At the end of this academic year, the “We Will Be Engineers!” initiative presented the Engineer Spark Awards for the fourth time. The Engineering Spark was also awarded to the SpaceDent project, a collaboration with Peskovnik in which students are researching dental procedures to reliably treat astronauts’ dental problems.

Addressing the audience, Tomaž Lanišek, Head of the Office for Development, Smart Community and Projects, Municipality of Kranj, and Dr Miha Bobič, President of the We Will Be Engineers! project, who came from Danfoss Trata, thanked the winners for contributing to science and raising awareness of STEM professions, and stressed the importance of engineering: “The future needs good engineers who are able to find answers to the energy transition in a multidisciplinary way.”

The SpaceDent student project, in collaboration with the European Space Agency, the Faculty of Medicine and Peskovnik of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Ljubljana, is the first step in preparing dental medicine for the multi-year Artemis missions to the Moon and Mars. The students’ project won the European Space Agency’s Student PETRI competition in January this year, allowing them to carry out research in zero gravity. SpaceDent, a student research team, aims to determine whether the ability to prepare and fabricate fillings in microgravity is sufficiently controlled compared to preparation and filling on Earth to treat astronauts safely and reliably.

The research will be carried out this November when two dental students will perform weightless dental procedures over the Atlantic Ocean during three parabolic flights of 93 parabolas and 30 minutes of zero gravity. To carry out the research, mechanical and electrical engineering students are designing a parabolic flight structure to represent a simplified dental treatment environment. SpaceDent is proof that engineers with interdisciplinary skills can contribute to a better world.

The Engineering Spark is awarded to ground-breaking, original practices, projects, events or people that have made a significant contribution to the development, validity and excitement of the engineering profession and innovation in society. The selection process focuses on the talents and stars who are about to enter and build the world of engineering. It is the classroom environment that has a crucial influence on how young people define themselves for the world of engineering.

Photo: Andrej Križ for Mediade

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