E-tongue, unique illuminating ink, dental 3D printing, a plaster to read your blood sugar levels and other innovations have been introduced in the selection round of the “SPbU Start-Up – 2018”.
24 teams took part in the selection round, with only 11 teams qualified for the final. Here are the top innovations.
Welding equipment for a dentist
Why should a person who is qualified to treat diseases and other conditions that affect our teeth and gums develop welding skills? The truth is that it is welding that can make a real breakthrough in dentistry today. The dentists, while treating pulpitis, use special endodontic files that are so-called thin and long drills to debride the root canal system. In 2 % cases, these files may break or get stuck in teeth. Pulling your tooth is the only viable solution.
The D.E.N.T. team suggests that all dental clinics should be equipped with the e-extractors that are a miniature “welding machine” to extract the broken files from the tooth. It enables to perform micro welding to join a broken file and electrode. The machine was developed by Aleksandr Tsyganov in 2008, but it didn’t hit the market. Probably, it will now.
Computer can taste it
Modern computers can decode speech, music, photos, and videos. Yet taste is a different story. The team “E-tongue” presents a machine “E-tongue” to analyse products, fertilisers, petrol, water, and soils. The machine consists of two key parts: a specially designed polymer that acts as taste buds to identify the elements in the solution under study and a neural network that can decode the signals from the polymer and match them to corresponding substances.
For over 10 years, the idea of the “e-tongue” has been developed by SPbU Professor and Doctor of Chemistry Dmitrii Kirsanov. The unique polymer for electrodes was developed by Oleg Levin who is Director of the Laboratory “Scientific group of materials for electro-chemical energetics based on the metal-organic polymers” and scientific leader of the team. the innovation can be used in industry, ecology, and even medicine.
Unique illuminating ink
A wide variety of documents: passports, employment agreements, purchase documents, must be authorized by a person’s name written in a distinctive way as a form of identification. Yet, even the most complicated signatures can be forged and therefore the third party can acquire your rights or property. Preventing signature fraud is absolutely necessary.
The team “Quantum Break” turns to chemistry and physics to solve the problem: young businessmen are planning to add quantum dots in inks for pen and printers. These dots have unique luminescent properties that cover all emission spectrum of light that enables the owner of the document to “code” a unique combination of colour in a signature or printed text that can be revealed only by ultra-violet light.
Looking inside the substance
Among the projects that are selected for the final round is low field nuclear magnetic resonance complex to analyse the composition of the substances. The device can detect the solid fats in edible oils and fats, analyse liquids (oil and fat emulsion, water solutions), identify the content of atoms of hydrogen in fuels and atoms of fats and water in chocolate, powdered milk, cheese, and other products. Moreover, it can work with unopened bottles and jars of various volumes (from 0.05 to 1 litre), including thin-walled non-magnetic metallic containers (for example, cans). Among its advantages is value-for-money: our Russian devices are twice as cheaper as its American analogue.
The device is constructed by a post-graduate student Pavel Kuprianov under scientific supervision of SPbU Professor and Doctor of Physics and Mathematics Vladimir Chizhik. This device must be of interest in food industry, safety, building and construction, analytical laboratories, geological exploration, medicine, and others.
Our own micro-laboratory
Modern chemical laboratories are all about hundreds of flasks, beakers, test tubes, and petrie dishes to use for chemical experiments to synthesise the necessary substances. The team “ChimTok” came up with an idea to make chemical synthesis in miniature: to perform it in tiny vessels that are thin chemically resistant capillaries where the chemical agents pass. It will enable us to use less substance, minimise the space necessary to perform the tests, make the laboratories mobile, and reduce emissions of pollutants.
The young businessmen are planning to create micro-reactors where the chemical reactions occur in steady flows along the micro-canals and micro-tubes of no more than one millimetre in diameter. It ensures good heat conduction, operation under high pressure, safety, and, if connected to the computer, automated synthesis for the commercial purposes.
