Imagine you are out in space, in a tiny spaceship, a thousand miles away from any life form and not being able to do something useful as simple as washing your clothes.
Now imagine that eight students of the Salesian High School Don Bosco of Verona decide to participate, for the second year in a row, in the twentieth edition of the FIRST LEGO LEAGUE, making the top of the national chart for the second time in two years and the FIRST LEGO LEAGUE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP finals in Houston, Texas.
Imagine for a moment that this is all true, that the astronauts sent out into space have no way of doing their laundry every day and must dump their dirty clothes and linen in space.
Imagine that the eight young people from Verona flew to Houston on 17 April and invented W.E.M.I.T, an innovative system to do the wash for astronauts at zero gravity and with no water.
Though it may be hard to imagine, it is all true.
After last year’s success, the Don Bosco Salesian Institute robotics team participated in this event again, which gathered 108 competing teams from all around the world, vetted through the over 40.000 that participated in the national selections.
Alessio Montignani, Beatrice Ligozzi, Camilla Salvagno, Filippo Oliosi, Maddalena Zuccato, Paolo Venturini, Pietro Formenti and Pietro Fornalè, under the leadership of Professor Luca Zanetti, designed the innovative “space laundry machine”.
They left home as Champions of Italy and returned from Texas holding in their hands the title of World Champions, having ranked first in all categories: science project, technological innovation, robotic programming, presentation and team work.
They called their project W.E.M.I.T, an innovative waterless astronaut laundry system at zero gravity. They came up with a new type of fabric made up of a single polymer fibre interwowen in such a way as to make it extremely easy to undo.
The cleaning process unravels the fabric, passes the thread through an innovative dirt removing capsule and then reweaves the fibre as it was before using a 3D knitting machine.
W.E.M.I.T has already been patented and could find several applications on Earth as well; the NASA US space agency attended the world championship award ceremony, showing great interest in this innovative project.
The eight high school students from Verona are getting ready to fly to San Josè, California, in late June, to compete in the GLOBAL INNOVATION AWARD 2019 as one of the 20 best projects in the world.
We are proud to support these scientists who embody Zanolli’s eternal values: team spirit, technological innovation and healthy competition.
We are even prouder because these young people represent Verona’s future in the world.