Outreach projects

Collaboration with Howest

Every year a limited number of students is offered the chance to spend a longer time in IMEC. These 'in residence'-projects are designed for youngsters who share a multidisciplinary background, a hands-on mentality and a creative, open mind. Today such a collaboration is set up with the department industrial design of Howest, the university college of West Flanders.

In its collaboration with Howest (Hogeschool West-Vlaanderen), imec offers industrial design students the chance to get acquainted its R&D. With these projects, imec wants to open up its research to the designers and thinkers of tomorrow’s technologies. Jan Leyssens, master student at Howest, was challenged to integrate imec’s large-area solar cells in a daily product. The solar cells had to create an added value and emphasize the strength of new solar technologies. His research and work resulted in a laptop that runs on 2 solar cells only and is fully designed in the spirit of virtualization. The laptop should be considered as a proof of concept that illustrates today’s main technical bottlenecks for the successful use of solar cells in day-to-day applications: the low voltage generated by the solar cells is insufficient to get the laptop up and running without very long charging times. But apparently  Freescale is working on ultra low power dc-to-dc converters (see the webinar here.)

You can read more about his project here (the thesis only exists in Dutch).


Jasper Aelvoet, also industrial design student at Howest, worked on the integration of RFID tags in a jewel powered by IMEC's organic solar cells. Jasper worked out a concept where the bracelet acts as a "silent baby monitor"; the bracelet vibrates when the child starts crying. After an intensive research period Jasper developed two main concepts for the bracelet: 'CLICK' and 'SLIDE'. Both concepts are shown below. The 'CLICK- bracelet' was eventually materialized.