To finish the project we created a roadmap of our process:
The previous five weeks we have been working on the “Bones” project. Together with coach Dafydd Visscher (later referred to as Dafydd) we have been looking for a universal so-called ‘scaffold’ to help burn victims with reconstructing their damaged ears. At the start, the aim of the project was a bit vague to us. We thought that we were ‘just another group of students’ who would work on something that wasn’t genuinely useful for the VUmc. When we got further into the process, we started understanding the meaning of the project more and more (what does a “general” or “ideal” pattern actually mean in this context?). And more important, it became clearer what our function was within the project. The deeper we got into the project, and thus the more we learned about the subject, the more exciting it became.
The first week was all about researching, and trying to understand the project’s goal. This start was a bit rough since the information was very new to us. We tried researching as much as we could, and tried scheduling meetings with the coaches. It was very nice to look into information other than ‘design-information’ for once. This project is in a way very related to the minor, but concerning the bio-medical part it is completely different. This was refreshing and in good balance with the other project of the minor. As for the following three/four weeks, it was all about finding a pattern, and looking into software that could provide this pattern for us. It was nice for us to work in Amsterdam with a lot of experts on different fields. When we got stuck somewhere in the process, there were always people wanting to help and try different things with us. That’s why we tried going to Amsterdam as much as we can. Also, our coach Dafydd Visscher was always open to questions and suggestions, which made us feel very welcome at the VUmc and which stimulated us to do even more for the project.
The Science Fair felt like icing on the cake. We had our stories straight and we were really proud of what we achieved, so we felt proud presenting our results at the Science Fair. A lot of interested people approached us with interesting questions, which we discussed thoroughly. Some of them were so excited about the project that they kept asking information, reaching subjects which went beyond our acquired knowledge, and raising even more questions along the way, which mattered to the project (e.g. “How is the dissolved biodegradable material later expelled from the body?”). Thanks to the presence of Dafydd all of the “extra” questions could be answered as well as allowing us to go even more into detail with the people who came to listen to our story. Concluding, the entire Science Fair was both a nice presentation of our achievements, and an extra learning moment for all of us.
Even though we managed to finish the project the way we wanted to, with realistic results, the project was very short. Five weeks isn’t enough, given the fact that the first week was focussed on understanding the assignment and biology behind it, and the last week was all about the Science Fair. This leaves three weeks for the actual project, and although this isn’t very long, we are proud to have achieved our initial goals. We all felt a bit sad when the five weeks were over, which is probably a good thing.
Overall the project was very refreshing, especially next to the other minor project which was more focused on construction, mechanics and form-concepts. It was also a very nice project because we had to tackle a challenging problem. We loved working with the people from VUmc, and we think our results are probably the best we could have achieved in this amount of time. We look back at the project with joy and pride, and obviously we are really glad with the grade we got. A special thanks to Dafydd for guiding and helping us, and ofcourse to everyone else involved in the process from VUmc.