Hosted in Shenzhen, China, by the Universities of Chicago, and Southern California, VIA was delighted to co-sponsor the 2019 Francis & Rose Yuen Tech Innovation Challenge, an event that invited students from the world’s top-tier colleges and universities to compete against each other on a specific technology challenge. This year the event centered on designing tech solutions for co-living spaces that are both environmentally friendly, and sustainable.
Co-Living, a Housing Solution for a New Decade?
There are many factors that we may consider when we find a place to call home; we’d like a location with good proximity to the workplace, maybe one that isn’t too far from the relatives, and definitely a space and size that meets our needs, expectations and lifestyle. Of course the other major factor is budget, so often the deciding factor when choosing a place to live.
One answer for some people is the idea of co-living spaces where residents share living, kitchen and community areas, whilst having the privacy of their own room. It’s an idea that not only offers better flexibility in terms of location, size and budget, it also offers a more environmentally friendly, sustainable long-term solution.
Another contributing factor that adds weight to the development of co-living spaces, is the global shortage of affordable homes in many countries, especially for recent graduates and unmarried workers under 30, a sector of society where traditional residential property is often beyond their means.
Over three jam-packed days, students involved in the Tech Innovation Challenge cooked up a range of ideas that could completely change the blueprint for co-living development. They worked tirelessly, to plan, create, and then pitch their idea before a panel of judges, each with the following criteria in mind:
- Product: what problem would their idea solve, and is it a unique, reasonable and realistic application?
- Programming: how well is it engineered, and how easy is it for an average user to understand?
- People: what insights were gained in consumer research, and how did that influence the final product?
- Pitch: how was the product/idea presented, and how well were questions from the judges handled?
And the Winning Team Is?
While each team put together a creative, innovative and smart solution, only one could walk away with the crown. The eventual winning team put together an intelligent object recognition system which detects each item of general household garbage, discerning and recognizing recyclable materials such as glass, paper, and plastic.
The key winning feature of this innovation was the idea to implement machine learning. This means the system would theoretically be capable of improving accuracy over time, and thus ensuring the solution would meet all of the judge’s expectations – to be environmentally friendly and sustainable, while also continuing to improve the quality of ‘co-living’ spaces.
VIA would like to thank the organizers of the event; the University of Chicago and the University of Southern California, as well the judges and of course the students who gave up valuable winter breaks to travel and share their ideas. The event was a great success, and an example our support for AI and other advanced technologies in education.
Learn more about the 2019 Francis & Rose Yuen Tech Innovation Challenge.