Warmth, cold, and smart contracts
The competition “SPbU Start-Up” has been held for the third time in a row at SPbU and this year the teams that present the innovation projects that are likely to be commercially and financially successful can get to the final to be awarded money prizes: 300,000 rubles for the first place, 200,000 rubles for the second place, and 100,000 for the third place. Two small innovation companies created together with the University will get 1,000,000 and 700,000 rubles accordingly.
The team “Elite” focuses on thermo logistics that is a transportation of the goods where delivery, for example, of medications and chemical agents, must remain at the right temperature. The team is planning to create a temperature sensing element to transmit the information about the deviations in temperature to the client or logistics company.
The project will be based on the block-chain technology and smart contracts to avoid distrust and make all business processes automated. It will enable us to minimise human intervention, reduce the transportation costs, and successfully enter the logistics market. The system will consist of a temperature registration device with the protected memory unit, a mobile platform to track the indicators, make smart contracts, perform transactions, and interact with the smart contracts in block-chain network.
Membranes know best
Among the up-to-date challenges in the chemical industry is separation of so-called azeotrope mixtures that are mixtures of liquids that have a constant boiling point. The team presented special membranes based on a new and highly effective processing method for the separation of mixtures of liquids that is pervaporation. The method enables us to separate solvents from water, purify oil from impurities, and obtain absolute ethanol to name but a few.
The team is planning to create a membrane module made from stainless steel that is acid- and alkali-resistant and can operate under high pressure. It can be used in oil, chemical, paint industries, pharmacy, producing cosmetics, antiseptics, and drugs.
Today, 3D printing is so wide spread as it is used by children: simple 3D printers, that are 3D pens, are used even by 3-year-old ones. Why not use the technology in dentistry? The team “Ceramic Prints” developed a composite polymer based on the ceramics to print dental implants, veneers, and crowns to name but a few.
The innovation material is a powder that enables us to create implants within the accuracy of a micron that is a millionth of a metre. It can be used for printing objects of any forms: for example, armor frames and other ceramic objects.
This year, SPbU is to open SPbU Business Incubator where the winners of the “SPbU Start-Up” and anyone who is interested in business will be taught the fundamentals of business. The experts from business and academic communities will focus on intellectual property, market segmentation, pricing policy, pricing and sales, business models and plans, and financial resources to name but a few.
Uber for fitness
Signing up for a gym membership can be as quick as calling a taxi. This is the main idea of the team “FlyFit” that develops an application for the owners and clients of the fitness centres. The platform is expected to bring together fitness centres, including swimming pools, football pitches, crossfit centres, in a network with operations in all cities worldwide that enables the users in any town or city to choose a fitness centre, apply for an individual session, buy sports food, or apply for a group session.
FlyFit will help the owners of the fitness centres to control their business, attract new clients, increase sales as the application can track the information about staff, visitors, and transactions online. The owner of the fitness centre can control what the users can see when using the application.
Preventing your e-brains from overheating
Your bitcoin mining farm is too loud and your laptop cannot run without overheating? You will forget about it! The team “EHD Lab” is developing an innovation heat-exchange unit for computers and servers to prevent them from overheating that will work longer than air fans and pumps and input electric energy 100 times less than its analogues.
Heat is removed through circulation of dielectric liquid under the strong electric field due to electro-hydrodynamic currents. It can be used in any computing technology, power units, industrial and medical equipment.
Plaster to read your blood sugar levels
Diabetes, according to the WHO, is among the most widespread diseases that can cause disability or even death. If you are diagnosed with diabetes, you should regularly check your blood sugar levels. The testing devices are therefore vital.
The team “Diaplast” came up with an idea to measure blood sugar levels using the multi-layered plaster that changes its colours depending on the level of glucose in body. Glucose may be found not only in blood, but also in sweat on your skin. If the concentration is critical, the plaster will change the colour. The key advantage of the innovation is that it is non-invasive procedure, value-for-money, and quick performance: you will get the results in about 10 minutes.