Deep Science Hackathon 2020 is over

On February 7 - 9, the University of Latvia's Institute of Solid State Physics (ISSP UL) hosted the Latvian high-tech hackathon Deep Science Hackathon 2020, where participants in interdisciplinary teams, along with mentors, developed five ideas and presented them to the jury, scientists and potential investors.

Within 48 hours, students and professionals worked together to develop new high-tech ideas based on smart materials. In total, nine ideas were submitted to the Deep Science Hackathon, five of which were successfully completed by the end of the event. Teams came up with ideas, such as a sheep wool filter for water purification, an application that helps to get out of a building or a ferry in case of emergency, a GPS animal-strap that works using heat of animals body. Electric Eel, in turn, came up with the idea of an autonomous robot that disinfects water supply systems. The ISSP UL team, which is organizing hackathons for the fifth time, also participated with their idea to radically improve the hackathon format by next year's hackathon, identifying participants' suggestions and conducting a case study. While maintaining the focus on material science, it was decided to position itself as a hackathon in the Baltic region.

Mentors such as Professor Anders Hallen of the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, innovation coach Molly Rogstadius and business expert Ervin Alic of RISE (Research Institutes of Sweden) and Marko Mueller, Managing Director of MARKOPRENEUR GmbH, who has extensive experience in design thinking training, consulted and worked with the participants. The team was also assisted by several mentors from Latvia - Viesturs Sosārs from TechHub and Lauma Muizniece from LIAA.

“As a mentor, my greatest satisfaction is to see the team and the idea evolve over this short period of time. As teams that didn't really know what they wanted to accomplish on Friday, they are very confident in presenting their idea on Sunday night,” says Ernest Stall, a hackathon mentor and co-founder of TechChill.

In the end, the participants presented their performance to the jury, which evaluated the team-work and the result achieved. The jury consisted of representatives from such organizations as Commercialization Reactor, LIAA, BuildIt Accelerator, Change Ventures Venture Capital, TechHub, Latvian Space Industry Association, New Door Social Business Accelerator. The team Infinite Battery, which developed the idea of ​​a body strap that works with body heat, was given the opportunity to participate in a program implemented by BuildIt Latvia in the spring of 2020. This team, like any other team in BuildIt Latvia program, is eligible for a PreSeed investment of up to € 50,000. In order to receive an investment, a new company will need to demonstrate that the team has the appropriate experience and motivation to grow. During the program, the team will have the opportunity to work with accelerator BuildIt experts and partners to enable the company to grow faster and become more attractive to next-level seed investors. Teams Fluffy Purification and Really Simple Learning got other prize – tickets to TechChill event.

“Our mission is to build an ecosystem that fosters innovation and collaboration, and to build new teams that are able to address the challenges they face. Latvia has excellent science and excellent high-tech companies; we just need to learn how to work together to bring it outside of Latvia,” says Andris Anspoks, Deputy Director of Innovation at the ISSP UL.

This year, students and professionals from various Latvian universities and companies participated in the Latvian high-tech hackathon Deep Science Hackathon 2020 organized by the ISSP UL. Countries such as India, Denmark, Lithuania, Nepal and, of course, Latvia were represented.

Thanks to the supporters and sponsors - RISEBA, Hypnos beer and BIRZĪ!