On the last day of November 2017, many people came to Graz to see the digital projects of the future.

Here are the EYA creative digital projects winners from the perspective of the communication design students:

Once again it was time for the EYAs, which is the abbreviation for European Youth Awards. The audience was not left empty-handed either: after receiving information material, a ten-sided drawing block and a very nice blue bottle of water, the audience took a seat in the crowd and got to know the winning projects of the year. We started with the first category “Healthy Life” with two teams in it:
OTmotion from Cyprus: A data glove with which you can e. g. use to create your own data. Fruit Ninja can play. The aim is to offer a cost-efficient therapeutic option for curing movement impairments. The movements are recorded and stored in a cloud for further analysis. Unfortunately, the therapeutic aspect seemed to have been added to the project in order to be able to apply for this project.
Synergy of Health from Serbia: If you google your own disease symptoms, you get frightening results, even if it is only a cold. In the case of mental illnesses, misdiagnoses are often even more serious and more serious. This is why this app was developed. You enter your symptoms and four psychologists evaluate them instead of an algorithm. You receive feedback and therapy suggestions. There were no pictures of a prototype, so this presentation was not very convincing.

The second category called “Smart Learning” included the following projects:
Box of Words from Norway: If you want to learn a new language, you may know the problem that words that are useless for a conversation, such as exotic animal names or similar things, are often taught. This app starts with the upload of a personal text piece, which is analyzed for the most common words and made available on the basis of its personalized learning material. The main target group is immigrants in Norway. All in all a nice idea, but unfortunately the target group was added later and the market is flooded with language learners at the moment.
Erase All Kittens from Great Britain: The world of programmers is male-dominated. This is what the makers of this project want to change. In Erase All Kittens you learn HTML, CSS and Java while controlling a character through levels and solving problems by coding. Maybe it was the concept, but perhaps also the fact that the project was the most advanced. During the presentation, instead of many slides, in-game videos were shown, pictures of a workshop in Syria were presented and the concept was coherent. Although it is not free and comparable offers are available, Erase All Kittens was clearly one of the best projects.

plan. uni from Austria: After the joy of being accepted at a university, it is usually sobering to have to create a timetable using obsolete and obsolete pages. Even if it gets easier with every semester, the team of plan. uni has taken care of this really annoying problem. With plan. uni you have created a clearly arranged and modern app that is already used at many universities and will probably receive even more traffic in the future. Compared to the other projects in this category, it deals with a smaller problem, but seems to solve it extraordinarily well.

In the fourth category “Connecting Cultures” three projects won the race:
Share on Bazaar from Germany: The aim of this project is to create a community of newcomers and local people. You give your own abilities and then look for the skills of others for your own projects. The exchange stands thereby in the foreground and one can evaluate other people. In itself a nice idea, but unfortunately the project offers great potential for abuse and loss of quality at this stage. For example, if someone assigns skills to which he is not really powerful, projects could be put at risk and become inferior. Through the rating system you will only contact the established “newcomers”, people who are really new or people who may have gotten a bad rating will probably go unnoticed. Large companies could use the site to offer jobs for starvation wages, as newcomers often cannot estimate the value of their work. In the presented stage the project convinced at most because of the idea, but many points remained unnoticed.

Integreat from Germany: A truly ambitious project that aims to provide new arrivals and especially refugees in Germany with a kind of digital information package. In addition to important addresses of e. g. Doctors, regulatory authorities

Impressions through the eyes of the media designers:

In the end of november, 17 young entrepreneurs from across the globe gathered at the FH Joanneum to present their award winning projects in front of a diverse panel of international judges. The European Youth Award (EYA) aims to motivate and inspire young people across Europe to “ develop digital solutions for underlying problems they encounter in their societies ”. These problem solving projects are divided into nine different categories, ranging from Healthy Lifestyle, Smart Learning, Go Green, to Open Innovation, Sustainable Economics and
Connecting Cultures.

The Media Design class of 2017 has been present at the event and would like to share our impressions about some of the project and general takeaways in this blog post. After introducing the panel of judges for the presentations, the first group of young entrepreneurs took the stage:

OT motion: Democratizing Rehabilitation
The charismatic trio of young Greeks kicked of the afternoon by presenting their project: OT motion, short for Occupation Therapy motion. The group’s 19 year old Business Development Manager Orestis Skoutellas briefly explained OT motion’s vision and concept. They want to provide cost effective, high quality rehabilitation devices for everybody in need across the globe. By using IoT technology, the group developed a small robotic glove with sensors, which allows therapists to assign customizable exercises to their patients, which will in turn have more fun performing those exercises via OT motion’s gamified approach. While the product was not directly connected to our major of “Media Design”, it was interesting to see their approach to change a demanding and exhausting exercise to an enjoyable fun experience by using gamification.

Synergy of Health
Synergy of Health aims to provide professional yet fast and easily accessible help for mental health problems online. According to their Team Leader Slobodan Cvijovic, the internet nowadays is oversaturated with incorrect information. Synergy of Health developed an app which is designed to educate young people, which are most vulnerable to mental health problems yet have the most experience with smart devices, about these types of problems. Another strength of the project lies within the anonymity of the user. People can access a vast array of clinically approved data. The app was presented nicely and the issue at hand is a tough and important topic to tackle. While the team leader did his best to bring the idea and vision across, the visual presentation (including video in the beginning) could have had more impact if prepared more thoroughly. Especially classes like narrative and dramaturgie spring to mind when thinking about how to improve the emotional aspect of the presentation.

