The winners of the Swiss Innovation Challenge have now been announced: The main prize of 20,000 Swiss francs was presented by Guy Parmelin, member of the Swiss government, to the Zurich-based aiEndoscopic AG. The company combines Artificial Intelligence (AI) with robotic endoscopy and thereby facilitates smart or even autonomous endoscopies. Its first application is intuBot, an assisted device for tracheal intubation.
For this, aiEndoscopic also received the Life Sciences Special Award, which is sponsored by Hemex AG. In addition to the traditionally well-represented innovation areas of life sciences and medical technology, this year saw “a clear trend towards AI and blockchain technology”, according to comments from jury president Arie Verkuil in a press release.
Second place went to Perovskia Solar AG from Aubonne in the canton of Vaud. The company offers digitally printed, customizable solar cells for Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). The cleantech start-up is pursuing its vision of enabling these to be integrated in any device. Perovskia Solar also won the Special Prize for Construction, awarded by the Ulrich Stamm Charity Foundation.
Spirecut AG from Fribourg achieved third place. The company develops, certifies and industrializes ultrasound-guided instruments to surgically treat common hand disorders. These facilitate a non-invasive approach through minimal skin puncture without the need for incision. As such, patients do not suffer any postoperative scarring.
The Swiss Innovation Challenge was launched in 2014 by the Baselland Chamber of Commerce, the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW) and BLKB, the cantonal bank for the canton of Basel-Landschaft. It is an eight-month innovation funding program that also includes a competition. This year’s award ceremony was held on November 24 at the “Haus der Wirtschaft” in Pratteln in the canton of Basel-Landschaft. It was integrated in the Baselland Business Gala for the first time, with the event also being broadcast live as well.