Is 6 credits worth it to attend a seminar for two weeks straight, from 9am to at least 6pm, and also sacrifice your weekends for it?
I think none of the 50 participants of Think. Make. Start. has ever asked this question. If one had done so, he/she would have been at the wrong place.
Think. Make. Start., the two-week hackathon of the UnternehmerTUM in connection with TU Munich and the Maker Space, is a lecture where students work in teams of 4-5 for two weeks to present a prototype at the end of the course. The teams are also given a small budget and training by coaches.
A unique possibility
Such trainings are unique in Germany (and maybe all over Europe). The combination of profound university knowledge, entrepreneurship, and immediate access to a workshop equipped with laser cutter, 3D printer, wood and metal workshops, enables possibilities that are only limited by the students themselves. As a participant, you sit together with your team and think about crazy ideas, and you just have to walk a few meters over to the Maker Space to let your prototype come to life.
If you are yearning to start a company, the first steps can be tough. You might not know potential team members who are equipped with the right skills. Or you don’t have a place to meet those kinds of people, or don’t have enough time or don’t have a workshop to realize a prototype. During the two weeks at Think. Make. Start., you have all of this – everything you need to get started. The outcome depends only on what you make out of it. The two weeks are filled with intensity that allowed us to let impossible things happen.
I was lucky to get selected as one of the participants. Although none of the presented ideas in the beginning wowed me, I tried to join a team that had the right skills, and where my skill sets could provide additional value. For me, it was more important to have a right team than a right idea.
The project I was working on is called sign2speech. We tried to interpret sign language via EMG signals and IMU data to provide hearing-impaired people an easier way of communication. We had lots of fun and long working hours. One of the main experiences I took away is the chance to get in touch with the hearing-impaired community, and learn more about sign language in general and understand their difficulties in daily life. In the end, we felt honored to win the Audience Price. This is just one more push to continue the work on the project after these awesome two weeks.
Behind the whole organization of Think. Make. Start. was an awesome organization team, which has as much spirit and passion as the participants. At this point, I also want to thank them for their effort and support. I encourage every student to participate in this lab course (more info here)!
Learn more about our project here: www.sign2speech.com
Title picture: (c) UnternehmerTUM // Patrick Ranz