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Helau-o-Mat takes shape

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[Translate to English:] Studierende der Hochschule Mainz nehmen mit den Fastnachtswagen Helau-o-Mat am Rosenmontagsumzug 2024 in Mainz teil. Foto: Nikolas Fahlbusch

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Group of students in front of carnival float

Students present the Helau-o-Mat carnival float to the press. Photo: Nikolas Fahlbusch

Major media interest following successful test drive

An interactive carnival float that reacts to the carnival crowd at the Rose Monday parade –this is what will be rolling through Mainz on Rose Monday this year: the “Helau-o-Mat” – built by students at Mainz University of Applied Sciences.

On February 1st, the project team presented their Helau-o-Maten to the local and regional press. There was a lot of interest in the project, resulting in a lot of press coverage – everyone wanted to see the interactive carnival float in action. University President Prof. Dr. Susanne Weissman and Chancellor Jens Egler also took the opportunity to take a spin on the thirteen-seater bike along with the students and professors.

Mainz University of Applied Sciences’ Helau-o-Mat

Students from the interdisciplinary project will tow the “Helau-o-Mat” carnival float on Rose Monday on a towing bike. Photo: Nikolas Fahlbusch

Mainz University of Applied Sciences will be taking part in the traditional Mainz Rose Monday parade for the first time this year with an interactive carnival float. An interdisciplinary team of students, led by lecturers from the three Schools of Design, Engineering and Business, is designing the Helau-o-Mat – an impressive barometer of the festive atmosphere in the form of a Mainz jester’s cap.

“A university project with a high degree of dedication and independence”

Student Matheus Wolff Castro is thrilled to be working on a project involving students from different disciplines: “The project extends the boundaries of the classroom and brings the students' ideas to the streets of Mainz on such an important day like Rose Monday.” The student project supervisor, Janine Kloos, is also enthusiastic about the project: “It shows that innovation and tradition can go hand in hand. The variety of ideas and skills of my fellow students will lead to a unique outcome,” she says confidently. “For us teachers, it’s great to see how the different skills from three schools come together within our interdisciplinary team. It is plain to see that the students are making this university project their own with great dedication and a high degree of independence,” says Prof. Bernd Benninghoff from the School of Design.

Working at full speed and test drive in early February

The project team aims to ride into the carnival parade with float number 81 in time for Rose Monday on February 12, 2024 and create a great atmosphere for the carnival crowd. Work on the construction of the float, including costumes, technology, animation, and the towing bike, is in full swing:

  • The inflatable jester’s caps have been sewn. The costumes are being worked on diligently, colorful polka dots and stripes are being ironed on and stitched.

  • The basic construction of the float is complete, while the technical designs are continuously updated. One side of the float is already fitted with weatherproof panels. They are expected to be wired and connected before the test drive on February 1st. Microphones are also being installed and tested so that the interaction and transformations of the float can be tested at an early stage.

  • The towing bike has been refurbished and fitted with new chains, chain tensioners and bottom brackets. The long bike now gleams in a new color, with bells and holders for the traditional “dubbe” wine spritzer glasses.

  • The animation for the panels is continuously being perfected. And the inflatable giant jester’s cap on the float is also expected to be finished and attached to the float by the time of the test run.

“Building the carnival float gives the students a unique opportunity to make their ideas a reality. A real Meenzer project that focuses on the creativity and dedication of the students,” emphasizes Prof. Jürgen Rustler from the School of Engineering.

The Mainz University of Applied Sciences carnival float will travel through the Mainz Rose Monday parade as an interactive vehicle. The volume of the crowd will be translated into shape and color using LED screens and inflatables. The “Helau-o-Mat” thus reflects the enthusiasm of the foolish public. Depending on the volume, the Rose Monday crowd will transform the shape of the float and thus actively participate in the changing the design.

Reuse and re-purposing factored into the design

The carnival float aims to produce as little waste as possible. This is why the “Helau-o-Mat” does not throw confetti or candy. “We try to leave a good vibe behind at the Rose Monday parade – and no garbage. From the very outset, we thought about the reuse and recycling of the materials used,” says Prof. Dr. Bernhard Ostheimer from the School of Business. The vehicle is propelled by the muscle power of the students and their professors with the help of a ten-meter-long towing bike for twelve people.

The “Helau-o-Mat” is an interdisciplinary project at Mainz University of Applied Sciences that combines the creative expertise of the Schools of Design, Engineering and Business, in particular Interior Design, Architecture, Digital Media, and Business Administration. Professors Prof. Bernd Benninghoff, Prof. Dr. Bernhard Ostheimer and Prof. Jürgen Rustler from the respective disciplines and Mathias Ewald and Michael Bensch, who head the workshops, are supporting a team of 33 students in the conception, design, and technical implementation of the float.

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More about the topic

Interactive carnival float – Mainz University of Applied Sciences takes part in the Rose Monday Carnival parade with its “Helau-o-Mat” (12/22/2023)