Here at Maplesoft, we like to foster innovation in technological development. Whether that is finding solutions to global warming, making medical discoveries that save millions, or introducing society to very advanced functional robots, Maplesoft is happy to contribute, support and encourage innovative people and organizations researching these complex topics. This year, we are delighted to have sponsored two contests in the robotics field that provide opportunities to think big and make an impact: Create the Future Design Contest and the International Space Apps Challenge.
Create the Future Design Contest
Established in 2002, and organized by TechBriefs, the goal of the Create the Future Design Contest is to help engineers bring their product design ideas to life. The overall ‘mission of the contest is to benefit humanity, the environment, and the economy.’ This year, there were a record 1,159 new product ideas submitted by students, engineers, and entrepreneurs from all over the globe. In the machinery/automation/robotics category, which Maplesoft sponsored, the project with the top votes was designed by two engineers who chose to name their innovation CAP Exoskeleton, a type of assistive robotic machine designed to aid the user in walking, squatting, and carrying heavy loads over considerable distances. It can either be used to enhance physical endurance for military purposes or to help the physically impaired perform daily tasks. A contest like Create the Future is a perfect opportunity, for engineers in particular, to learn, explore, and create.
The CAP Exoskeleton - ©2015 Create the Future Design Contest
International Space Apps Challenge
The exploration of space has always been unique in its search for knowledge. The International Space Apps Challenge, a NASA incubator innovation program, is an ‘international mass collaboration focused on space exploration that takes place over 48-hours in cities around the world’. It is a unique global competition where people rally together to find solutions to real world problems, bringing humanity closer to understanding the Earth, the universe, the human race, and robotics. These goals, the organizers believe, can be reached much faster if we combine the power of the seven billion or so brains that occupy the planet, not forgetting the six that are currently orbiting above us aboard the International Space Station. The competition is open to people of all ages and in all fields, including engineers, technologists, scientists, designers, artists, educators, students, entrepreneurs, and so on. With an astounding 13,846 participants from all over the world, several highly innovative solutions were presented.
Maplesoft sponsored the University of York location in the UK where the winning team of five modeled an app called CropOp, a communication tool that connects the government to local farmers with the goal of providing instantaneous, crucial information regarding pest breakout warnings, extreme weather, and other important updates. This UK-based team believes the quality and quantity of food produced will be improved, especially benefiting the undernourished communities in Africa. Maplesoft supports the Space Apps Challenge because it proves that collaboration makes for bigger and better discoveries that can save millions of people.
Donating Maplesoft software for contestants to use is part of the sponsorship. The real delight is to wait and see what innovative concepts they come up with. When we sponsor contests like these, we find it benefits our software as much as it does the participants. Plus, if the contestants can provide solutions to real world issues, well, that benefits everyone!