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Italian student wins £10k for reinvented violin

A former Italian student at Imperial College London has won £10,000 for his startup that aims to revolutionise the manufacturing of musical instruments.
November 3 2016
2 Min Read

A former international student from Italy who completed a joint master’s at Imperial College London and Royal College of Art has won £10,000 in development funding for his startup that aims to revolutionise the manufacturing of musical instruments using biomaterials.

A panel of business leaders from the worlds of fashion, art and design, technology and science judging the International Student Innovation Awards were impressed by Luca Alessandrini’s innovative technique that uses a combination of silk and spider silk to construct the casings of a violin and amplifier.

The award was presented at an international student showcase held by London & Partners, the Mayor of London’s official promotional company, and Study London.

The materials should be cheaper and more sustainable than the traditional wood, as well as being lighter and therefore easier to transport, Alessandrini said.

Shortlisted international students from across the capital attended the event, showcasing their innovative ideas and inventions.

Entries included a socket for prosthetic limbs that can adjust to changes in the wearer’s body, and a cooling and delivery system for vaccines that aims to improve healthcare in the developing world.

Luca Alessandrini with his student innovation award

Luca Alessandrini with his student innovation award. Photo: The PIE News.

Presenting the award, Deputy Mayor of London Joanne McCartney said the quality and range of submissions were testament to “the potential of higher education to change people’s lives for the better”.

“This showcase is a celebration of the innovation and creativity of London’s world class universities and international student body,” she added.

Alessandrini is currently working on creating a guitar and speaker set using the same materials, as well as refining the acoustic properties of the existing violins.

He told The PIE News he wanted to “give a design application” to biomaterials, which are usually used in the medical field, and that he had focused on acoustics because of his personal interest in music.

“To think that people are still using plywood and chipboard to make speakers – that’s obsolete, it’s super unsustainable; it’s expensive and heavy,” he said. “There was a lot of room for innovation.”

See more photos from the international student showcase here.

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