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SCIE Maker Competition: how to be a real creator

Everyone is born a creator. Only through constant practice and work will one finally be an innovative Maker. 

 [SCIE web news, Oct 17th, 2017] Our original motivation to attend this competition was purity out of curiosity. This challenge was nothing like what we have seen before in acedemic competition, requiring not only skills on using knowledge flexibility, but also contestens’ creativity. The theme for the competition this year was “Suggest a project that solves an current problem relating to human, nature and social development” and by the day of exhibiton, we have to develop whatever idea we come up with, provide an suitable solution, hence produce a prototype as well as a short 2 min video promoting it.


We are Team RLR

FacilitatorMr.Bryan WangProject ManagerLeo LiFinance ManagerLeo LeiTeam LeaderReany Wang 

When the theme was first distributed, we were overwhelmed by our ambitious ideas and suggestions about our project. We called for an small meeting shortly after, our faces filled with the smile emmiting unmatchable confidence: We got this handled. 

However, the development phase did not go smoothly. Our expectations were ultimatly too high than what we could reach: We talked about building a centrifuge that seperates salt from sea water; a printer that would be able to absorb carbon in smokes and recycle that as printing material; an high speed space jet that would be able to be “blown” off earth instead of launched off. These ideas maybe fun and creative, but also relatively hard to create using a months’ time: We would most likely not be able to produce a prototype 

Soon enough, we’ve got a problem: After a few assembly, we drafted some ideas and presented them to our faciltator, Bryan. But to our surprise, none of them was thought to be worthy of developing. We were not dicourged, but to narrow down our focus to the unefficent yet solvable problems in the campus of SCIE. In the process, Bryan(Our A9 Senpai) gave us many constructive suggestions, leading to create more realistic yet creative projects. After running into snags and be foiled everywhere, numerous brainstorms as well as observations, we at last came up with an possible project, two weeks from the deadline. 

We found out that some classrooms’ whiteboard are notably higher than the rest, which is a problem for teachers who need to jump from one class room to the rest: There is little time for the teacher to clean the board after they finish class. If they do the job properly, it is very likely that they would be late for the next class. But leaving the board dirty would be disrespectful for the next teacher using the room. This could be our breakthrough point. 

Despite we had little conversation with the other groups, we had a indistinct feeling that we are much behind the other groups. As an result, we pushed ourselves as much as we can to build the project in our sparetime. 

We had a series of talk deciding on the details of the product as well as possible difficulties. In the end, we set a goal of creating a moduler extensive automatic white board cleaner. 

In order to create the project, the first trouble was to select our material hence obtaining them. Luckily, there is a construction material market right next to school. And so, by 2017, September 16th, we embarked on an epic journey over ShuiWei to…buy our materials needed. By comparing thr price, mass, hardness, extensiveness also malleability(mainly price) we decided to use PVC tubes as the body of the cleaner. Connections between each module is a 10 cm long iron tube. In terms of the brushing material of the cleaner…we hadn’t figure out its name yet (We need to work on that…quick.). 


A part of the brush 

We had to design the details of the cleaner now, how it would connect together and so on. The cleaner would be joinable pieces, of 50 cm each in length. To make each of them easily connect and break, Leo lei used a special kind of snap buckle that holds the structure tightly together, as well as breaks easily so that the cleaner can be extended or shortened suiting needs without much trouble. Also we provided a soultion for minor adjustments: The PVCs supporting the motor modules are fitted wit springs that extends for 5 cm. They not only suits irregular whiteboards, but provide support for the cleaner to cling tightly on the board. We ordered the vital motors, control unit and wheels to move the cleaner up and down on the white board. Leo Lei did the heavy lifting for assembling the parts. At this point, we are done with our prototype for the cleaner!


Last model of prototype

We figured out something fatal at this point: There’s only 5 days left from the deadline for the promotion video. Yet we still haven’t start considering designing the team uniform nor Logo. The time is racing apon us, and with out these two items we cannot start filming the promotion video. We got our hands on it immedately, contacting some factory providing customisation. However, they all turned down on us, stating that 5 days is not enough for them to make the clothes. “How about we make them by hand? That would be unique and fast enough for deadline!” We rushed to the nearest discount store possible, and bought several different cheap hoodies and T- Shirts, Spray paint, marker pen and some paint. The next day, we tackled with the design of Logo and framed the mold for spray painting. Our team name is after the initials of the group, RLR, which roughly translates to Reliable people. The art work wasn’t easy though: Our white marker ran out? We went and borrowed paint; We do not have any brush? Get a tooth brush to do the job. The results were more than satisfactory: One of the visitors wanted to buy one of our uniform! There was conviently a spare, so we sold it by an profitable amount: we earned 70 RMB.


leftTeacher who bought our T-shirt    rightLeo Lei 

There was only a few days before the competition, but just at this crucial moment, we encountered another obstacle, One of our team member quitted the competition due to some time managing problems. We were frustrated, according to the rules, we must have at least three people in a team. Leo Lei and I immediately began to look for new member, fortunately, under Mr.Bryan’s help, Leo Li’s appearance rekindled the hope of our life. 

Reloaded with energy, the shooting was soon finished ,our “geliable”Leo Lei edited the the video in less than one day.After this highly stressful week of working ,we finally got some time to catch our breath. 

