Combatting Tyre Dust by 2030 & Coulomb - Team Spring

Combatting Tyre Dust by 2030 & Coulomb - Team Spring

Team Spring explored reducing tyre dust levels in Melbourne’s waterways and how to reduce micro-plastics in domestic water ways. Their project produced 4 different concepts, summarised in the 2 white papers below. Find more info on the dedicated course webpage.

WeBe - Team Kaya

WeBe - Team Kaya

Sustainable Development Goal 5: Gender Equality

Team Kaya started with the UN’s fifth Sustainable Development Goal; Gender Equality. The team started by analysing the six dimensions of the UN SDG and decided to focus our research on topics affecting women in Spain, specifically young women who faced the challenge of balancing work and career. The research therefore focused on the SDG’s sub topic “5.4 Recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work” and “5.5 Ensure women’s full and effective participation […] in Leadership”. These two topics are strongly intertwined and represent a problem area that the team could focus on.

Given complete freedom to define the challenge, the team explored the many facets of the SDG, and after careful analysis of the data available, interviews and design sprints reached the final problem statement of

“How might we create a more supportive dynamic in relationships, so that the distribution of work is equal?”

Solution: We Be

Our solution consists of a wearable device specially for couples. It is a sign of love and partnership, like a wedding ring, but this device collects data throughout the day.

The We-Be’s first iteration is a personalizable bracelet with a discreet screen. It analyzes the heart rate, sleep pattern, stress level, activity, sweat and emotions, and extrapolates a visual “emotional battery” level, that is shared between the couple. This shared emotional battery allows both partners to be aware of how each other are feeling over the course of the day, be it stress, fatigue, or happiness. It allows them to be aware when their partner needs a little bit of extra support, or a lot.

Meanwhile, the sensors on the bracelet monitor the user’s state. Several times per day, the screen will change to a color slider, prompting the user to indicate their current emotional feelings and mood in order to best calculate their emotional battery level. The We-Be is integrated with an app, which delivers an alert if one of the couple enters into critical low battery. From the app the users can also check their own data, as well as giving the couple personalized tips regarding their partners wellbeing.

Aim: Make the invisible, visible and create a dynamic between the couple and to open space for a healthy communication in order to make them both feel loved and supported. Create a balance for working couples and improve awareness of each other.

LEAF - Team Tyson

LEAF - Team Tyson

SDG 4 – Quality education

LEAF is focusing on building an educational solution for Niger that meets the unique challenges the country is facing, starting with primary education for the country’s citizens. One large demographic group in the country frequently left out of the traditional education system is the country’s Nomadic populace. The largest nomadic group in the country is the Fulani people who like many of their nomadic peers observe a pastoral lifestyle traveling with the livestock they watch after and selling their cattle’s milk and cheese for profit in the market. In Niger this group represents a population of over 2 million who due to their lifestyle are not able to participate fully in the education programs provided by the government or the NGOs who operate there.

How might we bring primary education to the children of Nomadic families between the ages of 5 and 12 by providing a learning solution that moves with them so they can improve their future opportunities?

What is LEAF ? A system to bring effective primary and secondary education to those who are unable to access traditional infrastructure and education programs.

1 - 7.5” eInk Screen: Low Power Consumption display of immersive and informative graphics to make learning more intuitive and interactive. 2 - Built in Speaker: Audio capable system to help students with learning to read/write through audio prompts and to keep students engaged. 3 - Durable Navigation Buttons: D-Pad and 2 Selection Buttons provide flexible and durable system navigation. 4 - Writing Surface: Slate attached to the device provides a reusable writing surface for the students to perform writing exercises and arithmetic. 5 - Chalk Holder: Chalk storage to keep the necessary writing implement with the tablet at all times. 6 - Solar Panel: Built in charging capability allows the device to work without requiring electric infrastructure.

A core capability the LEAF tablet brings to the table is its ability to set up its own networks dynamically locally between students and with teachers without relying on traditional infrastructure. 2 unique technologies will be utilized to make the dynamic networks possible: ZigBee and LoRa.

ZigBee is a low-power communication protocol built to support short range communication between devices also equipped with the ZigBee hardware. The technology is unique in that the network it creates is self-organizing meaning that the ZigBee devices will discover one another, connect automatically, and use the network the create to pass data between all ZigBee devices within that network (even if they are not able to communicate directly).

LoRa is a low-power communication protocol that will supplement ZigBee by providing the long-range networking which will connect multiple Fulani Tribes and importantly the Fulani students to teachers. The LoRa network can facilitate connections between 15 and 20 kms (although its effective range may be less) which will put them in range of teachers in areas where traditional communication networks are not present.

