The University of Antwerp, the University Hospital of Antwerp and Verhaert Masters in Innovation team up once again in 2021 to boost medical innovation in Flanders. This year the City of Antwerp is joining the Medical Solutions Accelerator. Together they will help start-ups develop successful medical products and services in an inspiring coaching programme.
Why this programme The Medical Solutions Accelerator gives medical start-ups access to a unique mix of state-of-the-art technology with breakthrough product innovation services. In addition, they’ll get input from end-users and medical experts in a clinical setting, and access funding and investment opportunities. Thanks to this program start-ups will launch a valuable and successful medical solution, validated by user and patient experience in clinical testing.
What to expect This year 8 ambitious start-ups will be selected to refine their innovative idea with coaches from UAntwerpen, UZA and Verhaert. The 3-month programme consists of:
5 inspiring workshops to guide the medical solutions towards market success
One-on-one coaching from industry experts & access to specialist equipment
A pitch event in which a jury of innovation experts, entrepreneurs and investors will select the most promising medical business and product concept.
Join the Medical Solutions Accelerator Are you the ambitious start-up we are looking for? Don’t miss out on this exciting opportunity to boost your innovative idea. Submit your idea before 2 July 2021. Visit the Medical Solutions Accelerator website for more information and application.
A new breakthrough in the S3Food project. Food waste is a gigantic and increasing problem in the developed countries and requires immediate action as this constitutes a massive loss of resources throughout the food production value chain. This project aims at constructing, testing and optimizing a pilot process line to receive, handle and process bread waste. The technology enables the bread sector to reduce food waste by 50 % by 2030 and partly fulfilling UN’s sustainability goal # 12.3
The goal of this project is to integrate real time sensor technology in an automated process that separates bread waste, such as day-old bread and packed bread into homogeneous categories. By combining data from sensors with known product recipes, the composition of a finished bread waste product can be optimized, which after drying and grinding will become ingredients in new sustainable foods such as granola, bread crackers, muesli bars, pasta, bread chips etc.
Funded project within S3Food: Next Generation Sensors B.V. and CIED B.V.in the Netherlands aim to develop a portable real time scanner for contamination in food production, called “The Revolutionary Real Time AgroFood Contaminant Screener”.
S3Food is the pan European project for digital Industry 4.0 transition in which DSP Valley takes part as one of the 13 international consortium partners. It funds this great project that will develop the portable real time scanner for contamination in milk production. The second-largest food type in the agri-food testing market is the dairy industry, which is why the project will start with that industry as the launching market. After the product launch meat and fruit/vegetable companies – and food/feed companies in general – will follow rapidly after that.
An unprecedented portable contaminant screener will be delivered in this Lab-to-Sample. The development of Minimum Viable Product (MVP) allows the partners to rapidly commercialise their joint innovation. The proposed screener’s underlying technologies are:
– an unparalleled portable mass spectrometer – a novel rapid sampling probe – a novel blockchain ledger – and machine learning algorithms
These algorithms are resulting in a revolutionary real-time dairy contaminant screener. Accurate, real-time contamination detection at the source would:
1) prevent contamination extension because of milk pooling. This is significantly reducing food waste. 2) reduce analysis costs and 3) drastically reduce the need for costly food recalls
Next Generation Sensors B.V. + CIED B.V. are also collaborating with The Maastricht MultiModal Molecular Imaging Institute (M4I).
Verhaert Masters in Innovation, the innovation factory with headquarters in Kruibeke, has subscribed to a capital increase from the imec.istart Fund. The investment fund imec.istart Fund receives a substantial capital injection and grows from 12.5 million euro to more than 30 million euro.
Coaching tech start-ups
“Within the MyStartUp programme, Verhaert has guided and provided equity free seed money to more than hundred start-ups across Europe in recent years on the authority of the European Space Agency ESA, the European Copernicus and Point.Iot programme and several MedTech accelerators,” says Koen Verhaert, CEO and Program Director MyStartUp.
