Author: Nikita Talwaria -
I took part in TEDI-London’s 2020 summer school challenge, where our collective goal was to come up with some kind of product or service which could help turn Canada Water into a dementia friendly community.
Covid-19 affected a lot of similar internships for students this summer, but TEDI decided to adapt their internship at the last minute and put it online. The school split us into groups looking at indoor, outdoor, and AI-based innovations, and further sub-teams within that. I worked in a team of 7 students from different educational backgrounds and we had to work through Microsoft Teams to come up with an indoor solution which could benefit people living with dementia.
Over 6 weeks, we were able to proudly present a detailed business plan, a functional prototype, and an animated pitch video for our product: the StimU-Panel. It felt like the quickest 6 weeks of my life, constantly learning by doing and what felt like a lot of improvisation. I started the project with absolutely no business knowledge, but TEDI-London hosted and recorded many sessions to bridge the gaps in everyone’s knowledge. These topics included how to speak to people living with dementia, how to conduct market research, how to go about creating a prototype remotely, and even networking talks.
My own personal experience with my grandfather was backed up with evidence from a few studies for us to draw one conclusion which shaped our entire idea: sensory stimulation improves brain function. We took this and developed a set of panels which could provide visual, audio, and tactile stimulation for a person, but could be integrated seamlessly into their indoor environments.
The business perspective
We had to research and consider things like how much this product would cost to make on an industrial scale, what kind of advertising we would need, and how much money we would ask an investor for to achieve this. One of the hardest challenges we encountered revolved around the creation of our prototype. With a pandemic going on, trips to the lab were not classed as a necessity, but we were fortunate enough to have a team member who had a lot of the necessary equipment in her house to create functional prototypes.
Our overall experience
Working remotely was an incredibly surreal experience, but it gave me the unique opportunity to work in a team with people who were working from all over the world. TEDI taught me a lot about the importance of making mistakes and failing over and over again, as well as seizing as many opportunities as I can. I’m so glad I decided to go for it and apply for the summer school, and couldn’t recommend it enough to anyone who wants to gain some sort of interning experience.
Nikita Talwaria (a University of Bath MSc Chemical Engineering student) and her team at TEDI-London 2020 Summer school present a new product they have worked on (Credits for the video: Animation - Kiara Carroll, UNSW Sydney, Narration - Aoife Lynch, Dublin City University).