Quote of the Week:
”I feel so empty after CBI, what are we going to do with all the free time now?!”
When we first met with Team Fusion in September 2022, the prospect of presenting a completed project seemed like a distant utopia, posing a challenge to imagine the final outcome. As I write this blog post, I’m pleased to share that we have successfully completed all the final project deliverables. Not only did we present our research findings alongside design innovation to the Global Design Factory network, which had been our cornerstone for several months, but we also presented our endeavors at the University of Bologna in Italy as part of a student exhibition. Throughout the journey, we navigated a varying range of emotions shifting from joyous moments to instances of feeling overwhelmed, as well as from extended days of rigorous work to stress-free vacations. Over the course of eight months, we have supported each other through thick and thin, coming together as a close-knit community and cultivating robust friendships. Moreover, we have had an exceptional opportunity to create a unique technology-based design that is committed to supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and contributing to a better and safer global society.
Final Project Deliverables
The final weeks began in mid-May as we started finalizing the project materials. Although most of the work had already been done, we still had many unfinished tasks ahead. We divided them among the team to optimize our use of time by each of us taking responsibility for managing a task or two. The burdensome workload made us understand the importance of working together as a team rather than individually in a team, which made overcoming obstacles more effective. In addition, a proactive and open discussion environment promoted our team’s success in solving challenges that came up from time to time throughout the project. Even though design was at the center of this project, we also had the opportunity to hone our skills in project management, time management, decision-making, and communication. By the end of the CBI project, we had become proud authors of a white paper suitable for publication and were ready to step into the spotlight to showcase our masterpiece.
A product poster introducing Auriel and its transforming concept.
The CBI A3 program had now come to an end, and it was time to present our achievements to the Global Design Factory and the CBI A3 program partners. Given the global reach of the program network consisting of universities worldwide, we joined forces with Inno.Space students from Mannheim, Germany, to present our respective projects to the public. Due to the significant geographical distances between the teams, each group held their presentation remotely. In addition to fellow students, the event welcomed external participants, such as representatives from CERN IdeaSquare, physics and technology researchers, and participants from the ATTRACT technology community. Each team took turns presenting their innovative projects followed by the audience having an opportunity to ask questions. Even though we had rehearsed the performance a few times before the key moment, a mixture of anticipation and fear lingered among us, despite confidence and belief in our own work. In the end, our efforts culminated in an excellent presentation that showcased our innovation, Auriel, a potential concept to revolutionize New York’s infrastructure and streetscape, and enhance safety for people navigating the bustling city. Shoutout to Team Fusion for all the hard work!
The ATTRACT Academy Exhibition
Followed by the remote virtual presentations in May, the team had another opportunity to exhibit our work in person at a showcase event in June, held at the University of Bologna, Italy. The event was organized by ATTRACT Academy, a research initiative funded by the European Union, which focuses on innovating and developing breakthrough technologies for new scientific applications and fostering deep technology innovations in Europe and beyond . At the event, I, Susanna, had the honor of serving as the ambassador for our team. I was filled with excitement as I shared the outcomes of our work with a diverse audience of students, educators, scientists, and researchers.
As I waited my turn to present in the auditorium, a butterfly landed near my feet, ironically reminding me of the not-so-real butterflies I felt in my stomach at that moment (Professor Andreea Cotoranu can prove the butterfly episode actually happened!). Inspired by the moment and the surrounding beautiful medieval Italian architecture, I felt confident presenting our work to the audience despite the underlying nervousness. The student groups all took turns presenting, followed by an opportunity for participants to explore each project stand, further discuss projects in detail, and share feedback freely. The event provided a unique opportunity to hear people’s thoughts on Auriel, which clearly aroused genuine interest among many of them. The expo participants showed a particular interest in the technological aspects of our design and its functionalities, coupled with the product’s potential to reshape current street safety within our society. To quote an event participant, “The idea behind Auriel seems genius, and let’s face it, it’s a badass-looking design!” What engraved a lasting mark from the trip was the genuine interest people showed in our work, the warm and supportive atmosphere among fellow attendees, and a joyful celebration of the project achievements held at the university’s garden, complemented by tasty food and beverages perfectly capturing the essence of the Italian way of life.
In academic assignments and professional projects, it is common practice to focus on specific details that meet the distinct requirements of each endeavor. A notable asset of the Challenge Based Innovation program is its ability to address and examine issues from a broader global perspective (macro level) while still considering the smallest levels of detail and interaction (micro level). Learning from significant and complex challenges has been not only incredibly rewarding but also necessary in the rapidly shifting world we currently live in. I am confident in voicing on behalf of our team that our journey with New York Design Factory through the CBI program has widened the scope of our individual worldviews. We are exceedingly proud of the hard work we put into the past months and extend our gratitude for the invaluable guidance and support we received from our instructors, Professor Andreea Cotoranu and Professor Luke Cantarella, as well as from the whole Global Design Factory network. Looking forward, as we stand at street intersections waiting for our turn to cross the road, it is highly likely that many of us from Team Fusion will continue to brainstorm novel solutions in our minds to improve street safety while nurturing our vision of a more environmentally conscious and sustainable urban infrastructure among us.
Upon the completion of our intensive project, our work gained visibility in Pace Magazine.
Read the article here: https://www.pace.edu/news/designing-future-of-new-york-city-streets
Take a look at the project white paper here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1mcirXKWq5vjq15WFGe4yF1TJ0rmyGVHC/view?usp=sharing