TU student team wins global Airbus competition

The The Zero Heroes team at TU Delft has won the Airbus Fly Your Ideas competition. The team was awarded the title of best aerospace-related innovation.

The Zero Heroes proudly present their award in front of the EEMCS-building. (Photo: The Zero Heroes)

On 28 June, The Zero Heroes won the finals of the Airbus Fly Your Ideas competition. Out of 284 student teams, the TU Delft students came out on top and won the prestigious title of ‘best aerospace-related innovation’. Besides an award, the team will receive financial support from Airbus to further develop the system and possibly bring it to market.

Future innovation

The Airbus Fly Your Ideas competition challenges students worldwide to innovate the future of aerospace. This year’s edition focused on using digital technologies to create smart solutions.
The TU Delft team called ‘The Zero Heroes’ developed a wireless switch that harvests its power from the mechanical energy that a passenger provides as she presses the button.

How does it work?

Inside the switch box, there is a magnet and a coil. Every time the button is pressed, the magnet rotates 180 degrees and generates a short blip of current in the coil. That tiny bit of energy suffices to power an electronic circuit that sends a packet of information to the central system.

Every passenger seat in an aircraft has a number of switches with several functions: light, flight attendant, and selection of the entertainment system. Altogether, these switches feed into large and heavy wire harnesses.

A wireless switch could do away with a large part of the cables. Plus, they could be inserted as sensors into seats, tables, safety belts, and reclining backrests. The crew would be able to monitor hundreds of seats with a single view on a monitor, for example when the seatbelts need to be attached.

Cant wait to get started

In Toulouse, where the finals were held, the team picked up a share of the €45,000 prize fund to take their idea forward within the industry. According to team member Niels Hokke, they can’t wait to get started. “How cool would it be if we could actually take aerospace a step further? And that, with such a simple idea.” 

For fellow team member Ashvij Narayanan, winning the competition was not only a great achievement considering that there were 284 entrants from all over the world, but “it is also important that we contribute to innovation in the aerospace sector in order to achieve a sustainable future in aviation.”

According to Narayanan the acknowledgment the team got from Airbus also replicates the quality of research that goes on at TU Delft. “This is just one example of the many innovative ideas born at TU Delft which go on to transform industry and thus the world.” 

Watch the clip that the students made in order to present their idea: