From a sleeping cube to perovskite batteries. Projects that have made it to the Moscow Innovator Award finals

August 3, 2020
Economy and entrepreneurship

The 2020 Moscow Innovator Awards will be presented for the first time. Investors and potential clients will learn about local inventors, startups and the innovation business sector. An expert panel will evaluate projects; inventors will vie for cash prizes worth an impressive 17 million-plus roubles.

Thirty projects, selected from among 500 have made it into the competition finals. 

“The finalists will unveil their projects before investors, the business community and the Moscow government. They will receive cash prizes ranging from 500,000 to 1.5 million roubles. All finalists will receive cash prizes and will be able to offer their projects to potential investors and consumers,” said Alexei Fursin, Head of the Department of Entrepreneurship and Innovative Development.

Winners will be selected in the following categories: Project of the Future, Changing Reality and Leaders of Innovation. Each has five subcategories: Artificial Intelligence and IT Technologies, Urban Environment, Medicine and Pharmaceuticals, Transport and Energy.

Controlling cell metabolism

Only unique projects with nothing similar in Russia have made it into the competition finals. For example, the ATG-02PK portable cranio-cerebral therapeutic hypothermia device which cools the brain to treat stroke, sport-related injuries, central nervous system diseases, depression and Alzheimer’s Disease. The device reduces negative impact on the human brain. It can treat and prevent acute brain disorders, as well as chronic cerebrovascular problems.

“We are trying to boost conscience levels and levels of cognitive functions. Brain hypothermia makes it possible to accomplish all this because our brain is a computer and should be treated as such. The brain is enclosed in a rigid bony structure that prevents the brain from effectively releasing excess heat. But the thing is that the brain generates a lot of heat,” said Professor Oleg Shevelev, the project’s inventor, DSc (Medicine).

Oleg Shevelev, project inventor, DSc (Medicine), professor

Today, doctors cool all of a patients’ body, and this can lead to complications. This new device eliminates that problem, diverts heat and reduces brain cortex temperatures by two to three degrees. Consequently, brain cortex neurons start generating specific proteins that prevent cell damage for a long time.

“In our opinion, hypothermia is not like ice applied to bruises or wounds to ease pain. Indeed, this can lead to serious interference in cell metabolism. Body organs and tissues convert to new regulation levels making it possible to withstand major loads,” Mr Shevelev said.

Oleg Shevelev, project inventor, DSc (Medicine), professor

The device consists of several elements, including a standard cooling generator with controls and sensors, as well as a helmet filled with a coolant agent.  The entire device weighs about 12 kilogrammes.

“Cooling is only part of the treatment. As soon as it stops, warm blood starts flowing into the cooled zone again and increases the temperature. It is therefore necessary to control cooling and heating processes. This technology cannot be designed more simply; this is a very sophisticated device,” Mr Shevelev added.

According to the inventors, this easy-to-use device is absolutely safe and lacks any side-effects or complications. However, doctors should prescribe this treatment and monitor the patient’s condition. A prototype ATG-01 device is now being used at 25 clinics in Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, including Moscow’s Federal Scientific Research Centre for Intensive Care and Rehabilitation, the Yeramishantsev City Clinical Hospital, the Konchalovsky City Clinical Hospital, and Clinical Hospital No. 1 of the Presidential Administrative Directorate.

The inventors wanted to attract the attention of as many medical specialists as possible, as well as investors and the Moscow government. This is why they decided to take part in the Moscow Innovators competition. The city has also supported them in the past, and their company Cryo-Techno-Med has resident status at the Skolkovo Innovation Centre.

Fighting insomnia without violating biological rhythms

The sleeping cube EcoSleep is a project by another Skolkovo Centre that has made it into the competition finals. EcoSleep, a non-contact device that generates electromagnetic impulses from 1 to 40 hertz and helps people fall asleep quickly and easily. The cube fits into the palm of the hand. The user controls it by touching the surface, through gestures and also using a mobile app. The invention will help people with insomnia; according to inventors, 33 percent of urban dwellers face this problem.

