On 25 July, the three best candidates per category each presented their project to the jury in Düsseldorf. Jurors then selected two finalists per category to go through to the award ceremony on 17 September, where they will pitch live to an expert audience and the UIC jury.
Read more about the University Innovation Challenge finalists here.
Core Sensing Technologies
Mechanical sensors for measuring forces and torques are a key aspect of numerous industrial and consumer products. Problems tend to arise primarily in the area of structural integration, i.e. the connection between the sensor function and the relevant component. The new coreFORMING procedure allows the sensing elements and the associated electronic circuitry to be securely embedded in the component. This paves the way for new types of sensor-based products that were previously either unviable or only viable with certain limitations.
The INERATEC founders have developed microstructured synthesis reactors in compact table-sized units that hold the key to decentralised chemical processes. They offer a high degree of load flexibility, allow entire processes to be started up and shut down in just a few minutes, and involve an investment volume that is around 1/10 of that required for comparable conventional systems. Containerised systems equipped with INERATEC’s reactor technology generate renewable fuel, allowing them to contribute to the ongoing transition to clean energy sources.
Breeze is developing a cloud-based application that automatically evaluates environmental data, thereby helping companies and municipalities to improve quality of life. In addition, the start-up produces affordable air-quality sensors – they are up to 1,000 times cheaper than the standard versions currently used today – that can be combined to create highly scalable indoor or outdoor sensor networks.
Breeze’s intelligent algorithms can recommend the most effective and efficient means of improving local air quality, connect customers with providers if required and, for clients in the target markets of smart buildings and smart cities, monitor the success of previous and ongoing measures.
vilisto develops and distributes self-learning radiator thermostats that optimise heat use in office premises and administrative buildings, thus potentially cutting heating costs by up to 40%. Their AI-based proprietary technology, which combines self-learning algorithms with integrated occupancy detection, automatically turns radiators down when no one is in the room, while existing occupancy data enables it to predict user behaviour and thereby reduce energy consumption.
future life science
inveox digitises and automates pathology labs, thereby increasing the safety and reliability of cancer diagnoses while also optimising efficiency and profitability. The system comprises an intelligent sample container for biopsy tissue, an automated processing machine and a highly secure Web app for transferring data between the patient’s physician and the pathology lab. The integration of these three components allows the seamless automation of data entry (previously conducted manually), the otherwise error-prone transfer of samples from transport containers to tissue cassettes, and their clear and permanent labelling via laser technology.
NelumBox is the first intelligent coolbox for temperature-sensitive medicines and samples. It actively maintains different temperature ranges (2°C–8°C/15°C–25°C/37°C) and allows all cold-chain data to be monitored via a cloud-based application.
The box aims to tap into the rapidly growing market for high-performance cooling solutions for temperature-sensitive medicines and samples. This market is currently worth 14.2 billion US dollars, while the global costs arising from uncooled or incorrectly cooled medicines are predicted to reach 35 billion US dollars by the end of the decade.
FUTURE FINANCES & COMMERCE
BC-Ticket uses the Ethereum blockchain to create a technological link between payment and ownership transfer. This prevents incomplete transactions while also eliminating the possibility of fraud or counterfeiting. BC-Ticket is thus the first all-digital ticketing solution offering total transparency for event organisers and ticket buyers.
ChemSquare is a digital platform for life science supplies which optimises sales and ordering processes, giving buyers greater transparency regarding possible suppliers and offerings. It also allows suppliers to find new customers more effectively and process existing clients’ orders more quickly. Based on state-of-the-art technology, the platform’s proprietary system enables ChemSquare to respond to individual industry requirements.
Bipolymer Systeme are using patented bipolymers to develop heat engines that convert heat into electricity more cost-effectively than comparable technologies. This enables chemical industry customers to save electricity and cut production costs, while also allowing private households to generate their own electricity more cheaply than with photovoltaics. Users also benefit from supplementary heating and hot water generation. The start-up uses solar modules for domestic customers and low-temperature waste heat (< 200°C) in industry.
Sulfotools GmbH’s business is based on Clean Peptide Technology (CPT), an in-house development that revolutionises peptide production. Currently, the majority of market-relevant peptides are, for reasons such as cost-effectiveness, manufactured via a chemical process known as solid-phase peptide synthesis. This requires industry to use tens of thousands of tonnes of toxic, environmentally harmful and expensive organic solvents every year.
Special award: future data intelligence
@thlyzer is a video analysis tool for sports such as hockey, football and basketball. In-game events such as goals and corners are tagged and immediately categorised. Key events can then be immediately analysed, compared with other data and/or viewed in a clearly presented form. This saves time and gives coaches the insights they need to make real-time tactical adjustments. Thanks to @thlyzer, video analysis is no longer exclusive to wealthy, elite sports organisations but can be employed at grass-roots level too.
Using blockchain technology, Bernstein allows companies to create a digital record trail for their innovation processes. Customers can quickly and easily register inventions, designs and proofs of use, in return obtaining blockchain certificates that prove an IP asset’s ownership, existence and integrity. Thanks to a unique cryptographic key, all notarised information remains completely private. Blockchain technology is ideally suited to registering public and private records and makes for a notarisation platform that is decentralised, uncensorable, permissionless and resilient.
With ‘MM-care’ for automatic case coding and ‘MM-sure’ for automatic medical risk analysis, MINDS medical became the first provider to bring automated medical case coding to market. Using historical data, the AI-based software can learn how to encode medical free text for all manner of medical code systems. By automating a previously manual process, MINDS medical is able to generate considerable time savings for its clients. This in turn saves healthcare providers money and leaves them with more time for their patients.