Why this battle?
In the third module, first-year Creative Technology students follow the course ‘Living and Working Tomorrow’. They have to develop a concept for external clients. From ideation to tangible prototypes. Due to the corona crisis, we were unable to conclude the project in the usual way: a demo market and pitches in the Vrijhof. And you can't expect students to come up with prototypes in the current situation. Last week, each of the twenty groups presented their project in a ten-minute film. One brought me to tears of emotion, the other tears of laughter. This battle is meant for the best three projects. The winning team can increase their project grade by a full point, the other two teams get half a point. That's for the jury to decide.’
How did you manage to snare a Member of Parliament for the jury?
‘Through a question I asked on Twitter. After some less serious responses, a serious candidate suddenly came forward: Dennis Wiersma of the VVD. In Dutch politics he focuses on higher education, innovation and economics. On paper he's an excellent member of the jury. This also applies to other members of the jury, from our own programme director Alma Schaafstal to Marije Blok, innovation manager at the National Foundation for the Elderly.’
What is your goal with this battle?
‘For students it’s an extra form of appreciation for their work. They deserve a stage! And to the outside world, this is a business card for Creative Technology. The business community can see what CreaTe students have to offer and for online education this is hopefully also a business card. We invite everyone, and I mean everyone, to follow the battle tomorrow afternoon.’
Aren't you afraid of some kind of digital Project X?
‘I'm pretty sure it won’t be that bad. The battle takes place via BigBlueButton in Canvas and we honestly don't know yet how many people can be admitted. In any case, we ask that as many people as possible to not turn on their webcams, to avoid unnecessary noise. Fortunately, as moderators we can keep an eye on the video conference etiquette: the audience is on mute anyway, the same goes for those who aren't speaking. Whoever wants to speak has to raise their hand.’
What can spectators expect from the three finalists?
‘Starting with the students of Team Tortilla, who devised a concept for a robot chef for the German company Da Vinci Kitchen. The robot chef prepares culinary delights in a mobile kitchen. Their concept was well thought out down to the last detail. From the perception of customers to what happens when the machine runs amok.’
‘Feline Good, that's the name of the second project group, came up with something for a veterinary practice in Hengelo. Apparently cats get so stressed when they see dogs in a waiting room, that an appointment can better be cancelled straight away. The students came up with the idea for a dividing wall where you put cats in their carrier. Then the cats get a pleasant combination of music, smell and temperature, to keep them calm. Sounds weird, huh? As teachers we were very sceptical, but the vet and the students were able to convince us, including scientific evidence. Petty clever, if you can convince your teachers that they’re in the wrong.’
‘The third project is called EvenEten, conceived for care organization EvenMens. The great thing about this project is that these students did produce a prototype. In this case a website to link the elderly and students so they can eat together. The client immediately saw the added value in it. And I myself was crying with laughter because of their video. The acting is really brilliant!'
The battle starts this afternoon at 4pm.