Burgdorf - The winners of the Ypsomed Innovation Award 2022 were honoured yesterday evening at the PwC Switzerland New Year's Apéro in Bern. The winners are machineMD (1st place), Pace Locator (2nd place) and Compact Motion (3rd place). The Innovation Award, worth a total of CHF 100,000, is presented every two years by the Ypsomed Innovation Fund Foundation. The aim is to promote the transfer of knowledge and technology from universities of applied sciences and universities in the "Espace Mittelland" region.
A total of 17 projects were submitted for the competition. As part of the selection process, all project dossiers are examined by a jury of seven experts. Innovation potential and originality, market implementation potential, technical realisation potential and the comprehensibility of the dossier will be assessed. The representatives of the shortlisted projects will then be invited to make a presentation to the jury.
"The submissions for our Innovation Award always impress me, and I am very pleased that this year we can once more help three very promising scientific developments to gain more visibility and awareness. The work of our universities brings us forward economically and socially, but for this to happen, it has to get into practice. With our competition, we offer an ideal platform for this purpose," said Simon Michel, President of the Ypsomed Innovation Fund.
1st place: machineMD (University of Bern)
With the Neurophthalmoscope, machineMD has developed a system that uses a virtual reality headset to analyse the movements of the eyes and pupils. Deviations from the norm can provide indications of diseases of the central nervous system. Today, one in four cases of multiple sclerosis and one in two brain tumours are diagnosed on the basis of neuro-ophthalmological symptoms. At present, these examinations are still mainly performed manually. They are time-consuming and require specific training of the medical staff. The results are mainly qualitative. This can lead to incorrect or late diagnoses, which can have devastating consequences for the people affected.
The Neurophtalmoscope from machineMD, in contrast, offers a standardised and automated examination of brain functions. The results are objectified, repeatable and quantifiable. The duration of the examination is reduced from 45 to 10 minutes and does not have to be carried out by specially trained staff. According to the jury, this is an outstanding example of how modern technologies can revolutionise medical diagnostics for the benefit of patients and society.
2nd place: Pace Locator (Bern University of Applied Sciences)
Pace Locator has developed a catheter with associated analysis software and imaging to better support doctors in placing pacemakers in the future. Today, about 30% of pacemaker leads are not placed optimally, which is mainly due to the fact that current methods only show the position of the leads in two dimensions. However, suboptimal placement can lead to serious complications, including reoperation or death. Pace Locator has developed a system that displays the position of the electrodes three-dimensionally in real time. This provides better support for the doctor and allows the electrodes to be placed more precisely. Another advantage lies in the time saved as the doctor will find the ideal placement faster thanks to the spatial representation in real time.
3rd place: Compact Motion (Bern University of Applied Sciences)
The innovative Rhino linear motor from Compact Motion offers special plant manufacturers various advantages in pick & place systems. For example, it can speed up the cycle time of the system by around 20% and thus not only offers a higher output compared to today's linear motors, but also financial savings. While there are usually three cables leading from the motor control in a control cabinet to the motor, which are up to 20 metres long and have to be routed through the machine, Rhino has an integrated motor control, which reduces the amount of cabling required. A counterweight is already integrated, making it more compact and space-saving than common linear motors, which in vertical operation of pick & place systems require a counterweight on the outside, which is usually the same size and weight as the motor itself.
The prize money of CHF 50'000 for the first place winner, CHF 30'000 for the second place winner and CHF 20'000 for the third place winner is donated by the Ypsomed Innovation Fund and supported by PwC Bern.
The next Ypsomed Innovation Award will take place in 2024.
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Ypsomed Innovation Fund
The Ypsomed Innovation Fund Foundation aims to promote knowledge and technology transfer at universities and universities of applied sciences in the Espace Mittelland region. It aims to motivate innovative and entrepreneurial teams or individuals to incorporate market needs into their scientific activities and to translate their developments into products or services on the market. The work presented should therefore involve innovative and economically feasible processes, methods, products or services. The prize has been awarded every two years since 2006.