Putting these technologies together means that by using the LEAF tablet the Fulani children will be able to learn communally and receive aid from teachers remotely. These two technologies are important in that they create the interfaces necessary for an effective peer learning system.

If we are successful in the development of an effective teacher light solution that works for their situation, the solution can be expanded beyond the original Fulani group. Our target would be to cover all Nomads and refugees worldwide, and later work to redefine learning for all people around the world building on the insights into how people learn through our digital learning platform.

Totem - Team Schrödinger

Totem - Team Schrödinger

SDG – 3 Good health and Well-being

The purpose of this design thinking project was to develop a solution to reduce aberrant and excessive consumption of online content. On average a user spends approximately 3 hours per day online and 98 minutes per day on social media platforms (Hootsuite 2017a). This consumption pattern may lead to negative affect on our mental and physical health (Lin 2012b, Morin 2018c).

While conversations with experts revealed that social media sites go beyond the Trigger-Action-Reward mechanism of forming a habit and Invest heavily in Machine Learning (ML) to learn what an individual likes, to create content and suggestions specific to individual, which in turn makes them hooked to the application.

Our solution is based on the outcome of our interviews and surveys, where the users realize their habitual usage and yearned for a solution for breaking the habits. Totem provides positive reinforcements to users when nonsensical online behaviour is detected. It learns about the users by data acquisition and ML and provides nudges and reminders to facilitate completion of tasks at hand and/or upcoming activities both at home and outside.

Totem consists of two components: on one hand, the mesh works as a wearable, meaning that it always travels with you. Collecting data about the way you scroll over the screen of your smartphone, it will detect whether you are using your smartphone appropriately. For instance, if you are attending a meeting and start using a social media application, the mesh will detect it. Since Totem knows you are attending a meeting, it will send you a notification in order for you to raise awareness and stop using your smartphone in the meeting.

On the other hand, the physical Totem is always at home and it works as a home assistant. Totem has a personalized hologram that enhances your relationship with it. Imagine you are at home, with no planned activities and you start to scroll over an application endlessly. Because of the mesh detection, Totem will check your schedule and, since there are no plans, he will suggest you a way to achieve one of your goals.

Totem seamlessly connects to other Internet of Things (IOT) devices for home control and can be customized based on user preferences. User data will be stored on site to provide complete ownership and privacy of data.

The way Totem works can be summarized in three steps:

  1. Listen: Totem collects information about the way you use your smartphone and analyses it.
  2. Learn: by knowing your schedule and goals, Totem will be able to provide personalized solutions for you.
  3. Propose: by sending nudges or suggesting activities based on your goals, that fit within your schedule, you will be able to care about what really matters.


[References: We Are Social, & Hootsuite. (n.d.). Average daily social media use via any device in selected European countries in 2017 (in minutes). In Statista – The Statistics Portal. Retrieved January 4, 2019, from

Lin F, Zhou Y, Du Y, Qin L, Zhao Z, et al. (2012), Abnormal White Matter Integrity in Adolescents with Internet Addiction Disorder: A Tract-Based Spatial Statistics Study. PLoS ONE 7(1): e30253. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0030253]

Download project documentation


Project video

WaterWall - Team Mercalli

WaterWall - Team Mercalli

Sustainable Development Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

According to SDG6, clean, accessible water for all is an essential part of the world we want to live in and there is sufficient fresh water on the planet to achieve this. However, due to bad economics or poor infrastructure, millions of people including children die every year from diseases associated with inadequate water supply, sanitation and hygiene.

With the aim of accomplishing this goal, many problems related to accessibility to water, scarcity, pollution, wastewater and sanitation need to be solved.

Initial approach to our challenge:  Using the 6W tool, our team decided to focus on water waste, more specifically looking at domestic water consumption. We realized that water waste in households is the field where we can impact most and where we have more information to work on. In fact, finding a solution to sensibilize users in water usage, both on a psychological side and practical savings could facilitate reaching our target.

The challenges that we choose to approach are:

  • “How might we manage greywater so users can increase their domestic water-use efficiency?”
  • “How might we design a smart solution in domestic water supply so users can be aware and limit their consumption to improve their economy?

Based on SDG6 the WaterWall solves the problem of the single use we give to clean water for domestic purposes.

WaterWall reduces the amount of water that an individual requires for day to day activities in a domestic context by recycling grey water. The solution integrates various sources of greywater and produces potable water, allowing recycling of up to 80% of the water that passes through WaterWall and reducing up to 43% of an average citizen individual consumption. It employs latest technology water filters, uses sensors to capture data and ensure water quality. Through IOT, it encourages better use of water and control of the overall functionality and maintenance.