Other finalists studied the influence of artificial light on the human body and invented new luminescent lighting materials. According to doctors, a large share of dark-blue light in the spectrum band of LED lamps can disrupt human biological rhythms and impair people’s health. Many LED lamps emit highly intensive dark-blue and violet light (up to 30 percent), as compared to ordinary incandescent lamps. The finalists developed spectrum-modifying composite plates and created effective luminophores for manufacturing safer and more user-friendly lamps. These synthesised luminophores can be used for street and home lamps.

Pool of energy for mobile devices and durable internal prosthetics

How can we recharge a mobile device with dim office lamps? An invention has been proposed by engineers Danila Saranin and Tatiana Komaricheva from the Laboratory of Advanced Solar Power Industry at the National University of Science and Technology MISIS. They have presented perovskite solar batteries for recharging portable devices with scattered light.

“Dim office light or, for example, solar light in cloudy weather or in the evening can provide a pool of energy for recharging Wi-Fi relay systems, Bluetooth sensors, smartphones, trackers and cordless headsets,” Mr Saranin noted.

Danila Saranin, an engineer with the Advanced Solar Energy Laboratory

Perovskite is a unique semiconductor whose layers can be manufactured using certain printers. This makes the production process cheaper and simpler. Current market technology is ineffective in scattered light, Mr Saranin added.

“We have become used to the fact that solar batteries are used on rooftops, and that cordless devices include calculators and keyboards. In-Power, a perovskite battery that collects scattered light, can recharge a telephone continuously. All we have to do is place a flexible solar battery on the telephone’s case,” he said.

The inventors have developed a line of multi-size solar batteries. They want to launch a pilot project and provide self-contained power supply systems for the Internet of Things ecosystem.

Taking part in the competition has allowed the developers to feel like scientists and business entrepreneurs. The Moscow Innovators Award team worked with inventors for several weeks. “We left a place where we were surrounded by science and academic grants, and it changed our mentality. We learned to use business related terminology while speaking with scientists and potential investors, and venture fund managers, and we discussed products in terms of consumer interest and business,” Mr Saranin noted.

Another MISIS invention also made it into the finals. Students Anna Karabanova and Alexander Chyubrik developed a new material for making durable and sturdy artificial pelvis/hip joints.

“An insert replacing human cartilage in the joint is an essential component of endo-prostheses. It mostly consists of polymers, ceramics and related composite materials. A polymer called polyether ether ketone (PEEK) is now becoming popular and is currently being used. We are suggesting a slightly modified version containing boron nitride powder that will make the polymer more durable and sturdier,” said Anna Karabanova who conceived the idea.

Developers have already obtained the first samples of this material and are studying its biological and mechanical properties. They are also in talks with potential partners who are interested in implementing the project.

“Our partners include endo-prosthetics manufacturers, our target audience, as well as manufacturers of materials and designers. During the competition, we established new connections and became acquainted with other inventors,” Ms Karabanova added.

Business coaches and leading specialists also spoke with the finalists. They taught the inventors how to sell their concepts and the basics of working with teams and audiences. According to Ms Karabanova, she and her partner now know how to look for investors and partners who can help them expand the project.

Elastic track linings and air quality monitoring

The inventors of the Safe Railways project, who are also vying for victory, have developed a technology that prevents rail joints from settling and breaking. This is a main cause of derailments. Their project strengthens the rail joints by placing an elastic lining/shock absorber on the concrete cross-ties. Similar foreign experience has been successful, and the developers are looking for potential clients in the Russian market.

Press Service of the Mayor and Moscow Government

A prototype environmental monitoring system also made the finals. The inventors suggest installing compact modular stations to collect air quality data that would include 15 types of data, tiny particles, temperature and humidity levels, as well as wind force and direction. The data would be fed into an integral database and visualised if necessary. Specialists or private individuals could use the data, and observations would be conducted 24 hours a day.

All projects that have made it into the finals have undergone legal, scientific and economic expert checks. For example, experts have reviewed the authenticity of project documentation, have reviewed the unique engineering solutions, the results of the research and development projects and project implementation deadlines.


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