Smart methods for efficient solutions

ESB students at the Smart Green Island Makeathon 2024

47 countries, 4 days, 7 topics: At the 7th Smart Green Island Makeathon over 900 participants from 70 universities from all over Europe came together in teams to develop ideas for a better future. Professor Dr Jochen Orso, Leon Romankiewicz, Maximilian Bez and Moritz Blechmann travelled to Gran Canaria for the event on behalf of ESB Business School. Its main topics were Smart Green Energy, Smart Green Mobility, Smart Farming, Smart Automation, Smart Production, Smart Building und Circular Economy.

This is how it started

After arriving in Gran Canaria, the team from Reutlingen used the opportunity to make a short tour of the island. Dr Rainer Stetter, owner and managing director of the organising company ITQ GmbH, welcomed the students and their professor to the Makeathon the following day, saying that the aim of the event was to reach out to young people and generate enthusiasm for technology.   

The task

To optimise the motion sequence of a robot’s arm for gripping and sorting steel parts with a view to minimising energy consumption. The challenge was organised together with the company Trumpf and supported by igus, MVTec and MathWorks. Professor Orso and his team adopted a considered approach to the task.   Using creativity methods from the TRIZ spectrum (‘Theory of inventive problem solving’), the students examined the topic of energy-efficient robot motion ‘out of the box’.


With the aid of ‘Smart Little People’ methodology, the team brainstormed the idea of using only certain axes of the robot and of technically lifting the arm with a gas balloon, a tension spring and a counterweight. Another idea emerged with the ‘Chain of Problems and Solutions’: A permanent magnet was to hold and transport parts without an external energy supply.

The result

After extensive preliminary considerations with creative thinking, the students tried to put their ideas into practice. Due to technical difficulties and problems, time pressure started to increase. In the end, however, the ESB team was able to present its results to all the other teams.  A newly devised counterweight on the robot alone resulted in energy savings of 25 %.

The conclusion

The team of ESB Business School travelled back to Reutlingen with new contacts, many technical and methodological insights and unforgettable memories. A repeat next year? Gladly!