This is our final WaterWall design. Our product consists on a set of filters. The filters we use follow this order: sand filter to remove solid particles, carbon activated to filter chemicals, plasma discharges to kill bacteria, and a chemical dispenser in the drinkable water tank. It is known and proven that these filters work properly in water purification systems; however, we propose to gradually change our actual filters to more disruptive technologies (e.g. HEFP, Graphene).

Download project documentation


Project video

Bwarm - Team Ohm

Bwarm - Team Ohm

SDG 7 – Clean and affordable energy

During the coldest months of winter, heat is one of the basic needs for people to live. The access to proper heating along with good insulation, not only increases life expectancy but also creates higher quality of life.

In Barcelona, temperature can drop down to 5°C during winter. Because most of the houses and apartments in this region are badly insulated, people rely on heaters powered by electricity or gas. However, around 10% of Barcelona citizens have energy poverty and it is estimated 170,000 people do not have access to proper heating.

To dig deep about the problem, we interviewed multiple experts and more than 30 people who are identified as high risk of energy poverty. Afterwards we’ve concluded that the most vulnerable persons are: elderly people, either unemployed or pensioners, that tend to live by themselves, have low income and reside in very old houses with bad insulation.

It is important to mention that the vast majority of houses in Spain have not installed a proper heating system, since the country is not in a cold region and this may not seem a problem. The reality is that the lack of this system exposes low income inhabitants to hard or even dangerous situations, having little margin to react. These people often find themselves in having difficulties to pay their monthly energy bills. The situation in winter gets worse for them, because heaters consume a massive amount of energy, which can significantly increase electricity bills. These people are vulnerable, and we wanted to help them.

In order to do that, we raise the question: “How might we help elderly and low-income people from Barcelona, who can’t access proper heating, so they can improve their quality of life?

Our solution is Bwarm. An inexpensive smart heating system that is modular and user-oriented. Bwarm implements the concept of “Heating people, not places” by focalizing all the heat to the users. Normal heaters, based in convection heat transmission, waste a lot of energy because they are made to heat all the air around. That is, a whole house or an entire room is warmed up when, in most cases, it is unnecessary.  In order to solve that, our solution carefully manages the energy waste while delivers heat using novel heat sources.

Bwarm is a modular heating system. It works by detecting both your location and temperature to switch on/off different heat sources towards you. To do so, B-warm has thermal cameras and a central smart algorithm (Arduino-based microcontroller), that via Bluetooth merges all the system with the heat sources.

The modular system is composed of:

– The brain: that has a thermal camera and the algorithm, to regulate the sources.

– IR Panels: that are surfaces that radiate heat

– Directional Heat Sources: that rotate to point the heat towards you.

If needed, the product elements can interact with each other in a modular way. Therefore, Bwarm can improve efficiency by heating only the person’s body, consuming energy in a different way.

Download project documentation


Project video

fruIoT - Team Gell-Mann

fruIoT - Team Gell-Mann

Sustainable Development Goal 2: Zero Hunger

The starting point of our project is SDG 2 Zero Hunger and the goal of the project is to identify a specific problem and ideate an innovative solution to that problem.

The problem we are facing is quite simple to understand — fresh fruit and vegetables arrive at different maturation stages to decision points. Not considering these variations result in countless food losses throughout the whole supply chain.

To make it clearer, let’s us explain the example of bananas. Bananas go a long way from Colombia to Belgium. Due to temperature fluctuations inside the shipping containers, bananas arrive in different ripening stages. Since we cannot distinguish them, half are sent to Paris and the other half to Moscow, even knowing that some of them will definitely spoil before reaching the final consumer. What if Belgian distributors could distinguish mature bananas from not-so-mature ones so we only send to Moscow the bananas we know will make it there and send the riper ones to closer destinations as Paris?

To solve such problem, we have designed a tracking system to provide the information they need in the decision point. To provide this information we need to store the conditions every fruit box has been through, estimate the ripeness of the fruit from this data and finally make this information accessible from the decision point.

Our mission is to provide an enhanced TRACEABILITY of fruit and vegetables throughout the whole supply chain. How do we do it?

We need three main technologies to implement this tracking system: a way to identify every fruit box, a sensing device and a database to store all the data collected and estimate the ripeness.

RFID system

We will identify every fruit box with an RFID tag. Compared to traditional barcodes, a bunch of those tags can be read at once from a distance and this highly improves efficiency.


