FireWire Team (left to right): Shantanu Jain, Pavel Burmistrov, Anastasija Cumika, Ruslan Aliev, Maria Bakhanova, Kirill Bubenchikov.
Dry Run Presentation Day is an important event at the end of Week 3 of Skoltech’s Innovation Workshop. The purpose is for each group to conduct final practice presentations, receiving further feedback from mentors and thus helping them tie up the loose ends in their work.
The team projects varied in terms of topic, each no less interesting. The mentors’ feedback focused on teams’ presentations skills and ideas, specifically problem identification and solution. We caught up with a member, Anastasija Cumik, of team FireWire to hear her views on the Innovation Workshop, about the FireWire project and about the mentors’ feedback.
Team FireWire consists of six members:
- Kirill Bubenchikov – Energy Systems, Information Systems and Technology
- Maria Bakhanova – Data Science, Mathematics and Computer Science
- Anastasija Cumika – Advanced Manufacturing Technologies, Information Systems and Technology
- Ruslan Aliev – Information Science and Technology, Information Technology and Engineering
- Shantanu Jain – Space and Engineering Systems, Information Systems and Technology
- Pavel Burmistrov – Life Sciences, Biotechnology
To give a little background, team FireWire focused on the problem of electricity access in cold and remote areas, specifically for hikers and nomads. Most hikers have very little access to electricity and build campfires to keep warm at night. Using a simple thermoelectric generator, they could generate electricity using a campfire – hence the name FireWire. The thermoelectric generator in question is very compact, weighs less than 500g, is foldable, and therefore portable, an important feature if marketed as hiking equipment. The device costs less than $100, with the main market competitor price at $130. Overall, the mentor feedback was very positive, especially for the presentations skills, and team FireWire is using the critiques to make further tweaks in the run-up to their final presentation.
How did you and your team come up with your idea?
At the start, we had several ideas and when I pitched the idea of a thermoelectric generator to my fellow team members, we saw a problem that we could solve with such a product, so we agreed to use it. That is how we started working on it. Being part of a team makes all the difference – we have a good relationship and work well together. I had actually already pitched this idea at my previous university, where I had already had a positive response.
How much has the feedback from the mentors affected the project – has it changed much since the beginning of this workshop?
Anastasija Cumika: The original prototype idea has not changed that much. The biggest changes are based on the feedback from people in FabLab – they helped us use the right materials and techniques. Based on the feedback from the Innovation Workshop mentors, we changed many of our business development and presentations skills; they helped us a lot with that. We took every bit of feedback that they gave us and applied it to our presentation to make it better.
How have you found the Innovation Workshop experience so far?
Anastasija Cumika: I think it is very interesting and I think that my team and I have learned a lot in terms of soft skills and technical skills. I think that it is a great idea to give us this class right at the beginning of the year; we jump into the deep end and learn new soft skills that we combine with our scientific knowledge. That is what Skoltech is about and that is why I am here.
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