In the future you can 3D print a new jaw and your mobile can save you from heart failure. At least if it is up to the young researchers from all over the world who competed this week in the Venture Cup ideas competition.
The Danish project Particle 3D, which prosthetic bone print 3D print, won the competition for best pitch during the Scandinavian Venture Cup 2017.
Blindness, broken bones and arrhythmias are not tragedies, but rather inspire the young entrepreneurs who competed in the Danish capital Copenhagen this week for the best invention in the Venture Cup 2017.
Every year, universities from around the world send promising young scientists to the Venture Cup, a competition in the field of innovation. The best business plan wins 50,000 Danish kroner (around 7,000 euros).
For a week the creative youngsters network with representatives of companies, entrepreneurs and advisers and they practice presenting their inventions.
Their scientific findings show how the newest technologies can fuse together to make our future a little brighter.
Skulls heal themselves with 3D-printed bone fragments (Denmark)© Shutterstock
The Danish members of the Particle 3D project discovered how the body can be fooled in such a way that it rebuilds damaged bones.
With a special material and a 3D printer, they want to close holes in jaws and skulls, among other things.
"We have invented a material that we can print 3D and that does not repel the body, but recognizes it and begins to convert it into bone," said Casper Slots, one of the project's engineers.
Body reconstructs old bones
Today, doctors can 3D print plastic and titanium implants, but there is a risk that the body will reject the foreign materials.
The new material is a mixture of a powder of tricalcium phosphate and a fatty acid. It may be possible to repair the damaged bones of patients.
The engineers of the project 3D printing a prosthesis that looks like a net, so that the body's own cells can penetrate the prosthesis and rebuild the bone.
They have already managed to repair mouse skulls with holes in them.
"During tests, we made a hole in the skull of mice and replaced the material that we 3D printed."
"We saw eight weeks later that the holes in our implant were full of bone and marrow," says Casper Slots.
Hospitals are going to 3D bone printing
The inventors work together with the dental surgery department of the university hospital of the Danish city of Odense.
In November they test their artificial bones on pigs, while in 2018 the first human patient will get a new jaw from their 3D printer.
And the ambitions do not stop there.
"We dream that all hospitals can print bones for their patients on a large 3D printer like ours," said Casper Slots.
Seeing the blind with their ears (Sweden)© Lund University
Millions of sound frequencies merge with the Swedish project Navigation by Sound, which wants to show the blind - with sound.
'We convert the environment into a landscape of sound. A table sounds like a horizontal surface and a wall sounds like a vertical surface. '
"That sounds abstract, but slowly the blind will get to know these different sounds so that he can navigate independently," said Johan Isaksson, the project leader.
Glasses as a guide dog
The device, which resembles a kind of VR glasses, must make blind people independent of helpers, drivers, sticks and dogs.
'A stick is awkward and must hit an object before you know it is there. And a dog keeps you on a lead. '
"We want to give blind people the chance to walk around safely themselves."
The entry is a combination of various measuring instruments and technologies that read the environment and convert it into sound waves.
"We make sensors, computers, algorithms and headphones - all technology that needs to be specially designed to make our idea a reality."
Bats and whales copied
In the animal kingdom, the concept is widespread: bats and whales navigate using so-called echo location. However, the idea came closer to home.
"I saw a YouTube video with a man blindfolded playing a game where he had to use echo location. This is really just a very advanced variant of that game, "says Johan Isaksson.
Smart mattress prevents bedsores (Norway)© Shutterstock
If you lie immobile for days in a hospital bed, an innocent red spot can easily turn into a festering wound of dead tissue.
Amputation is sometimes the only way out of the worst wounds of patients who cannot turn themselves. That is why a Norwegian team of students has come up with something to prevent lying down.
"We are developing a mattress that, as it were, cradles the patient in a different position," says Nina Åmodt, one of the entrepreneurs of the Tidewave project.
Air pockets rotate the body
Patients who are completely at a standstill should actually be turned over every hour. That often hurts, they have to be woken up for it and for the nursing staff it is stressful for the back.
'We know that the angle only needs to be adjusted by 30 degrees in order to move the pressure sufficiently. Our idea is therefore to use compressed air, so that the mattress sometimes automatically places the patient a little differently, "says Åmodt.
By building the mattress out of small, inflatable air bags, the patient is rocked in such a way that his bones never burden a certain area of the skin for long periods of time.
Mattress prevents cramping
Currently, one in five patients in European hospitals and nursing homes suffer from bedsores. And in most cases this can be prevented by changing attitudes more often.
However, the inventors also focus on people with Parkinson's, MS and other diseases where the body stiffens, so that they do not contract.
"We will test the mattress on people after Christmas, and hope to be able to help patients in hospitals, nursing homes and at home in the long term," says Åmodt.
Phone shows heart failure (Finland)© Shutterstock
A minute. This way you only have to hold your phone to your heart for a diagnosis.
That is the idea behind the invention of the Finnish Precordior. This wants to save a portion of the 6 million people who die every year from a heart attack. An app must help with this.
Cardiac arrhythmia can be seen in chest movements
"We have been studying the movements of the heart since 2011, and now we can detect serious heart disease at a very early stage with the help of a smartphone," says Tuomas Valtonen, director of Precordior.
The company is called that because the solutions it designs measure movement in the precordium, the area in the chest that is just above the heart.
If the heart beats irregularly, you can measure it here.
"Many people develop arrhythmias as they age, without realizing it," Valtonen said.
Heart rhythm disturbances can increase the risk of stroke, heart failure or cardiac arrest.
"That is why we want to make sure that everyone can examine their own heart without the need for a visit to the doctor and all sorts of complicated situations," he says.
The app must demonstrate stroke
The team has developed equipment and software that can measure very small vibrations in the chest and thus provide a detailed picture of the heartbeat.
"Smartphones nowadays have an accelerometer and a gyroscope as standard, and therefore we can provide everyone with an accurate pocket-sized heart meter," Valtonen explains.
In the long term, it is intended that the app can also offer a solution if someone thinks that he or she may have a stroke, so that it is clear whether an ambulance should be called.
View into the future
At the Venture Cup, game technology, home care and particle physics are part of the same competition and representatives of large Danish companies exchange business cards with the beginning scientists and entrepreneurs.
The competition has previously helped the entrepreneurs behind the price comparison site Mybanker, and a few of the first 3D printers in the world have been presented here.
'There are a lot of talented students at the universities, who are building a better future for us all. I am very impressed by what they are capable of combining different technologies such as VR, robots and artificial intelligence, "said Human Shojaee," CEO of the Venture Cup.
According to him, the winner is not the one who goes home with the biggest prize.
'For me, we are the ones who win. We get in touch with all that young talent and get a unique look into the future, "he says.