With this investment in the imec.istart Fund, Verhaert, through the fund, now also invests in the capital of such tech start-ups. “We have chosen the imec.istart Fund for this because of their track record, ecosystem and multi-sector approach. Verhaert will also help to guide the imec.istart team and coach the start-ups in further developing their idea into a marketable and scalable product.”
The imec.istart Fund was established in 2017 with a starting capital of 12.5 million euro and a focus on start-ups working with digital technologies. The Flemish government and private partners who co-initiated the fund are imec, ING, BNP Paribas Fortis, Telenet and Cronos Groep. Besides its initial focus on digital technology, special attention will be paid to sustainability and IoT physical products. To reinforce this evolution, the fund also attracts 4 new partners: Verhaert, Nuhma, EFIN and Vlaamse EnergieHolding. This way, the capital of the imec.istart Fund grows to 30.5 million euro and the right framework is created.
During the past years, the investments of imec.istart often turned out to be a flywheel for follow-up funding. Every euro that the imec.istart Fund invested in start-ups generated on average more than 25 euro from other sources. Together, the portfolio companies of the imec.istart Fund raised over 320 million euro in follow-up funding. With the capital increase, the various partners want to further increase the impact of the start-up ecosystem and thus contribute to innovation and a sustainable local economy.
About Verhaert Masters in Innovation Since 1969, Verhaert Masters in Innovation has been a pioneer in the field of product innovation. As a leading innovation group in integrated product development, Verhaert helps companies and entrepreneurs to develop and implement successful innovation projects. Today, the group has more than 200 employees with offices in Kruibeke, Gentbrugge, Kortrijk, Nivelles, Utrecht and Aveiro. www.verhaert.com
easics, a Leuven-based market leader in the embedded systems digital design, switches into its next gear as a company. Next to providing unique competence and development platforms that lead to first-time right, reliable and optimized logic and software that is maintainable by the customer, easics starts providing network and Artificial Intelligence (AI) product/IP solutions for system developers of health and industrial products. easics nearbAI technology provides a compact, low-power and affordable AI core that runs complex neural networks on FPGAs and ASICs at the edge, close to the sensors. This results in a low and predictable latency and runs with ultra low-power consumption. easics’ embedded AI solutions integrate tightly with novel and existing sensors such as image sensors capturing light inside and outside the visible spectrum (such as hyperspectral and thermal infrared), 3D scanning laser (LiDAR), Time-of-Flight (ToF) sensors, radar, microscopy, ultrasound sensors, and microphones, and thus enable many novel businesses.
To enable this growth ambition Emiliano D’Agostino joined the MT as managing director & CEO of easics as of April 2021. He is an executive with hands-on experience in the medtech industry. Before joining easics, he has founded DoseVue, a medtech company which he has brought from incorporation up to commercial product launch. He received a PhD in electrical engineering, focused on medical image processing, from the KU Leuven in 2006. He holds master degrees in physics engineering from the Université Libre de Bruxelles and in nuclear engineering from the Politecnico di Milano.
“I am really looking forward to helping easics moving to the next phase by expanding easics’ product related activities, in particular in the medical sector. The company has a tremendous potential and is already a trusted partner for several big international players in the medical and industrial fields.”, says Emiliano. Rector-emeritus of the KU Leuven, Prof. Oosterlinck, and since its foundation 30 years ago Chairman of the Board of easics, welcomes Emiliano: “Emiliano is an international manager with very good knowledge of the health and industrial business, and an excellent alumnus of the medical imaging research group of the KU Leuven, that I started more than 45 years ago. I am sure that he will bring easics to the next level.” “We welcome Emiliano to the MT of easics and look forward to growing the company further with him,” say Ramses Valvekens and Steven Coenen, the managers and main stakeholders of easics.
