During the past weekend, on October 20-22, Garage48 launched a new hardware hackathon as the Garage48 Wood was held in the Võru County Vocational Training Centre in Väimela, Estonia.
The event brought together wood industry specialists and students of design, architecture and woodwork from Estonia and Latvia, who showed an extremely high level of prototyping power in creating real wooden objects and finding solutions for wood industry challenges. The winner of the hackathon, Bike Box, created a foldable bike basket, that meets the needs of a mobile urban person by making groceries transportation more comfortable.
“We spent the weekend in Väimela, near Võru town, doing the first ever wood hackathon in Estonia and the Baltics, maybe in the world. The event had an unbelievable level of energy and ideas. For a while now we haven’t had 36 ideas pitched on Friday evening, from which 18 gathered teams around them. It felt like the first Garage48 Hardware & Arts hackathon in the Baltics we organised 5 years ago. As if the brightest minds and most skilled hands from the wood sector had gathered with the most outstanding ideas, to make something really awesome happen. New initiatives like Garage48 Wood tend to have a special magic in them,” says Priit Salumaa, the moderator and mentor of the event and the co-founder of Garage48, Mooncascade and MobileMonday Estonia.
Garage48 Wood was the opening event of the Wood & Furniture Project in the Interreg Estonia-Latvia Programme and was co-organised by Garage48, TSENTER Centre of Competence for Wood Processing and Furniture Manufacturing and Vidzeme Planning Region. The aim of the event was to connect working wood industry professionals with woodworking, design and architecture students & practicioners from Estonia and Latvia, and to give the wood industry practicioners a fast prototyping and innovating experience. And this is exactly what happened. From the opening evening, the hackathon proved to be an ambitious discovery, with 100 participants gathered from Estonia and Latvia and an amazing number of initial ideas presented. Participants included students from Art Academy of Latvia, Estonian Academy of Arts and Ergli Vocational School, working practicioners from wood and furniture companies in Estonia and Latvia and woodworking hobbyists.
The built prototypes ranged from wooden games to a system for universal structures’ joints. Many ideas aimed at multifunctional and compact solutions in furniture or wooden products, such as a foldable fishing boat or smart furniture for dogs. The working prototypes presented on Sunday evening amazed the jury members and audience and it was a tight competition for the winner title as the execution and quality level of the built wooden products was really high.
An important part in making this hackathon into the success it was, is the venue of the Võru County Vocational Training Centre with it’s amazing machine park and fully equipped woodworking rooms in the Väimela Tech House and TSENTER rooms. The participants had access to all the woodworking machines and tools thanks to the on-site wood processing teachers, who assisted the use of the machines and mentored the participants throughout the whole weekend. In addition to wood, the participants could use materials and equipment for metalworking, textile and exterior decoration.
“The dynamic of the event is so intense and exhausting, but when you see the process and the motivation of the teams succeed, you get adrenaline and power to continue. This is a great opportunity for all the participants to exchange their knowledge – the best way to study and get the experience from different sectors and overall cooperation regarding product development, wood processing and management processes,” comments Jörgen Dobris, one of the key mentors and support to the teams at the event, Wood industry development manager at Võru County Vocational Training Centre.
As mentors for the teams, Martin Melioranski and Renee Puusepp from Estonian Academy of Arts, PhD Aija Freimane from Art Academy of Latvia, Nauris Grandans and Kristaps Ziverts from Forest and Wood Products Research and Development Institute in Latvia, joined the event to share their knowledge and skills throughout the weekend and support the prototype making.
Garage48 Wood Head Organizer
+372 504 56 06
Photogallery Enjoy the photos of the hackathon and the really cool wooden prototypes, made by Taavi Karu and Sandra Eowyn Karu.