Turin, 20 June 2016. Automatic sensors that release the right amount of fertilizer in agricultural fields, reducing the impact on aquifers. Integrated systems for smart cities that identify drinking water leaks in water systems and direct timely repair. Solutions for urban construction using algae to purify water, reducing fuel consumption. Furthermore: crowdsourcing systems to improve the accuracy of weather forecasting, also increasing the efficiency of wind power plants in electricity production and even a floating greenhouse shaped like a whale that uses solar energy to desalinate sea water and irrigate crops, bringing water to where it is scarce.
These are some of the ideas of 50 young, MBA students of the Scuola di Alta Formazione al Management (SAFM, a business education program based in Turin) and graduate students of the Polytechnic of Turin, prepared as part of the project "Innovation for Change": a multidisciplinary program that engaged young people for 5 months, divided into 8 groups, securing the cooperation with CERN in Geneva and with some Italian institutions and International companies, including the Italian Ministry of Economic Development, the United Nations Development Programme, Barilla, ENEL and Smat. Not mere theoretical exercises for teaching purposes, but credible innovative solutions based on available technologies, based on the global collective needs and from which start-ups operating in the market will be born.
The prototypes and the technical solutions adopted by young people were presented and evaluated today at the Castello del Valentino in Turin by four special judges: Vice President of the Agnelli Foundation, John Elkann; the Director General of CERN, Fabiola Gianotti; the Rector of the Polytechnic of Turin, Marco Gilli and the President of SAFM Francesco Profumo.
After working through the solutions developed by the students, the judges awarded the following best business ideas:
- AquaSmart, a smart grid system to help identify and solve water leakages.
AquaSmart will receive a special contribution of 50,000 euros, allocated by the Agnelli Foundation as part of the celebrations of its 50 years of operation (1866-2016). The contribution is intended to support the Working Group of AquaSmart to constitute a real start-up and start operating on the market.
Besides AquaSmart, the judges also selected:
- Demetra, an automatized agricultural resource management system; - Alfie, a vertical algae wall concept for water recycling in urban cities.
The three working groups will be awarded the opportunity to participate for free at the European Innovation Academy (EIA), the international acceleration program for technology startups, that will be hosted by the Polytechnic of Turin from July 10 – 29 in cooperation with partners as Google, Allianz, FCA, Intesa San Paolo and Ferrero and will bring to Turin mentors from Silicon Valley and 300 talented students from the best universities around the world.