Visit easics at their website and follow them via their social media channels:
DSP Valley is glad to announce that 28 SMEs will receive funding from S3FOOD, the pan European project for digital Industry 4.0 transition in which we take part as one of the 13 international consortium partners. 14 projects have been selected with themes like ‘data-driven fermentation management’, ‘egg processing with enhanced data integration’ or ‘smart systems for real-time monitoring of evaporation in wine aging’.
14 cross-sectoral collaboration projects
This has already been the second S3FOOD voucher call within the project. 14 innovative SME driven projects have been selected all across Europe. The winning projects will receive funding to develop and adopt innovative digital solutions to concrete challenges food processing companies are facing to modernize and improve food production.
Alltogether, the 14 cross–sectoral collaboration projects will receive different types of vouchers for an amount close to 1.3 million Euros. The types of vouchers vary depending on the development stage of the project, called the TRL, or Technology Readiness Level. The earliest stage projects receive up to 15,000 Euro while the larger scale collaboration projects receive up to 180,000 Euro.
Industry 4.0 transition
S3FOOD wants to establish an innovation-friendly, cross-border and cross-sectoral ecosystem to help SMEs start their Industry 4.0 transition.
Veerle De Graef, Innovation Manager, Flanders’ FOOD– coordinator of the S3FOOD project: “Companies that still rely on a few in-house specialists to register and interpret processing data are at risk of losing important knowledge and expertise. Using for instance smart sensors, makes it possible to secure everything in automated systems and to bring sustainable benefits to their business, improving efficiency and quality of the production methods.”
Besides the funding, being a part of S3FOOD also grants the 14 projects access to industry experts, knowledge sharing, a solid network of like-minded SMEs and much more.
A revolution in progress
Many larger companies have already responded to the fourth industrial revolution – the digital revolution -, by automating and digitalizing their process. This includes benefiting from the related data generation, which opens the door to identify processing issues quicker. This also gives opportunities for continuous improvement.
S3FOOD targets the many SMEs in the agri-food industry in Europe, that have still not found the partners and funds to start the same journey towards digitalization.
The consortium has already supported 44 projects with 51 unique SMEs across Europe and now adds 14 new projects to the portfolio.
“While we are still in the middle of the S3FOOD project, we can already begin to see the results of the first projects that received the funding vouchers. It’s fascinating to see how SMEs can truly benefit from the latest technology, and we are happy to be able to welcome another 14 projects to S3FOOD, and to the future of food production,” says project leader Veerle De Graef.
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S3FOOD is a 5 million Euro Innosup – 01 project under H2020 that aims to stimulate the uptake of smart sensor solutions by the small and medium sized enterprises in the agri-food sector with the purpose of improving efficiency, sustainability and safety. S3FOOD started in May 2019 and has launched two voucher calls where SMEs could apply for funding for the implementation of innovative digital solutions to concrete challenges of the food processing industry.
The S3FOOD consortium consists of 13 partners from across Europe: Flanders’ FOOD, Belgium; DSP Valley, Belgium; Wagralim, Belgium; INNOSKART, Hungary; AgriFood Capital BV, The Netherlands; AIN, Spain; ASINCAR, Spain; Bretagne Développement Innovation, France; CLUSAGA, Spain; CORALLIA , Greece; Food & Bio Cluster Denmark, Denmark; Food-Processing Initiative, Germany and CIMES, France.
Read more about S3FOOD on www.s3food.eu or follow the project on LinkedIn and twitter: @s3food_eu
S3FOOD has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No. 824769-S3FOOD.
Verhaert Masters in Innovation and SpaceTec Partners are pleased to announce that they will jointly implement a €1.2 million contract to support space research and innovation by organising hackathons and offering mentoring to start-ups.
European space hackathons & mentoring
The contract has a potential value of up to €3.6 million and will implement the European Space Hackathons & Mentoring programme on behalf of the European Commission. It includes a series of 2 hackathons in 2021 and another 4 hackathons in the following 2 years upon renewal of the contract. It is a first step within the Competitive Space Start-ups for Innovation (CASSINI) initiative of the European Commission to grow the number of start-ups that successfully commercialise innovative European space technologies.
