Gardener drones, nanomaterials to chill vaccines, a powdered hydrogel to filter water… On 25 and 26 June a dozen innovative startups got together for the second Hello Tomorrow Challenge at the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie in Paris. During the event, a number of promising projects were presented in six areas: energy & environment, healthcare, food & agriculture, transportation & mobility, manufacturing & materials and IT & security.
This year the Hello Tomorrow Challenge jury received over 3,600 applications from all over the world. 80 were shortlisted, but only 30 made it through to the semi-finals and competed for the prizes: €15,000 for the finalists in each of the six categories, and €100,000 and wide international visibility for the winner.
A fleet of drones to combat deforestation
This year’s winner is British startup BioCarbon Engineering. The promising project, the brainchild of former NASA engineer Lauren Fletcher, involves using UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) to map areas that need to be reforested then plant seeds from the air by firing a pregerminated seed pod into the soil with pressurised air planter. Up to 36,000 seeds pods can be planted every day using this method.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Channel, a startup has come up with a shared minibus service so people can get home safely after a night out in Paris. With the dedicated app, users can book a journey for between 2 and 5 a.m. from various pick-up points in central Paris. An algorithm then finds the quickest route home.
Another French startup called Instent has developed a smart stent (a small tube used to keep open natural cavities such as arteries) which monitors the patient’s condition and adjusts their anticoagulant treatment accordingly.
Drones also feature in the IT & security category: Italian outfit Archon Dronistics provides automatic video surveillance in open areas, with secure real-time video streaming obtained by a camera on the drones. For manufacturing & materials, American firm Nanoly is developing a polymer that allows vaccines to survive without refrigeration. And in the food & agriculture sector, Wavve Stream, another American company, has developed a graphene-based nanotechnology that enables existing water filtration systems to simultaneously remove various contaminants from the water including heavy metals, viruses, harmful chemicals, radioactive ions, and inactivate bacteria.
“Focus on the user”
Aside from the competition, Hello Tomorrow was also an opportunity to hear keynotes from speakers such as Professor David Miller, NASA’s Chief Technology Officer, Eric Forest, CEO of EnterNext, Rob High from IMB’s artificial intelligence programme, Watson, and Jean Botti from Airbus Group.
-Fall in love with problems, not technology
-Partner with experts who want to solve the same problem
-Focus on the user: make sure you’re solving their problem.
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Crédit photo : Pixabay