A couple of weeks ago I participated in the NWO-organized workshop “Physics with Industry” (PWI). It was my fourth year in a row participating in this workshop, so it is well known by now that I deeply enjoy the workshop. The basic idea of the workshop is to present five industrial problems from real companies to a group of physicist that take the challenge to solve them in a week-long workshop. Here you may find a video that explains better the idea of the workshop. If you want to hear more about this type of workshops and some experiences, I recommend this video that has the testimony of Amin Moradi, a colleague from the single-molecule optics group at Leiden.
This year, once more, I enjoyed collaborating with a diverse group of professionals, sharing the passion for solving problems. I find extremely interesting the fact that solving applied problems differs from our usual approach at the lab: When we deal with real industrial problems, as it is usually required for PWI, the solutions have to work in a specific environmental conditions that are beyond our control and there are several extra market-driven constrains. This is quite different from the usual approach we take in the Lab, where you can isolate our experiment and control the environment in your favor to finally detect exactly what you aimed.
In this occasion, I was part of the Somni Solutions team (picture). We addressed the problem of transportation of an extremely sensitive accelerometer the company recently developed. This was a challenge and after a week of hard team work we proposed a few realistic solutions that the company will test in practice. This gives me a sense of satisfaction, since something we designed will soon became a reality in a commercial product. As the cherry on top, our team was selected to present the results at the meeting physics@veldhoven this January, so we are thrilled to share our experience and results with the rest of the community. Soon NWO will publish all the results as proceedings so you can take a look to all the interesting solutions for every problem presented!
Last but not least, I must acknowledge all the people involved in the organization, both from NWO, specially Sofia Derossi, and from the Lorentz center, who contributed to an amazing week of physics applied to industry and peer collaboration.