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'Post-2000' students win Global Innovation Challenge

Updated: 2023-06-01

In the recently concluded China Thinks Big Global Innovation Challenge (CTB), students from the International Department of Beijing E-Town Academy's first-grade class won the Hackathon Global Second Prize, ranking among the top three teams in the competition.


Students from Beijing E-Town Academy pose for a group photo. [Photo/beijingetown.com.cn]

CTB is an internationally known high school activity that promotes social innovation through academic research and social practices. It originated from Harvard University's traditional research project exhibition called "Harvard Thinks Big" and is a highly influential interdisciplinary challenge project for Chinese youth worldwide.

This event also marked the first return of the CTB offline forum to the Harvard campus since 2020. 

The "Corgi Team," composed of Liang Jiahe, Tu Jia, Niu Dai, Ye Tianyi, and Zhang Ruochen, first-grade students from the International Department of Beijing E-Town Academy, went through the preliminary rounds, national rounds, and global rounds over 180 days.

They emerged from over 1,500 teams and advanced to the global competition along with 50 other teams, engaging in a four-day showdown on the Harvard University campus. 

In the most intense and exciting hackathon segment, the "Corgi Team" focused on the research topic "How teenagers can deal with the temptation of video streaming." They proposed a creative solution called the "Phone Isolation Box" through literature reading, survey research, and experimental studies. 

The product incorporated the corgi image as a significant design element. When users placed their phones in the isolation box, the corgi would awaken from a tired state and become vibrant. The time the phone placed in the isolation box becomes the corgi's dog food. If the phone user refuses to place the phone in the isolation box, the little corgi would cry and gradually become haggard, serving as a reminder for the user to control their phone usage time. 

Additionally, this phone isolation box has many motivating functions to encourage users to develop healthy electronic device usage habits, and its effectiveness has been verified in experiments.

What made the students shine was the project exhibition after the hackathon. 

Participants from around the world showcased their works, attracting the attention of many Harvard students. 

In their reflections after the competition, these "Post-2000" students shared their thoughts: "From the initial gathering of five people exploring research directions to staying up late repeatedly improving the plan, whether it was the laughter together or facing internal conflicts as a team, we have grown a lot and gained a lot along this journey."