At the September 27th exhibition, we saw all the products of the other teams, Eco-tech's UAV and SPIN's centrifuge left deep impressions on me. We focused on the practicality and scalability of the product during the interpretation, Lego Prototype was used to do live demonstrations, finally, we got the judger’s approval.                                           

On Thursday afternoon, the second day of the show, Miss D released the results of the competition.all the teams were extremely strong, none of us had the courage to ask.Finally, Leo Li hesitatingly decided to log on to his CMS.  From his joyful smile we were hinted with a sign of good news, he dreamed out:”First place for costume, second place for project!.”Well, it seems that our pay has been rewarded satisfactorily, looking back on the past few weeks, short but substantial.  

During the competition, due to some physical reasons, I had to go to the hospital every day, in the whole two weeks, my life was like half a day hospital, half day classes, and project after school.Leo Lei also made a lot of sacrifices for the project, he he canceled his extracurricular activities,  and we spent two whole weekends in the Mak-er Space.Leo Li who joined our project later also played a vital role during the interpretation, and of course, his “perfect” performance in the promotional video was the most impressive thing he had done to our team.Under the urgency of the time and high pressure of the assessments , we were totally pleased with the result ,though maybe there are still a lot of flaws in our product that needs to be perfected, but at least we've taken this project seriously and done everything within our capability.The process was tensive and enjoyable, with the spiritual support of each other, we have already got the most valuable things.This is probably the end of the competition, but our project is still updating, we planned to use the bonus to install light perception equipments and try to put our “electromagnet idea”into practice.We are aiming to apply our model into real life to solve the substantive problems we are facing and bring people convenience.  


Below is some memoirs of Leo Li:

After 2 weeks long struggle, finally we need to face the fatal night. Early at 5:30, all the teams were assembled at 6th floor, starting to set up their booth. With all the appealing products the other ‘makers’ team’ had made, I couldn't stop asking myself: Could we possibly get into the top 3?                                                                 

All the audience arrived at 6 o’clock, chatting freely in the room next to us and forming a great contrast with the nervous ambience in the exhibiting room. Thanks to the teachers, pizzas and refreshes were bought to calm us down. With everyone’s’ stomach filled with delicious meal, the night sky got darker, yet less figures could be observed in the campus. Candidates started to gather themselves together and get ready for the exhibition in coming. Soon, staffs told us to line in sequence with our group umber in front of the guest room and waiting for the opening ceremony. All the team members followed their way into the room and briefly introduced their experience in doing their products through speeches, most of which were improvised.  Some humorous often appeared within those improvise and making our nervousness seized a little bit. After the opening ceremony candidates went out throng the door to their own booth, the competition began!


Demonstration tool 

I was pretty relaxed until the first audience came in, chatting with my members and fooling around with products of other groups. But when the 1st audience strode toward our booth, my mind blew out, ‘What shall I say!!’ The consequence was nonsense followed by inaccurate details. Our leader therefore anxiously interrupted me, started a perfectly commercial introduction of our product, yet complimented the practicability and the huge probability of it to be popularized. Having seen the outstanding performance of my leader, I was hugely encouraged. When a few more audience walked by our booth, I tried my best to make the introduction appealing and conveyed all the good qualities of our product. Sometime there were more than 3 audience in front of the booth, meaning we could not serve to all of them, so we need to raise our voices to cover the sound of the demonstrations of the other groups and insert useful details into our introduction to make sure the latter coming audience had all the information he need and the previous one finding it not lofty. This was a difficult thing to overcome, but thanks to the patience of the audience, who were all willing to listen to our introductions. Over and over again, we repeated the same introduction with countless times. Some customers were inquisitive, who brought us with a lot possible applications and improve methods that we hadn't even thought of. These customers usually very interested at our designs, therefore their questions were fairly instrumental and let us learn a lot, yet contributed to the possible development of our product in the future.

The most impressive audience to me, was a foreign customer who had a tall figure and asked deep questions. He was so inquisitive that we told him all the designs of our product, including the use of budget, the choice of materials and the outcome of our team shirts, which he showed a great interest at. Therefore, when we mentioned that we actually drew the logo by ourselves he asked to buy one. We were absolutely surprised by this unpredicted incident, since none of us proposed to sell our shirts. But finally, we decided to sell one because we fortunately had a spare and we sold it by 100 Yuan. Every audience projected different conversation. I remembered clearly the last audience spent a lot of time standing in front of our booth and asking about our applications, and astonishingly suggested us to make a final version and apply for patent! This was another shock to us, no one had ever contemplated about selling our product for real on the market, therefore applying patent obviously had never appeared in our plan. But this instructive idea gave our members a great move, and since we have budgets right now, so everyone agreed to set applying patent as a target to finish our final product. The whole exhibition was not over until 8 o’clock. When the final audience left the room, we slammed ourselves on the long bench and exhaled deeply.

Explaining the principle to the judges   

This completion had provided me with a lot of new knowledges, broadened my scope and offered me with an experience of peddling. Although my feet were hurt and throat was sore afterwards, all the strive was worshiped, yet all was a memorable recall.


A Group photo of RLR  

(Report/Reany Wang, Leo Li, Leo Lei)

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