Article written by Hugo Cui & Adele Fanelli
IMAGINE IF! Applications were closed on December 15th 2020 and after careful considerations of the many valuable projects, we introduce here in this article the selected start-ups. These winning teams will soon start the mentorship program and will have the chance to pitch their ideas to a professional and expert panel of judges during the IMAGINE IF! Swiss Finals.
It is now our utmost pleasure to present here the IMAGINE IF! Local Finalists (alphabetical order).
The water resource is becoming scarce. Recycling is now a necessity. 1H2O3 is developing a kit to help small & mid-size customers to save water while complying with increasingly complex regulations. The 1H2O3 Packaged System is a compact and modular wastewater treatment plant, combining about 10 different technologies. Today, it is the only compact and modular solution that offers high-quality water treatment, and, at the same time, is only made from renewable materials and can be solar powered.
The increasing demand in electrical energy can only be addressed through a renewable energy mix. Salinity gradient energy harvesting constitutes a promising, 24/7 available, source of energy. Blue Energy Leap’s atomically thin, highly-efficient ion-selective membranes allow to increase significantly the output of Reversed Electrodialysis (RED) clean energy harvesting, up to 1 million times better than currently available membrane solutions. Its patented technology can also be employed for water treatment and desalination.
The survival rate of cancer patients drastically increases with detection at an earlier disease stage. Nevertheless, current detection methods for e.g. prostate (prostate screening) and breast cancer (mammography) only detect it in more advanced stages. ExoSort’s small footprint microfluidic chips allows to filter out high purity exosomes samples from bodily fluids. These highly purified biological components can be then used by diagnostic companies for cancer biomarkers detection.
Everyday thousands of tons of marble waste are put in landfills, with high cost of disposal and the necessity to find a solution. At the same time, textile sector is one of the most polluting sector in the world, with high use of chemicals harmful to the ecosystem. FILI PARI’s patented MARM \ MORE marble-based microfilm that can be employed in textile production. It is waterproof, breathable and wind-proof, and can be layered onto any type of fabrics. The marble improves the abrasion resistant performance, gives to the coating the natural colour and a soft tactile effect created by the presence of calcium carbonate.
Every year, more than 2 million osteoporotic hip fractures occur worldwide. Today, the prevention thereof is limited to anti-osteoporotic drugs, drugs that are less efficient for the hips than for any other part of the skeleton and take at least one year to show an effect. Flowbone develops an injectable gel that strengthens the bone through a unique “local bone seeding” process, triggered by a smart combination of a hydrogel matrix and hydroxyapatite nanoparticles. It allows for at least 3 times more bone in 3 times less time than the most potent drug, without the negative impact of a surgical intervention.
First responders in Emergency Medicine use an external heating device to prevent infusion lines from further cooling the patient or even freezing at low temperatures. Currently available heating solutions come with a significant price tag, complicated handling and risks threatening patient’s health or even leading to death. To provide a better solution, frater.swiss, has developed a light-weight, ready-to-use coating for infusion lines. The frater I.V.Varm infusion line heats the infusions directly to the desired temperature. The coating is based on a chemical exothermic reaction which is triggered by an activation at the drip chamber.
The number of approved cell-based personalised therapies will explode in the coming years, with the potential to treat over 3 million cancer patients annually, but are currently difficult and expensive to produce. Limula develops a ‘GMP-in-a-box’ platform for automated, rapid and safe manufacturing of CGT from patients’ own cells, directly at the bedside. By carrying out all steps of CGT production in a single device, Limula’s technology removes the need for large sterile facilities and superfluous manual interventions, saves time, cuts costs, simplifies logistics and increases the safety and accessibility of these personalised treatments.
Lower limb amputees use prostheses that do not restore sensory feedback during walking. Because of this, they risk falls, thus losing confidence in the prosthesis and overusing the healthy leg, which causes increased fatigue, and reduced mobility. MYLEG is a unique add-on to commercially available prostheses that restores sensory feedback to amputees by gently stimulating with pulses of current the skin of their remaining leg. The optimal placement of the electrodes on the skin and the algorithms that control the stimulation make the elicited sensations very clear for the amputee, and thus the overall system easy to use.
The 350 millions trucks and the 95K ships worldwide account respectively for 8% and 3% of the global CO2 emissions. Qaptis is a patented plug-in technology that can capture 90% of the emitted CO2 from Internal Combustion (IC) engines and potentially also other pollutants such as PM2.5 or NOx without any energy penalty. The CO2 is converted into liquid and stored directly on board the vehicle. The captured CO2 is then valorised on the CO2 market for the production of green fuels, building materials, polycarbonates. . . with the final objective to create a circular economy and close the carbon loop.
Existing automated shades cannot reduce glare properly and are difficult to install as a centralized system in existing buildings, since extra sensors and wires have to be installed on ceilings or rooftop. ShadeMe is a novel decentralized shading device to automatically adjust shading to the optimal position offering comfortable daylight according to dynamic sky conditions. With a specially made, easy-to-install camera embedded into the shading device that monitors the real-time sky condition, the system precisely calculates the daylight amount reaching occupants’ eyes and on their work-plane.
Point-of-care testing (POCT) devices for rapid on-site diagnosis are a key component of personalized healthcare when costs, equipment, or time limitations preclude the use of conventional laboratory analysis. TheranOptics proposes its lab-in-fiber devices as a new type of disposable and miniaturized platform for multianalyte POCT. Fluid samples are collected non-invasively by simple capillarity, triggering a visual response that can be investigated immediately using a dedicated reader. Important information on the health status of patients is obtained within a few minutes, which facilitates decisions on further diagnostic and therapeutic actions.