Since our device is targeting the athletic market, we are conducting primary interviews by crashing the various sporting events. As typical Imperial people, talking to random strangers and trying to get them to help you has not been our strengths.
Last Sunday, we went to a long-distance running event in Hyde Park. It was scary to approach people at the start. However, everyone seemed to be really helpful and our fear was quickly dispelled. It was a fruitful day that gave us a lot of useful insights on the market perception of our device.
One of the most exciting part of the project is the freedom to explore the various technologies available for its students in Imperial. Laser cutter has been a powerful tool to produce intricate patterns on various materials, such as wood, as well as cutting them into clean shapes. The 3D printers in Imperial, with the right modelling softwares, can produce precise models. Both tools are useful while making the prototype.
We have created simple drawings with AutoCAD. Here is a cupcake for you!
Initially, we were part of Make-A-Difference by Faculty of Natural Sciences (FoNS-MAD). It has a similar nature as IP Wise Up in the sense that it offers a 8-week placement in summer. However, it did not offer the two weeks of Intellectual Property Workshop before the placement. We got through the first two rounds before being eliminated in the final round. That was at the end of May 2015, two weeks before the start of the final exam for 2nd year Biochemists. Having put in a few months’ worth of effort into a project that we believed in so strongly, that was a bitter pill to swallow.
Rebecca from FoNS-MAD kindly suggested that we could try our luck on IP Wise Up if we were keen to work on our ideas. We pulled ourselves together and during the last few days of our exam period and applied for IP Wise Up. We were so glad we ended up here.
IP Wise Up changed our perspective
FoNS-MAD was a technical competition that had a focus on the strength of the scientific theory. In contrast, IP Wise Up offers a 2-week training programme on intellectual property and marketing.
Our focus in the past had been making the perfect prototype with high performance and great accuracy. However, through the IP Wise Up workshop, we learnt about the different parts of the value chain used to penetrate a market. It is important to begin with the end in mind. Before investing the time and energy into making a product, it is important to find where your market is and whether there is a realistic demand for it. We learnt to talk to our preferred witness without revealing our product to gain an unbiased opinion and understand the market. It is easy to lose track of the big picture while navigating through all the technical difficulties, but sometimes zooming out and examining the whole project from a distance helps to re-orientate ourselves.
Zhe Lu in Thailand, summer 2014
The topic of our project was chosen by Zhe. He is an avid gym-goer and an aspiring medic. He saw a realistic need in a compact device which monitors real-time dehydration in the human body through one of his shadowing experience in a hospital as well as through his athletic background.
We started around March 2015. Looking back at our first draft of the project outline, it is almost unrecognisable. We have made several revisions to the methodology before finally settling on optics. Optical means can be tricky because it is highly sensitive to changes in the environment and its signal to noise ratio would be so low that the data does not reflect any meaningful trend. However, it is compact, inexpensive and non-invasive, making it the perfect candidate for us.
Hi everyone! We are Team Stratosphere, and you can call us Stratie. This is the official blog documenting our journey in IP Wise Up. We are a team of four undergraduates, Zhe, Siyuan and Shiqi are going onto their 3rd year of Biochemistry, and Tianyou (read: TNU) is going onto his 3rd year of EEE. Zhe, Siyuan and Shiqi have known each other before the competition, and Tianyou was a school friend of Zhe’s.