Student Invention Takes Fear Out of Shaky Hands

International students from the euspen Challenge were given a technical problem to design a ‘quiet laser pointer’ which eliminated the transmission of trembling hands when giving a presentation. With limited materials and a twenty-four hour deadline, a prototype had to be developed and presented to a jury.

Jonathan Abir, who represented Cranfield University, UK and is also a PhD researcher within the EPSRC Centre in Ultra Precision said, “I relished the task of working with other students to solve a technical challenge with real life applications!”

euspen Challenge is an annual international competition held by euspen identifying students with potential to be future leaders in the field of precision engineering and nanotechnology. euspen and HEIDENHAIN GmbH hosted thirty European and international students 1st-3rd of July 2014 in Traunreut, Germany. Students were placed into ten teams and provided with a set of limited materials, tools and test equipment to help build a proto-type within twenty four hours.

The task was to solve a problem of trembling hands associated with using a laser pointer. Laser pointers are used to guide the eyes of the audience to relevant parts of a presentation but presenters with trembling hands often distract or even irritate the audience. Their solution had to be presented to a jury of academics and industrialists who deliberated for several hours before deciding upon the winners.

The Awards Ceremony took place at the Achental hotel in Grassau, Germany where prizes were awarded to Philip Blaser (CH), Wiktor Harmatys (PL), Joonas Lehtolahti (FI), who represented Team Gauss for the Overall Winning International Team”; Jonathan Abir (UK), Veronica Iacovacci (IT), Tomas Lazak (CZ) from Team Hertz who were awarded the “Best Presentation & Most Innovative Solution” and Yuzuka Isobe (JP), Michal Jankowski (PL) and Moritz Wiessner (CH) from Team Planck received their prize for “Best Performance of the Prototype”.

euspen is the European Society for Precision Engineering & Nanotechnology. Formed in 1999 by a group of leading industrialists and academics, it focuses on the development and exploitation of precision, micro and nanotechnologies. euspen is a membership society and provides a global networking forum.

Further details about euspen Challenge and photographs can be found at To join euspen membership or to get involved for euspen Challenge 2015, please contact Mrs Dishi Phillips.

Team Gauss - “Overall Winning International Team” L-R: Dr Wolfgang Holzapfel, HEIDENHAIN GmbH, Philip Blaser (ETH Zurich, CH), Wiktor Harmatys (Cracow University of Technology, PL), Joonas Lehtolahti (University of Eastern Finland, FI), Dr Wolfgang Knapp, euspen President.
Team Hertz -“Best Presentation & Most Innovative Solution” L-R: Dr Wolfgang Knapp, euspen President; Jonathan Abir (Cranfield University, UK), Veronica Iacovacci (Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, IT), Tomas Lazak (Czech Technical University, CZ)
Team Planck - “Best Performance of the Prototype” L-R: Dr Wolfgang Knapp, euspen President; Moritz Wiessner (ETH Zurich, CH), Yuzuka Isobe (Chuo University, JP), Michal Jankowski (Warsaw University of Technology, PL) and Prof Hans Hansen, euspen Vice President

Images courtesy of euspen Limited