Each hackathon runs simultaneously at up to 10 locations. For the organisation of the hackathons and mentoring, Verhaert and SpaceTec Partners count on the support of local organisers, for whom this is a great opportunity to enter the fascinating market of space-based innovation and entrepreneurship.
Boost chances to succeed & accelerate growth
The CASSINI initiative will boost the opportunities for space start-ups to succeed thanks to technical and business support. On the other hand, it will accelerate their growth and scale-up by attracting more private investors. CASSINI streamlines existing initiatives and contemplates new ones to support innovation and start-ups. As part of the European Strategy for SMEs it will create a coherent, long term, structured, focused and scalable public support mechanism.
Foster the commercialisation of European space technologies
Supporting innovation and entrepreneurship in the European space community, is a topic close to the hearts of Verhaert Masters in Innovation and SpaceTec Partners. Thomas Tanghe, Partner at SpaceTec Partners: “The new CASSINI hackathons will build on the legacy of innovation programmes our companies jointly implemented for space such as the Copernicus Accelerator and Point.IoT. Together, we are looking forward to continuing our efforts toward fostering awareness and user uptake for the components of the European Space Programme: Copernicus, Galileo, EGNOS, GOVSATCOM and Space Situational Awareness (SSA).”
Sam Waes, Program Manager for the OpenLab at Verhaert Masters in Innovation, adds: “We want to integrate the CASSINI hackathons in a relevant space ecosystem. Thanks to our well-developed methodology and innovative approach, we are experienced in reaching audiences in- and outside the space community, covering multiple professional fields with a very broad geographic coverage in Europe. During the hackathons, we want to encourage human interactions and give start-ups access to a wide pool of mentors.”
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About SpaceTec Partners SpaceTec Partners is a unique boutique consultancy as its team combines years of consulting craftsmanship with in-depth expertise of the space industry. SpaceTec Partners assists its clients with management consulting, market development and innovation advisory, as specialists in the space industry. www.spacetec.partners
About Verhaert Masters in Innovation Since 1969 Verhaert Masters in Innovation is a pioneer in the field of product innovation. As a leading innovation group in integral product development, Verhaert helps companies and entrepreneurs to develop and execute successful innovation projects. The group now has more than 200 employees with offices in Kruibeke, Gentbrugge, Kortrijk, Nivelles, Noordwijk, Utrecht and Aveiro. www.verhaert.com
At the start of December 2020, Flemish newspaper De Standaard included a special look at innovation in the region.
As part of the campaign, DSP Valley spoke with Media Planet about the importance of networking to digital innovation. CEO Dieter Therssen explained DSP Valley’s philosophy and the benefits networking brings.
“Innovation is never the work of a single company, but often arises from a combination of existing data or products. That implies that you need several companies to realize innovative developments. A good network is one of the key factors for successful innovation.”
At DSP Valley, we work toward business development in a collaborative spirit, leveraging networks to benefit entire markets and ecosystems. As Dieter put it, “Our biggest challenge is the translation of the technology to the industry. DSP Valley tries to play a role in this. Several things are needed: you need technology, you need people with the talent to convert that technology, you need money, but you also need a network to bring companies together around good ideas.”
DSP member Verhaert Masters in Innovation has received a research grant from VLAIO to develop state-of-the-art artificial intelligence (AI-)driven robot technology.
In the research project, Verhaert will develop a robotic platform for spinal surgery which uses algorithms developed by Deep Learning (AI). The developed algorithms will transform high resolution preoperative 3D images, like CT scans and MRIs, to high resolution images of the patient in his or her new physical laying position during surgery. The novel part of the proposed procedure is the significant reduction of the use of cancerogenous ionizing x-ray beams during surgery, like CT-scans, while still being able to perform sub-millimeter surgery and catheter tracking.
