The J. Hyneman Center (JHC), in collaboration with the Association of Finnish Wood Industries, challenges students from LUT Universities to brainstorm and build wooden machines. The machines must be functional and consist of at least three parts, but their purpose is open-ended. The material used must be primarily wood or processed wood.
"Wood was chosen as the competition material because it is a common, affordable, safe, and durable material that is easy to work with. Wood can also be used in applications where it is not often seen today, such as in machines," says Terhi Virkki-Hatakka, the project manager of the JHC.
The sponsor of the JHC Building Challenge is the Association of Finnish Wood Industries, which has donated 3,000 euros for the purpose. The judging panel will select five teams for the competition, each receiving 400 euros in material funding. The panel includes inventor Jamie Hyneman, who will be visiting Finland in October, as well as representatives from the JHC and the Association of Finnish Wood Industries. The competition winner will receive a prize of 1,000 euros.
"The wood industry needs innovations and new thinking. The competition theme aligns perfectly with these ideas, which is why we want to encourage students to explore this topic," says Janne Liias, executive manager at the Association of Finnish Wood Industries.
Liias states that the association is looking forward to the students' work.
"We hope that students would become enthusiastic about the wood industry and bring fresh perspectives to our sector. Hopefully, this is just the beginning, and we can continue our collaboration with LUT."
High utilization rate throughout the COVID-19 pandemic
The challenge is announced on the anniversary of the JHC's opening on September 29. Exactly five years ago, the J. Hyneman Center, a prototyping lab at LUT University, was founded. Prototyping lab is named after Jamie Hyneman, who has increasingly been involved in the operations of the JHC over the years.
Prototyping lab has well over a thousand users from University and the LAB University of Applied Sciences. In 2023 alone, over 700 students have completed the orientation test that grants access to the workshop. Students come to JHC to work on course projects, theses, or their own ideas. Virkki-Hatakka explains that even the COVID-19 pandemic did not halt the activities; the JHC has had prototype builders all along. JHC is equipped with a wide variety of tools that are free of charge to all users.
The JHC's spring seminar has established itself as an annual affair in LUT's calendar, serving as a promotional event for various course projects and bringing people together. Some of the JHC's most well-known projects include the electric motorcycle JHC Ukkonen and the telepresence robot Hynebot.
Application period September 29–October 15
Based on students’ applications, the top five ideas will be selected to receive funding for material procurement. To participate in the competition, register via this Webropol-form.
Building period October 23–November 24
During a one month building phase, the groups will receive guidance and mentoring from Jamie Hyneman, who will be visiting Finland from October 13 to 23, 2023.
Results by December 1
Students will present their work, and the best project will be awarded in a seminar at the end of November. Speeches from the Association of Finnish Wood Industries and Jamie Hyneman will be featured. The seminar is part of the JHC's anniversary celebration.