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Homemade Manure, farming in the sky and homes that grow around you are just a few of the out-of-this-world innovations planned for life on an alien planet.

Imagine being the first settlers on a new planet. How do you survive? Communicate? Find shelter? Grow food? These were some of the problems put to the participants of Fuselab, a immersive residential programme developed by Edinburgh project partners Edinburgh International Science Festival. Running twice from July 1 – 4 and 5 – 9, each team of 40 innovators had four days to design solutions to these problems and more.

This pioneering programme tasked the intrepid entrepreneurs to devise, design and prototype ideas that would establish systems for living, surviving, and communicating on a new planet. Many of the proposals they developed challenged perceptions, developed new uses for materials we already know, and made business cases for ideas that could work on Earth too. These included:

• Humanure – Soil. Yourself: How we can grow foodstuffs from our own waste
• Skyfields – Solar powered floating fields in the sky to farm in desert areas
• The Family Tree: An eco living solution designed to grow your home around you
• Omnificent: Surviving on algae from foodstuffs to living homes, adverts and cosmetics
• The Ice Cool: Triangular refrigeration running on tiny amounts of water for desert environments

The 80 innovators were aged between 16 and 20, and had a wide range of backgrounds -bringing creative, engineering, design and scientific skills together for this unique challenge.
These creative minds were selected following an application process and came from throughout Scotland, the wider UK, and as far away as German, Spain and Switzerland to take part. Guided by Science Festival facilitators and the Fuselab artist in residence Gary McNair, they heard from industry experts, learned about the process of innovation, and what it takes to make projects happen and find markets for their ideas.

Speaking at the close of Fuselab, Edinburgh International Science Festival Director Simon Gage said: “We are thrilled with the outcomes of the very first Fuselab experiences. Participants are leaving having been taken through the A-Z of the innovation process. I hope it has helped broaden their horizons and shown that the process of innovation has many facets. At this key point in young people’s lives, our aim for Fuselab is to help them find out what they enjoy and are talented at whether it’s engineering, design, marketing or business and that ideas and innovations can be realised by bringing these skills together.”

For more photos and social media coverage of Fuselab, check out flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/55916952@N02/sets/72157634672844815/ and the Fuselab storify page: https://storify.com/edscifest/fuselab

Following on from the success of this first run plans are already in place to develop the Fuselab experience to create shorter mobile innovation camps. For more information visit: http://www.sciencefestival.co.uk/whats-on/fuselab .

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