Student Life Archive

Shining a spotlight on international student innovation

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With just a day to go until the International Student Innovation Award, we’ll soon be announcing the winner of the £10,000 prize to help kick start one lucky student’s innovative business idea. Hundreds of entries have been received from 49 different countries reflecting the incredible range of talent emerging from across London’s universities. Study London has been speaking to a few of the students ahead of tomorrow’s event.

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For Indian student Mustafa Khanwala the frustration of queuing in shops inspired him to develop an app that makes shopping on the high street as seamless as shopping online. Mustafa explains: “Every day the world loses over $550 million in sales just because of queuing and other related problems with the current in-store experience. In a world where we no longer need to hold our hand out for a taxi, need to carry our wallet and soon even need to drive, why are we wasting years of time and billions of dollars waiting in queues?” His app MishiPay allows in-store shoppers to pick up a product, scan the barcode with their phone, pay with their phone and simply walk out with it. The technology also ensures that if you try and leave without paying, the alarms will immediately sound.

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Also looking to make our shopping experience simpler in a different way is French student Claire Berdugo. Claire explains: “We realized there was a significant unfulfilled gap in the second-hand fashion industry: selling online is definitely time-consuming. Our app Kpish turns people’s wardrobes into online shops by recording automatically people’s purchases from shopping sites directly into their own digital wardrobe. The platform aims in making selling online completely hassle free. By inputting all the data at the point of sale, 90% of that work is done for the user.”

Imperial College London

Ever wondered what silk sounds like? A potential game changer in the music industry, Italian student Luca Alessandrini has created two violins made from spider silk and resin which could potentially replace the use of wood and its derivatives in the acoustic industry. Based on new technology mixing different kinds of animal and plant derived fibres, the combination of silk and resin produces a unique tone and can be altered by blending different quantities of the raw materials. When the violin is played, the spider silk vibrates the instrument’s casing, emitting a sound which can be customised by tweaking the exact blend of the material. Commenting on his prototype, Luca said: “Demonstrating the acoustic property of silk is just an example of the capabilities of this technology that aims to the customisation of the acoustic properties of a material and the object that it is made out of it. This approach ended up being more sustainable than the use of wood and implementing lighter and cheaper materials.”

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German student Elena Dieckmann has also been experimenting with different fibres and waste materials, aiming to help tackle the world-wide waste crisis with her innovation called Aeropowder. Elena said: “I analysed several waste streams of Keratin – one of the major building blocks in nature. You can find Keratin in a huge range of waste materials, such as human hair, animal hoof, fingernails and feathers.” The sheer amount of readily available chicken feathers prompted her to focus on the conversion of waste feathers for use in the building sector, as well as packaging and consumer products. Other example applications include water-repellent paint, novel bio-plastics, super light

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