Box of Words
The dynamic Norwegian Co- founder and developer Ole Andreas Biggey was the third entrepreneur to share his vision. Delighted with a message he just received about a €200k grant his project received earlier that morning, he was ready to present his project: Box of Words. Box of Words is a personalized learning app. While other apps, which, according to Ole are ” also doing a great job”, Box of Words stands out through its personalisation. Users first set up their account by entering their preferences like hobbies, interests etc.

The learning process will then be customized according to the users interests, therefore vocabulary only relevant to the user’s field of interests will be learned. As students, we’ve all been there: learning a new language. Plowing through hours of useless vocabulary and and difficult grammar. Having the possibility to really study what is important to oneself, therefore actually be applicable in real life definitely sounds like an incredible opportunity for us.

Plan.uni is a scheduling app for students to fill in their courses, extracurricular activities and part time job etc. The app provides an algorithm which detects when classes are changed and will immediately adjust the calendar accordingly. While we at FH Joanneum don’t have to schedule our own semesters, we certainly can relate to the appealing idea of having all of our time planned out in one single app!

Erase all kittens
Last but definitely not final, the inspiring team behind “Erase all kittens” took the stage. The web-based platform game teaches 8-14 year old children real coding language in a gamified way. The main idea behind the project is to tackle the stigma behind “technology is only for boys”, by encouraging young girls in a playful way to learn coding. This learning by doing approach by the Erase all kittens team has been incredibly enlightening for us. What looks like boring, time consuming theory, can actually be learned in a fun and playful way – do we need to say more?!? In general, the event has been a remarkable experience for our team, seeing all those young entrepreneurs pursuing their dreams while making our world a better place, one innovation at a time.

Impressions through the eyes of the sound designers:

Student 1: „Except of some videos, there was almost no sound integrated in the presentations. And even if, it was mostly not accurate. Partly the presentations were also not precise enough. The honk every three minutes was almost the only sound in the room. What I really liked was the presentation of “Erase all kittens”.

Student 2: „I liked two projects pretty much. My favorite is daraty, which introduces children to electronics at an early age. I wish I’d had it in the old days. The second one is also cool: “BanHate”. It has never been so easy to report opinions with which you don’t agree. Instead of open and honest discourse, all you have to do is report someone through the user-friendly interface. A great system, which surely cannot be abused by users. For the fact that the app has only 500 downloads (on Android) there is unfortunately a point deduction.”

Student 3: “My favorite is ”plan. uni”. It helps students to quickly and easily view the often confusing timetable. Changes to the timetable are displayed. Additional Uni specific services can also be integrated into the app. I think the app is a good idea, because different university timetables are often confusing and with this app you can quickly get the information about the next lecture.”

Student 4: “I was a bit uncomfortable with the presentation of Synergy of Health. The app may be justified: it may help people who would otherwise not be able to get help because of their mental disorder or for other reasons. Nevertheless, I still have concerns about the issues of remote diagnosis and symptoms “googleing” (in my opinion, this problem was not really solved by the demand). However, my discomfort had a different origin: the overdramatic music, which introduced the presentation, had a deterrent effect on me as a sound designer. I do not think that this kind of empathy with the sledgehammer has anything to do with a public presentation or a serious topic like this. More subtle music would certainly have been more appropriate and effective here.”

Student 5: “My favorite is “Erase all Kittens (E. A. K)”. The game purposefully reduces the still existing gap between boys and girls in relation to technique (user distribution: 55% f / 45% m). The playfully learned programming skills can be the starting point for a stronger interest in this field, which subsequently enables individual, creative and independent work in the most diverse areas.”

Projects from the EYA 2016 can be seen here: http://idk.fh-joanneum.at/2016/12/16/european-youth-award-2016/

The presented creative digital projects by the EYA 2017 Winners were:

✩ OTmotion, Cyprus
✩ Synergy of Health – Mobile app as a “tool” for mental health!, Serbia
✩ Box of Words – Personalized Language Learning, Norway
✩ Erase All Kittens – Video Game Teaching Coding to Kids, United Kingdom
✩ plan.uni – find time for and around university, Austria
✩ Integreat – The mobile guide for refugees, Germany
✩ SchoolFox – the messenger app connecting teachers and parents, Austria
✩ Share on Bazaar – Empowering newcomers and locals alike through skillsharing community, Germany
✩ Clean City – Social network where members participate in the cleanliness of their cities, Morocco
✩ BanHate – First mobile application against online occurring hate speech, Austria
✩ Be Responsible, Montenegro
✩ My Day, Kosovo
✩ DOT TO DOT – remaking the city, United Kingdom
✩ MUB Cargo – the easiest way to get the cheapest shipping service, Portugal
✩ Miwuki – Adopt a pet, save a life, gain a friend, Spain
✩ SOS121, Bosnia and Herzegovina
✩ Daraty, Syria

Text & Photography: CMS17