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B-Photonics Cup 2024: Flemish youngsters create gadget of the future using light technology


The winners of the annual B-Photonics Cup have been announced! This science competition among various Belgian schools is an initiative of VUB, B-PHOT, and Colruyt Group Technics, challenging youth to develop their own gadget of the future based on light technology. The ‘Smart Letterbox’ from the pupils of BA Pitzemburg clinched the top prize.

The B-Photonics Cup tasks students from the fifth and sixth years of secondary education to develop a working prototype of their idea within one year and present it to a professional jury. Participating teams receive a course in photonics and a budget to purchase materials.

This presents a unique opportunity for students to explore technology and creatively solve real-world problems by collaborating as a team. "At VUB, we believe it's crucial to showcase that an engineer possesses far more skills than just mathematics and science," says coordinator Tine De Pauw. "Creativity is equally important. We aim to inspire as many students as possible to pursue engineering careers!"

The Colruyt Group Technics team is delighted to support the B-Photonics Cup. "It's wonderful to see young people becoming enthusiastic about science and technology," says Bart Bosmans. "We've witnessed incredible projects involving photonics. For the next edition: join us!"

During the final event, Colruyt Group hosted the participating teams at its headquarters in Halle for a demonstration of their working prototypes. All students also received a behind-the-scenes tour of Colruyt Group's distribution centre, a cutting-edge logistical masterpiece. Following thorough deliberation, the jury from VUB and Colruyt Group selected winners in various categories, who were awarded some remarkable prizes.

"My students and I were immediately excited," says Jenny Sleeuwaegen, physics and STEM teacher at ZAVO Zaventem. "It seemed like a great opportunity to work on a real large-scale project. We were also drawn to the competitive aspect." Her students Matteo and Matthias from ZAVO enjoyed the process of designing everything themselves: "We drew our SunSmart solar canopy in 3D and programmed everything without assistance. It was rewarding to develop our own idea without constraints."

"It was a thrilling challenge to incorporate LiDAR and LiFi into the project," reflects student Maite from GTSM Merchtem after the final. "We hadn't done that in all these years of industrial sciences. We discovered and learned a lot of new things. It was definitely worth the time and effort!"

Milo from BA Pitzemburg in Mechelen adds, "I'm impressed by the organisation. We had an engaging tour and got to present the smart traffic lights from our Flowlights project to the jury."

Best overall project

Smart mailbox

- by BA Pitzemburg Mechelen

Best pitch

Automated greenhouse

- by Don Bosco Halle

Photonics award


- by GTSM Merchtem

Innovation Award


- by BA Pitzemburg Mechelen

Best video

Fashion mirror

- by GTSM Merchtem

More pictures

B-Photonics Cup 2024

Interested in participating or want to learn more about our outreach efforts in STEM?