3-step surgical procedure Defining the concept The physical laying position of the patient changes before, at the start and during surgery, which has an impact on the physical position and form of the spinal cord. All these changes in position need to be taken into account in order to perform sub-mm surgery.
Before: the patient is laying on her back for high resolution CT/MRI scans.
At the start: the patient is laying on her stomach.
During: the patient is laying on her stomach and slightly moves because of breathing, heartbeat and the impact of the surgery itself.
A high resolution sub millimeter 3D image is taken from the patient several days before surgery. This is done either by a CT-scan or MRI. Typically, the scan is taken while the patient is laying on his/her back. Based on the image the surgery is planned and a trajectory is calculated in order to reach the desired location in the spinal cord.
At the start of surgery At this stage the patient will be laying on his/her stomach. Markers are placed on the patient which are detected by a set of Infra-Red cameras in order to create a 3D model of the patients’ physical position on the operating table. In this new position, a low dose low resolution (supra-millimeter) 2D image is take of the patients’ spine. The 2D image is taken with a C-arm 2D fluoroscopic scanner.
The 2D image and the external marker localizations are used to transform the high resolution pre-surgery 3D image into a newly reconstructed high resolution 3D image of the spine in its new position and form. At this point, the surgeon and its team has a 3D image of the patients’ anatomy in combination with an external reference frame.
In the Netherlands, 300 to 400 people are infected per year with the legionella bacteria (Legionnaires’ disease or Pontiac fever), a number that is rising each year. Victims of the bacteria suffer for a long period, from several months up to more than a year. Between 5 and 10% of cases are lethal.
Legionella infections mostly occur through people breathing in legionella-contaminated aerosols. Aerosols are small droplets of water that are generated, for example, when showering. For this reason, public showers like the ones in sports centres, swimming halls, and saunas, as well as truck stops and camp sites, need to be flushed regularly to prevent legionella growing in the water pipes. The required flushing is often done manually or semi-automated, which is very time consuming, prone to human errors, and labor intensive. Especially when one takes into account the legal obligations to report data like date, time, water temperature, and flush duration per shower.
The risk of legionella contamination has increased in the current Covid-19 crisis with the (temporary) closure of facilities. Showers are not used by clients and facility engineers who have to stay home and are not allowed to come to their facilities for the requisite flushing.
Sfella is the Smart Flush solution by Mioto* that addresses all of the above issues. Sfella is a user-friendly, reliable and easy-to-install solution for legionella prevention. The system is modular, for use within environments with multiple showers. It assures flushing the shower(s) happens after an operator-defined time period. The system reports the important flush data like date, time, duration, and water temperature. This reporting and control of the showers happens locally or remote via a dedicated gateway.
Sfella is powered by the mesh network MyriaNed. It is an infrastructure of nodes that connect directly, dynamically, and non-hierarchically. This allows easy configuration and scalability. Data transfer to and from the shower units (represented by a node) is wireless and bi-directional. Therefore, settings can be changed remotely, while the report with flush-related data can be received remotely in your email inbox. MyriaNed can be configured to use either 868MHz or 2.4GHz. This allows for the optimal fit in each local environment in terms of coverage and energy usage.
In February 2020, just before the first Covid-19 wave struck the Netherlands, van Mierlo Ingenieursbureau B.V. started a pilot program with Sfella on 15 showers in a care institute. The unforeseen Covid-19 crisis forced the care institute to close its sports facilities for several months, a perfect period to test the installed Sfella system. It appears the automatic flushing happened every 72 hours as programmed. Once the facilities opened again in early summer, final confirmation arrived: examinations of the water samples taken showed no legionella contamination in the related water pipes. This offered the most convincing evidence that Sfella delivered.
van Mierlo Ingenieursbureau is now to actively approaching the Dutch market and discussing with sales and distribution partners, as well as technology partners, to broaden the Sfella roadmap. If you are interested in partnering for sales and distribution, including outside the Netherlands, please contact us.