The results of InCube 2018

ETH Polyterrasse, Zürich – InCube 2018 launch © Thi My Lien Nguyen

From the 21st to 24th of September, the ETH Entrepreneur Club organized the second iteration of the InCube Challenge. Now a month later we’d like to look back and summarise the results of InCube 2018.
During 4 days, the teams with 5-6 students each worked and lived inside a transparent cube in a public place. Together with the main sponsors and supporters Association des Communes de Crans-Montana, BKW Group, ETH Zürich, Gebert-Rüf Stiftung, Huawei Technologies and Stryker Corporation, the teams were given a challenge to tackle with visions of the future. The student teams were tasked with the ideation and creation of a low-fidelity prototype over the course of one prolonged weekend. This year, the cubes were found in Berne, Zürich, Crans-Montana and abroad on the MIT Campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

“The InCube experience was about stepping out of our known paths, about failing but also understanding that you fail better as a team, because you can only fall forwards. It was about realising that we can all stand behind the same idea and join hands for the same ‘fight’.” says Thaïs Lindemann of the Mobility team who lived in the cube at Europaallee over the weekend.

In a public closing ceremony at ETH Zürich, the teams presented their solutions in short pitches to a professional jury and the audience. The team from MIT recorded their pitch and it was streamed to the event room in Zürich.

“And the winner is…”

©Raisa Durandi

In the end, the team that lived and worked at Europaallee in Zürich won and took the first prize home with Orama, a new system that allows autonomous navigation for blind people. It works by taking inputs from both a mapping service for macro-level directions and a camera for micro-level information on surroundings/obstacles. These are translated via software and communicated back to the user by a pair of vibrating wrist bands and bone conduction headphones.

The Medical Technology team were able to bring the second place home to Boston with their approach to reimagine the ambulance of the future with their product called AugMedic. The energy team that worked and lived in Bern landed on third place with Solarent. “It (Solarent) aims to give back the control over their energy to the people. We rent solar panels so that all of us can get our own clean energy supply, without making important financial and spatial commitments”, Mélanie Gaillochet explains.

“A life changing experience”

The day after the final, the winning team was invited to pitch their idea at the Swiss Startup Days’ Investor Dinner in front of hundreds of investors and executives. They since have decided to continue working on their project and are currently working on developing a first working prototype.
“The InCube was a literally life-changing experience! It was four days in a glass cube with a team of passionate people developing the craziest ideas. That’s where magic happens!”, summarises Christos Gountis the InCube experience. It’s reactions like these, that show that InCube really can create a spark and inspire students to start a project themselves.

A big thank you goes out to all the partners and supporters that helped the ETH Entrepreneur Club to make InCube possible.
The team behind the project is currently debriefing and getting ready to plan InCube 2019, where the whole student journey will be further developed and worked on. Stay tuned!