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).

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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.

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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.

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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 pablo.garcia.tello@cern.ch

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


Team CB-Ond - COOLBA (E-waste and energy efficiency)

“Working on the Refrigeration and Climatization subjects would be the best way to address e-waste and energy efficiency”

Our planet resources are paying the biggest price for our growth. We must reduce the ecological footprint and change the way we produce and consume goods and resources. Studying Oporto and considering CERN technology, we understood:

Working on the Refrigeration and Climatization subjects would
be the best way to address e-waste and energy efficiency.

Centralized facility systems, such as water and gas, became a
common aspect of our modern lives. Taking a closer look at modern household refrigeration and climatization, everyone has a fridge and its compressor at home and may even have air conditioning systems.

So, why not have a centralized system in the building for refrigeration and climatization? We envision this solution for the fridge, the air conditioning, and the radiant floor. That’s how Coolba is born.

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Team Atma - Digisave (Electronic waste)

“A proposal to culminate personal electronic assistive devices and resolve it with Community based-infrastructure”

We are team ATMA, and we’ve banded together from Design Factory Melbourne; powered by IdeaSquare at CERN and the UN 2030 sustainable goals. Our purpose is to support responsible consumption and production issues within an Australian context.

We have specifically targeted e-waste (electronic waste) as our key consumption and production foci and identified major social, environmental and health issues.

These include the import and export of current e-waste, the environments, and communities these e-wastes affect, businesses fueling planned obsolescence, as well as repercussions of materiality and content consumption, specifically from media technologies and personal electronic assistive devices.

Based on these findings we suggest a proposal to culminate personal electronic assistive devices and resolve it with Community based-infrastructure that replaces personal computing devices with access to a data and computing network. It utilizes AR as the form of dominant media consumption and aims to fuse digital and physical worlds to further support the interaction of physical world elements, all through a new lens.

This is powered by the integration of CERN technology, that can catalyze the change required to support responsible production and consumption, as well as mass behavioral and cultural change over a 3 step plan that focuses on solution implementation from 2020, 2025 and 2030; in accordance with the UN sustainability framework.

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Team Dasein - Metaphor (eliminating food wastage in hospitals)

“This will eliminate the amount of waste hospitals are placing into our landfills “

What Dasein proposes as a radical conceptual solution for the year 2030 is the elimination of food wastage in hospitals entirely. This will eliminate the amount of waste hospitals are placing into our landfills and a more effective and efficient way to feed the patients, mitigating malnourishment in hospitals.

Our Solution consists of a holistic system that caters for both those that can orally consume food, and for those that cannot.

As this solution is designed with the year 2030 in mind, obviously we assume that with the current trends in technology today, 2018, these solutions could be probable. The ultimate goal of our research and outcomes are to inspire the growth in importance of sustainable practices and living with a new and fresh perspective that could motivate change.

Thank you to everyone that was involved in the evolution of Dasein’s concept. It could not have been done without your effort, lending us your time, feedback and encouragement.

This is our solution, Metaphor.

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Team Ipiranga - Geolight (Greener Future)

“Wildfires are becoming increasingly more expensive due to the proportions they’re assuming every year”

This year, the CBI A3 program focused on the Sustainable Development Goal number 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production.

We looked for problems related to this topic in our local context, and explored them deeper during the two weeks we spent at CERN. One of the problems was deforestation. This contributes to global warming, a decrease in biodiversity, excessive loss of plants and animals, change in the Earth’s crust, and several other issues.

Previously, the causes for deforestation were the cut of trees for shipbuilding and houses’ heating. Nowadays, the main causes are wildfires, acid rain and for the construction of infrastructures.

Referring more specifically to wildfires, Portugal has the biggest eucalyptus area compared to its size, and they are not a native tree. The lack of planning and regulation of eucalyptus plantation are factors that, along with climate change, increase the risk of having wildfires, turning forests into real ticking bombs. One of the major issues that wildfires cause is the increase of CO2 emissions.

Wildfires are becoming increasingly more expensive due to the proportions they’re assuming every year, a consequence of global warming. But the problem is not only about the money – the shortage of water is not a thing so distance in the future. It is imperative that we find alternative means to fight fires so that this resource is preserved.


Download the project documentation