List of Success Stories
Solder not stitch
Closing wounds without sutures or staples. The University of Bern and
Storz Endoskop Produktions GmbH in Schaffhausen have developed a procedure
that makes it possible to operate in the abdominal cavity without making
an abdominal incision.
The screening millionaires
A major leap forwards: A new screening technology has made it possible to examine
a million colonies of bacteria per day. The new technology is being developed by scientists
at the Basel-based ETH Department of Biosystems together with the speciality chemicals
company DSM. It is 100 times faster than conventional screening systems.
Drilling holes as thin as hair
The EU requires smaller fuel injector holes to make motor vehicles more environmentally
friendly and fuel-efficient. Electric discharge machining (EDM) is currently the only way to
make the holes EU-compliant. Working together, Swiss machine manufacturer Posalux SA
and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) have devised an auxiliary
module that can be used with electric discharge machines to cut drilling times.
Flavescence dorée is a grapevine disease that ravages wine crops each year. In the Canton of Ticino, a company called Dolphin Engineering is working on an innovative wireless sensor network that continuously takes air temperature readings. Armed with this data, winegrowers will be able to fight the disease more efficiently.
Electro-stimulation of the muscles
Muscle pain can arise for a number of reasons. In many cases, electro-stimulation proves effective. Until recently, electrodes were attached to the affected body parts like patches. But the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and EMPA, in a CTI project with Compex Medical SA and Bischoff Textiles plc, have developed a new method: multi-channel electrodes are to be integrated into textiles themselves. This could pave the way for the creation of clothing which simultaneously treats pain or even sportswear that alleviates muscular tension.
Charlotte or Lady Felicia?
All potatoes cook differently. Some prove mealy, others remain firm. Even potatoes of the same variety cook differently, which is why the cooking instructions on packaging are often of little use to consumers.
In a project funded by the CTI, researchers at the Swiss College of Agriculture investigated key factors influencing the cooking properties of potatoes: their starch content and genotype. It will soon be possible for bags of potatoes to do exactly what they say on the label.
Bio-caviar from the foot of the Lötschberg
Caviar is traditionally associated with Russia or Iran. Now however, Switzerland is also able to compete. While drilling the Lötschberg base tunnel, miners came upon warm water ideal for breeding this Siberian sturgeon. In a project funded by CTI, Tropenhaus Frutigen Plc, a start-up company, together with researchers from the University of Bern, tested whether this species of fish was actually able to thrive in mountain water. The imported fish are now fully grown and commercial production of the first two to three tonnes of caviar from the Bernese Oberland is imminent.
Wine casks – now made in Switzerland
Oak trees are generally considered to be of secondary importance in Switzerland. In recent years their potential has not really been harnessed. Wine lovers, however, do still appreciate their worth: wine that has been fermented in casks, small oak barrels able to hold about 225-228 litres, is valuable and highly sought-after. Until now, Swiss wine producers have imported all of these casks from France. However, as part of a CTI project, researchers at the Changin School of Engineering, a department of the University of Applied Sciences of Western Switzerland, together with experts from a range of fields, worked to develop Swiss-made casks. The good news is that since winter 2007 it has been possible to enjoy Swiss wine that is branded ‘Terroir chêne’.
Using bacteria and fungi in the battle against pollution
In a project funded by CTI, Trello Beffa, a biologist at the University of Neuchâtel, worked together with Infors plc to develop both a bioreactor and a method for treating organic waste.
The bioreactor enables biodegradation to take place quickly and cost-effectively. It is used in fields such as sewage treatment, bioremediation techniques for the grounds of landfill sites, as well as the decontamination and recycling of waste products.
A groundbreaking project in urban development
The inhabitants of Töss, a district of Winterthur, once felt neglected. Traffic, integration and social problems began to make their mark on an area otherwise steeped in tradition. Winterthur’s town council responded to the concerns of the population by commissioning the School of Social Work of the University of Applied Sciences in Zurich to design projects to enhance the area. In devising possible solutions, the researchers, funded by the CTI, drew heavily on the input of the local population. Twenty projects arose from this, which are now being implemented successively by the town.
A ‘garden of Eden’ for the Elderly
Senior citizens in care homes rarely spend much time outdoors. The CTI ‘Garden Therapy’ project came about with a view to creating an incentive for them to go out and enjoy nature once more. The School of Life Sciences Wädenswil, working together with the landscape architecture department at the College of Engineering in Rapperswil, has created a landscaped garden at the Gibeleich elderly housing scheme in Opfikon: an inspiring and unparalleled natural space for senior citizens.
3D-Landscaping: faster, more comprehensive, more accurate
The digital age has even found its way into landscape planning. There is an increasing tendency to work on projects digitally. Until recently, however, this was very expensive and the various steps were extremely time-consuming.
Holcim Group Support Ltd sought and found partners for their project in the form of IT specialists in landscape planning from the College of Engineering in Rapperswil (HSR). They then launched a CTI project and were able to win additional partners in Leica Geosystems plc and ViewTec Ltd. Their collective efforts have resulted in a digitised procedure for garden and landscape design which saves time, money and effort.
The EPFL spin-off BlueBotics SA develops autonomous robots and vehicles that can load
warehouse shelves, analyse the surface of Mars or orient visitors at trade fairs. With the
help of a CTI coach, engineers were able to acquire the commercial know-how they lacked.
Doing business with the Sun
With its flexible photovoltaic modules, ETH spin-off Flisom AG intends to revolutionise the
solar power market. Commercial production is expected to begin in 2013. Although this
company’s technology is pioneering, it has had difficulty raising venture capital. Now a
well-known Indian investor has stepped in.
Oil and gas findings with the aid of Swiss technology
Where is worth drilling for oil and gas? In the future this question will be far easier to answer, because the CTI label-company, Spectraseis plc, has developed a new detection method: a seismometer measures underground movements on the sea floor. Thanks to an innovative and highly complex process of data analysis, it is now possible to determine the precise location of oil and gas resources.
After developing this groundbreaking method, Spectraseis plc was presented with the World Oil Award in 2007.
Conquering the beauty market with the CTI Start-up label
Ageing skin means more wrinkles. Finding an effective means of smoothing them has always been an aim of aesthetic medicine. But now Anteis, a company with the CTI label, has discovered an innovative treatment method. Its product, Esthélis, is a gelatinous substance which, when applied beneath the skin, makes wrinkles disappear.
At the outset, the company had only six employees, today this figure has grown to over fifty. Anteis consistently invests twenty per cent of its turnover in research and development of new products.