How useful would it be if, upon entering a hospital room, you could get a reminder to disinfect your hands – and not from a sign on the wall, but a small chip? During the COVID-19 pandemic, we all learned the importance of measures like this. But Fanny Rößler was already thinking about such matters in 2015, when she was just 17 years old. Her own interest in natural sciences was a key catalyst, but so were the efforts to recognize and encourage it at an early age. For example, Rößler had the opportunity to focus on natural sciences and get some initial programming experience as early as in seventh grade at her high school in Unterhaching (near Munich). “At some point, our IT teacher suggested participating in the INVENT a CHIP competition, where three teams from our school actually made it to the practical round,” the now-25-year-old explains.
Her hand disinfection chip didn’t win the competition, but that isn’t really the point. The spirit of INVENT a CHIP is similar to that of the Olympic Games. Ultimately, the competition is primarily about enabling the participants to engage with one another and imparting a key message: What you’re doing is important – keep it up!