“It’s not about food for the stomach but about food for thought.” With these words CTO Dr. Roland Busch launched the Tapas Community Challenge at TU Munich’s CKI conference in February 2018. And his words proved correct. The European Tapas Challenge motivated more than 200 teams to hand in their idea for a Tapas project, centered on the concept of software defined inverters.
At the CKI conference at Friedrich Alexander University Erlangen Nuremberg (FAU) on July 27th, Dr. Busch could now award the winning team: after the pitches of the finalists, the team “Wireless Charging” from the University of Newcastle won! They convinced a jury from FAU, Fraunhofer IISB and Siemens experts with their idea to wirelessly transfer energy from one consumer to the other, for example from one laptop to the neighboring one. Haimeng Wu from the team is very happy: “Tapas helped us a lot to develop a compact battery-battery charging system based on its ability for fast switching and flexible communication between devices. And the exchange between the experts in the community will make us even more capable in the future.”
In the previous weeks, the Tapas team around Dr. Dominic Buchstaller had selected 65 ideas submitted by students, PhDs, PostDocs, Engineers and Makers. Each team received its own Tapas board and worked on their project until mid of June. Ten teams made it into the shortlist from which the five finalists were selected. “We were surprised by the creativity and variety of the ideas. And it is great to see the final prototypes today and discuss with the teams,” Buchstaller said. About 100 participants from FAU, Siemens, Fraunhofer IISB and the Tapas finalists from all over Europe had not only the chance to enjoy the Tapas final pitches and meet with the teams. Besides, they heard exciting talks from Fraunhofer, Siemens and FAU about current research and innovation topics followed by a diverse afternoon program which included a Tapas user meeting as well as a workshop by the Tech Incubator Zollhof and a CV check for students offered on campus by Siemens HR.
Over a selection of finger food and sweet appetizers, a lot of time for networking, discussion, and exchange lead to future cooperation projects between FAU and Siemens.