The concepts of climate change, digitalization and a shortage of skilled workers are currently being addressed by young people who glue themselves to the streets for publicity, or they are chewed up like chewing gum in never-ending talk shows. The concrete actions to address these issues in a substantial way, however, are in massive contrast to this in terms of number and media impact. That’s why ITQ GmbH CEO and Engineer Dr. Rainer Stetter has been gathering Young Talents, Professors, and Companies around him for years to tackle concrete, though small, steps in a Make Marathon.
With the aim of making over 600 interested participants from 29 countries came together on the Spanish Island of Gran Canaria for the 6. SMART GREEN ISLAND MAKEATHON in early March. For four days, they enthusiastically worked on technical projects to shape a sustainable future and advance digital progress worldwide. Sponsors and partners of the MAKEATHON include national and international Companies, Universities, and Educational Institutions from Germany and Spain, as well as the President of the Island’s Government, Antonio Morales.
ITQ GmbH placed particular emphasis on addressing all generations equally for the topics of “Digital Education and Sustainability”. Thus, in addition to the SMART GREEN ISLAND MAKEATHON, with over 360 Students, Professors, Sponsors and Representatives of international institutions, there were three other workshop programs that inspired children and young people with simple to learn Technology and Programming. Around 200 students between the ages of 6 and 18 were able to gain their first experience building small Mechanical Cleaning Robots, Programming LEGO Mindstorms, Cobot Panda Robots, and 3D Printing.
Impressions of the Smart Green Island Makeathon 2023
In total, this year’s SMART GREEN ISLAND MAKEATHON was supported by 25 sponsors. Special thanks go to the Platinum Sponsors such as B&R Industrial Automation, Murrelektronik, igus, Beckhoff Automation, the Gold Sponsors Cabildo de Gran Canaria, Spegc, Fundacion Sergio Alonso, Vishay, Lorenz, MathWorks and the Silver Sponsors TRUMPF, OPTIMA, AGCO/Fendt, Honda R&D Europe, MVTec, Gruppo ASA, Packaging Valley.
The Sponsors gave so-called Industry Challenges, which the participants turned in 24 interdisziplinary teams into prototypes. The Industry Challenges of the Platinum Sponsors were very popular among the participants:
B&R Industrial Automation supported its teams on the topic of garbage upcycling. The teams developed initial prototypes for processing PET bottles, e.g., into filament for 3D printers.
The Beckhoff Automation teams reworked concepts for waste disposal from the oceans using image processing systems and for better control of “floating waste collection.”
Igus brought along a challenge on the topic of seaweed and its ecological benefits. The teams developed prototypes consisting of lightweight robots with cobot function that recognize seaweed on the beach, collect it and separate it from impurities.
Murrelektronik’s challenge was all about safer workplaces and workflows. The teams developed initial systems to make it easier for workers to carry loads in the warehouse or on the assembly line, for example.
In addition to these innovative ideas, the MAKEATHON offers a novel recruiting platform for all participants to network and get to know industry-leading companies. In this way, ITQ GmbH would like to counteract the shortage of skilled workers.