When I came to the EYA-presentation I had absolutely no idea what it was about. Young European people. Probably. However, it soon became clear that this was a community of young entrepreneurs, aiming to improve society with digital technology. Listening to several presentations I noticed their aiming to be true: every project was trying to do some good. For medicine, disabled people, our environment, etc. But you have to keep in mind one thing: these people are not doing charity, they are entrepreneurs. And even if they aim to improve something, they want to make money in the first place. However, it was impressive to see people at that young age developing digital products that could really make an impact in the future and I enjoyed listening to their talks. Yet the presentations were really short and as a matter of fact the products were introduced quite superficially. This is why I had a hard time evaluating how mature the products really were.
To give you a little insight about my thoughts and what I learned, I am going to introduce you to a few presentations I remember the most:
FOREST & CLIMATE
Forest and Climate (Sume i klima) is an online platform educating about reasonable afforestation. They use f.e. satellite data to evaluate where to plant trees and which species would fit best. In times of the climate crisis more and more people, companies and organizations want to plant trees. But without any further knowledge, their efforts are often more or less pointless. I really liked that the platform is more about educating than selling something. I actually never thought about planting trees being a complex process that should be well thought out. I think it is great that they draw attention to this issue.
EYE BUILD IT
Eye Built It is an eye tracking program making it possible to build objects in 3D just with your eyes. The built objects can then be brought into the real world with a 3D printer. Since the program is controlled with eye tracking even people who can’t use a mouse or keyboard are not left out. There is also an online community, where people can communicate and exchange their thoughts and work.
I really like this project, because projects like that are a huge step towards a more inclusive world. The good thing is that eye tracking is not only a cool thing for people with disabilities. It’s an innovative technology that is interesting and fascinating for everyone.
After the game Path Out was presented, one of the first jury questions was: „Why is this game beneficial for society?“. And even though it is just a game, not improving something right away, I think it is quite obvious why this game is great. Path Out is an autobiographical game, telling the story of Abdullah, a young Syrian artist, who escaped the civil war. The game is just telling a story, nothing else, but it creates an understanding why people leave their countries, rebuts stereotypes and creates empathy for Abdullah, the refugee. I love the concept and that you can play the game for free. Even though all it does is basically to tell a story, but in fact it is doing so much more. Storytelling can help to change minds to the better and that is something really important!
ImagiLabs is a platform that wants to help girls learn to code in a playful and experimental way. Which is a good thing, I guess. But there were a few things I didn’t like too much. I think it would be great to have a program/platform that also attracts girls to do more with technology. But I don’t like the fact that ImagiLabs is ONLY for girls. I don’t think that excluding boys is the right way to get more girls into coding. Moreover, ImagiLabs is a smart learning platform, an educational tool, but it is quite expensive. I like the attempt to boost girls, but I don’t think that education should be that expensive. At least not, if you really want to change something.