Meet the finalists
The European Inventor Award honours the individuals whose inventions impact our lives. Thanks to these pioneers, our world is becoming safer, smarter and more sustainable.
1 - 12 of 12 search results
Thanks to John Daugman's 2001 patent, iris recognition left the science fiction realm and became possible in real life. The 52-year-old professor at Cambridge University developed a computer algorithm that turns the eye into an electronic fingerprint.
Fiona Fairhurst, formerly Product Manager Research and Development , at Speedo, spent years developing the perfect swimsuit. Over the last decade, Speedo's "Fastskin" suit and advancements of that technology have turned heads as the new "silver bullet" in professional swimming, leading to numerous world records and Olympic medals.
There is hardly a scientist who has done more for the advancement of solar energy than 80-year-old Adolf Goetzberger, who has pioneered solar technology research and founded Europe's largest research institute for solar energy. His achievements as a whole have helped turn a fringe energy source into a multi-billion EUR industry.
Although the technical description of a reduction gear may send one's head proverbially spinning, in layman's terms, it's simply a gear that slows things down. Bartolomej Janek, the 52-year-old engineer, inventor, and co-founder of the Slovakian company SPINEA, revolutionised the way gears are made by designing a compact reduction gear that maximises a motor's torque at sustained speeds.
For decades, the use of enzymes as catalysts for chemical reactions was limited to small-scale applications. But that was before German biochemist Maria-Regina Kula unlocked the catalytic potential of an enzyme called Formate dehydrogenase (FDH), now used on an industrial production scale.
With climate change wreaking havoc and volatile energy prices affecting home heating costs, the need for both environment friendly and budget-conscious heating systems is greater than ever. Joseph Le Mer's innovative adaptations on heat exchangers delivered just that.
Pig iron is an integral, but wasteful building block of steel. Until recently, the only commercially viable way to get molten pig iron was to super-heat iron ore, a process that proved energy inefficient, expensive and harmful to the environment due to the amount of coal and the high temperatures used to melt the iron. In an effort to relieve some stress on the environment and cut production costs, two Dutch inventors, Koen Meijer and Huib den Hartog, discovered a new way to produce pig iron at a low temperature.
Ordinary magazines or newspapers used to be impossible to read for blind people. Alternatives in Braille are limited - and a significant number of blind people do not use Braille lettering. But a new world of reading material opened up in 2007 when French inventor Raoul Parienti introduced his "Top Braille" reading assistant.
American engineer Marion "Frank" Rudy created the world's first shock-absorbing sole system for athletic footwear. Marketed by Nike as the "Air" system, the technology inspired countless follow-ups by rival shoemakers.
Until the mid 1990s, lack of battery performance stalled the commercial use of hybrid cars. Things changed with the introduction of a new breed of power-management system, developed by Japanese engineer Shoichi Sasaki for Toyota's hybrid automobiles in 1997. Millions of hybrid vehicles have been sold today.
The fight against the worldwide Malaria pandemic requires inexpensive, yet effective drugs. Armed with ancient medical wisdom, Professor Yiqing Zhou and his team at the Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology in Beijing created a potent new drug in 1996.
Chronic myelogenous leukaemia (CML) was long-considered one of the deadliest forms of cancer, capable of striking at any time, causing extreme pain and worse still, affecting both adults and young children. Before the work of two pioneering medical researchers, a diagnosis of CML and subsequent attempts at treatment guaranteed prolonged pain and no certainty of remission. But now with Glivec, a cancer fighting drug with a 98 percent remission rate, CML has lost much of its former bite thanks to American oncologist Brian Druker and Swiss medicinal chemist Jürg Zimmermann.