To know the conditions the fruit boxes have been through, we have designed a sensing device that measures key characteristics such as temperature, humidity and colour. Another interesting measurement is ethylene, a gas that accelerates fruit ripening.

Database and ripeness estimation

Finally, we need a server with a huge database to store all the data we acquire through sensors. In this server, we also need an intelligent algorithm to estimate the ripeness of fresh products, the current purpose of this whole system — in the conclusions we are briefly exploring how this tracking system can be used for other interesting purposes.

For the exposition of our prototype, we solder three sensors — temperature/humidity/pressure,
gas and color — to a PCB board and connect them to an Arduino which will read the data and
sent it to the computer.

Download project documentation


Project video

Design the Future 2018

In November 2018, students from  Tampere University of TechnologyBIC Araba and UPV/EHU , along with CBI ER students from the University of Bologna, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, and University of Ferrara participated in the Design the Future workshop.

The presentations of the TUT, BIC and UPV/EHU can be found below, whereas more info on CBI ER can be found on their course page.

DTF 2018 final prez - Team Mörkö

DTF 2018 final prez - Team Fantasy 5-1

DTF 2018 final prez - Team TXALAPARTA

The general objective of this workshop is that MSc level interdisciplinary student teams discover:

  1. What is CERN by interacting directly with CERN researchers.
  2. What is happening at CERN by interacting directly with CERN researchers.
  3. How to think disruptively.
  4. How to build future world scenarios in which social aspects and technology interlink and propose transformative technology concepts.

Especially point three constitutes the essence of how CERN professionals face challenges in fundamental physics and will serve the students to become original thinkers and innovators. Exercises are introduced by tailored explanatory talks. Their goal is to provide the students a disruptive thinking toolbox that will be fully put in practice in the last challenge of the workshop consisting of a challenging future scenario building project.

The workshop takes place at CERN IdeaSquare facility depending on availability. Interested organizations should cover all students’ expenses (e.g. hotels, meals, etc) and necessary administrative requirements (e.g. insurances). As well, sufficient teachers and/or tutors should be physically present along the workshop duration.

The workshop is open to all students’ background (e.g. Science, Engineering, Business, Humanities, Design, etc).

For more details please contact

Team Quata – ReMY (Protection of marine life)

Overfishing is an increasing threat to ocean life. If we do not do anything about it, we will drift towards a dark future.

Our concept is based on the UN Development Goal 14 “Life below water”, which aims to protect marine life and face societal needs in this context. The UN Goals aim for a more sustainable world by 2030. In the CBI A3 Challenge Based Innovation Program, we meet those UN Sustainable Development Goals with the support of CERN technology.

ReMY is a concept to avert such a future. A Supervision, Control and Data Acquisition System (SCADA) is interconnected with drones and buoys all over the ocean. The system is based on CERN technologies and able to track and monitor life below water. ReMY enables us to save endangered species, boost science and research and push fishing industry towards sustainable methods., Team Quata summarises their project work.

The solution impacts society in a number of ways:

    Environment. With more marine data people are more able to protect the ocean life and everything that connects to it.
  Fishing Industry. Solution will make the industry to move towards sustainable ways of fishing.
  Research. The data there is the more research and new findings can be done.
  Politics. When government and lawmakers have real life data of oceans welfare they can make more sustained actions and e.g controlling over fishing laws becomes more easier and fairer.

Download the project documentation

Team Oceans5 - Stacker (Release of untreated sewage)

Team Oceans5 - Stacker (Release of untreated sewage)

According to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals Report, 783 million people worldwide do not have access to clean and safe drinking water. Pace University’s Design Factory Team, Oceans5, analyzed water related issues in the United States, specifically in the State of New York. Among the water related issues, Combined Sewage Overflow (CSO) poses a significant threat to the health of aquatic, environmental, and human life in the Hudson River region.,
is how team Oceans5 summarised the theme of their project.

The team wrapped up the problem they set out to solve:

“Precipitation events can overburden sewage treatment plants causing a release of untreated sewage into the Hudson River. Such discharges are also the cause of future problems including emerging pollutants, and the increase of waterborne illnesses.”

What they came up was Stacker. It is a size of small city block three-layer water treatment system that exploits CERN technology of fiber optic sensors and natural ways to treat water. Stacker has two constructed wetlands which both have different capability of purifying water in natural ways. Fiber optic technology is used on the middle layer for monitoring cleanness and nutrition re-mixing the treated water.

The team sums up the environmental impact of their solution in these three points:

  • Helps in overflow problem of existing sewer systems when used as support for existing systems
  • Increases the quality of marine life
  • Reduces waterborne illnesses when the pathogenic micro-organisms are purified from treated water