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Skin Hack 2.0: The tech youth are here

Beiersdorf Skinhackathon Group photo

Data science and the internet of things represent the foundation for the most important product innovations in skin and healthcare. Winning over tomorrow’s smartest for this reason is a central concern of Beiersdorf Research. With this in mind, the internationally respected SkinHack took place for the second time in Skolkovo Russia. With the startup Youth Laboratories and supported by the processor manufacturer NVIDIA, Beiersdorf Research invited participants to the programming competition on the campus of Skoltech. Here the young tech elite had the chance to prove their talent. This year the focus was a t-shirt equipped with sensors, which collects data on the sweat behavior of the wearer in order to be able to better predict perspiration scenarios.

Around 60 participants followed the invitation and gathered at Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology, or Skoltech for short, for a long weekend together. The university, which was founded in 2011 with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in a suburb of Moscow, today is one of the most renowned facilities in the world. “The location is perfect. As part of the 400 hectare Skolkovo Innovation Center, where IBM, Microsoft and Boeing are also located, the Hackathon finds itself in the best company and profits from a very modern infrastructure,” says Sven Clemann, Team Leader for Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things in biophysics, who traveled to Russia representing his team. 

The participants came from the most renowned universities of Russia including Moscow State University (MSU) and Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT). The weekend opened with talks from leaders in the field of data analysis and biophysics – in addition to Beiersdorf the British Higher School of Arts and Design as well as the startups YouthLab and Insilico also gave talks.

Beiersdorf Skinhackathon Sven Clemann speech
Sven Clemann, Team Leader AI & IoT in Biophysics at Beiersdorf.

As was the case last year when algorithms for predicting skin age were the focus, Beiersdorf presented the topic of research: “It is our task to create new product experiences and features for consumers. For this we need new findings from measurements with smart technologies and IoT devices,” says Sven Clemann, team leader AI & IoT in Biophysics at Beiersdorf. “This time we wanted to take on the question of how sweat in everyday life can be more closely examined.” For this the team from Hamburg developed a patented t-shirt that accompanies the wearer while sensors collect data on sweat behavior and activity patterns. “From the selection of the material to the production, all the way to the conception of the microprocessor, we managed and determined every phase ourselves,” says Clemann. Based on about 10,000 hours of wear-data, which was collected from consumers in their everyday lives, the teams were able to analyze the data sets with respect to their patterns.  In addition to the analyses, the foundational software of the t-shirt was made available to the teams in order to develop their own application freed from the original idea of the clothing. This led for example, to the approach of developing a t-shirt for the communication of autistic children, which makes communicating with their environment easier. 

Beiersdorf Skinhackathon youth with mobile app

“Although the analysis part was very complex, all the teams did great,” says Konstantin Kiselev, Chief Technology Officer of Ylabs, who accompanied the teams and followed the solutions on the last pitch day spellbound. In the end the team “Logistics” around Eugen Bobrov, Stepan Drapak, Dmitry Beloborodov and Pavel Kovalenko from Moscow State University was able to take the prize for Data Science. In mobile app development Igor Skovorodkin, Ivan Starchenkov and Anton Makhonin were among the winners. The first-place winners received a monetary prize and – like the second and third place finishers – the opportunity to work on a scientific publication or to take part in a paid summer internship in Sven Clemann’s team.

We are currently in the selection process for candidates for a summer internship. We are pleased that we were able to get the candidates of the first Skinhack in 2016 excited about our research work even beyond their internship,
says Clemann, who was very satisfied with the young interns last year.

Co-organizer and General Manager of Ylabs, Anastasia Georgievskaya, is happy with the outcome: “The SkinHackathon 2.0 has established itself as an ideal platform for talented people from Data Science & Application Development and companies. The participants profit from sharing knowledge and potential job offers, while the companies are able to inspire and win over young employees.” SkinHack 3.0 is already in planning. Clemann does not want to reveal the topic yet though. “But I’m already looking forward to the exciting days ahead.” 

Catarina Neumann

About the editor: Catarina Neumann

Since 2014, Catarina has been responsible for Beiersdorf's digital corporate presence, from social media and our corporate blog to the global corporate websites. As a communications strategist with a focus on digital, she also works on lots of buzzwords such as #digitalstorytelling, #influencerrelations and the #digitalization at Beiersdorf. Prior to that, she has been responsible since 2008 for various financial, HR and scientific communications topics as well as global brands PR.