – this way both you and your character make progress at the same time. It's a whole new level of gamification – the idea of using concepts typical for video games to improve experiences not directly related to gaming. Microsoft Poland's Rafał Albin noticed business potential of Bandbarian a few months ago:
“We noticed the commercial potential of the team from Łódź during the national contest. It combines emotions characteristic of video games while allowing to stay fit at the same time.”
Cervi Robotics: Bringing drones to the city landscape
Cervi Robotics is a company that originated from students of the University of Information Technology and Management in Rzeszów. Cervi's goal is to make drones an important part of our lives by bringing their benefits to every area possible. Aside of their prowess for delivery purposes, drones may be successfully applied to prevent fires or poaching as they watch over large areas. Drones are capable of flying autonomously and processing bulk of its data on-board.
Top Coder: Best programmers come from Poland
It's hardly news anymore for Polish students to succeed in programming contests. A whole bunch of them bring medals from the most prestigious tournaments worldwide – most recently from a TopCoder event. With over 200 thousand members from all over the world, TopCoder is one of the most important organizations for programmers. They hold online tournaments in which programmers can prove their skills and earn money or even land great jobs in the process. TopCoder Open (TCO) is a major contest that takes a whole year and ends with a live event. During the 2014 edition, Poles got two out of six prizes – Łukasz Sentkiewicz (nicknamed Sky_) won the “Development” category, while Przemysław Dębiak got the “Data Science” trophy. Sentkiewicz repeated his success in the 2015 edition.
Rover Team: Mars Rover from Poland
We have recently written a larger article on the space industry in Poland, hinting on the plans of building the very first Polish satellite. While it's still a matter of years rather than months, we can at least already inform about the space engineering success of Polish students during the University Rover Challenge in May. The contest is held in Utah and concerns space and satellite technologies. The Polish team called “Legendarny Rover Team” from the Rzeszow University of Technology triumphed in the “Mars Rover” category. Furthermore, another Polish team, “Scorpio” from the Wroclaw University of Technology, finished 3rd. The sandy landscape of Utah was an occasion to test their constructions in conditions similar to those that can be found on Mars. Mars Rovers such as those built by Polish students are capable of traversing the Mars territory in extreme weather conditions, collecting material for analysis and observing the surrounding in search of evidence of life on the planet. Interestingly, only two weeks later another group of Polish students won another space tournament – the Canast Competition in Texas. This time, they built a space probe and they performed a highly rated simulation of landing on the surface of a planet.
PW-Sat: In spare time...they're building satellites
Even though Poland is still waiting for its first full-fledged artificial satellite, Polish students have already launched into space one of their own. Its name was PW-Sat 1 and it's a pride of the Faculty of Power and Aeronautical Engineering of the University of Warsaw developed in cooperation with the Polish Academy of Science. PW-Sat 1's mission was to test experimental solar cells of elastic properties (photovoltaics area). Students of the University of Warsaw are currently working on PW-Sat 2, a much bigger successor to the first Polish artificial satellite. They are looking to acquire 1 million zlotys (around $ 0,25 million) to launch the satellite later this year.
Tech No Logic: Air-powered vehicle from Bialystok
How do you like the idea of an air-powered car? In the context of casual everyday driving, it's still a melody of the future – contemporary pneumobils can cover the distance of a few kilometers using compressed air. The Aventics Pneumobil contest, which took place in May this year in Hungary, is an occasion to further this concept. Seven Polish teams developed their projects and took part in the race. The most remarkable one was the Tech No Logic team from the University of Bialystok, which won the “Film” category organized prior to the main event. See their entry below:
This video is a promotional movie of the Tech No Logic team that took part in the pneumobil race in Hungary. It shows the members of the team working on their vehicle. During the first part, the team members can be seen wearing doctor clothes, seemingly performing an „operation” on their vehicle. This video won he „film” contest that took place before the race.
Lodz Solar Team: Poland and the World Solar Challenge
Solar cars seem to be closer to full commercial use than air-powered cars. The usage of energy that comes from the sun may soon establish itself among the most important energy sources as research of start-ups such as the Polish Saule Technologies continues. In the meantime, the World Solar Challenge is a good opportunity to see fully solar-powered cars in action. Polish students from the University of Łódź, the Lodz Solar Team, managed to crowdfund over 16 thousand zlotys (over $ four thousand) to finance the construction of their solar car through PolakPotrafi (Polish equivalent of Kickstarter). Their vehicle has a unique design and a total of 6 square meters of photovoltaic fibers to acquire solar energy on the move as each vehicle will commence the race with energy insufficient to make it through the whole race.
The World Solar Challenge takes place on 18-25 October 2015 in Australia. The vehicles will cover about 3000 kilometers from Darwin to Adelaide.
EZI-hand: Universal hand prosthesis
The cost of professional hand prosthesis may be anywhere from $ 5-10 thousand to even several thousand dollars. But it may not be the case in the future as long as students from the EZI science circle of the Wroclaw University of Technology find a way to commercialize their invention – the EZI-hand. It's a hand prosthesis that uses myoelectric signals that come from contraction of muscles in the forearm. EZI-hand eliminates the need to prepare a prosthesis for each individual separately. It's all thanks to an accompanying Android-based app that can be used to calibrate the strength of the signal for each finger. This means that EZI-hand may potentially be mass-produced and adjusted to each user later thanks to the app. The team still works on bringing their project to the market. Watch the video below to see EZI-hand in action:
Promotional video for the EZI-hand project. It shows how the hand moves by itself and how it can be manipulated with the mobile app.
uBirds: World's first smartwatch strap
The smartwatch popularity has been on the rise lately as even Apple decided to come up with its own Apple Watch. But uBirds' approach to smartwatches is quite unique. This Polish start-ups developed the very first smart handmade watch strap called “Unique”. This strap can be connected to just about any watch and it provides features similar to smart wristbands such as step, distance and calorie count. It also vibrates to let you know of smartphone notifications. With uBirds, you can connect any watch of your choosing (even mechanical!) to the strap and the result will be a fully functional device that works much like a smartwatch. You no longer have to rely on actual smartwatches that are often expensive and not particularly beautiful. The strap is compatible with Android and iOS and includes a mobile app to manage its features.
uBirds started as a project from two students of the Warsaw University of Technology – Paweł Karczewski and Patryk Lamprecht. Currently, the creators are searching for investors that would make it possible to mass produce their invention. See the promo below.
Promotional movie for the Ubirds handmade smart watch band, The video goes on to explain how the band called „unique” can be used. You can upload your credit or travel cars to the band or use it to track distance of calories. It also recognizes gestures so you can use it to inform the caller that you're busy. Unique will also notify you when you move away from your smartphone – this way you will never lose it again. Unique also supports mobile payments, You can also let others track your location.
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