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.
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Individuals suffering from severe tooth loss, whether through unpreventable accidents, debilitating diseases or run-of-the-mill dental decay, often also experience a dramatic loss in the quality of their everyday life.
In 1989, Leigh Canham became fascinated with the untapped potential of nano-engineered silicon as a semiconductor while working at the Defence Research Agency (now QinetiQ) in Malvern, UK.
Biomass is often just thought of as refuse. Dead trees, wood chips, sawdust, and agricultural and urban waste are just some of the materials used as this energy source. The energy in biomass can be unleashed through microbiological, chemical or thermal conversion.
Prior to Desurvire's invention, optical fibres were able to transmit light over a distance of merely up to around 100 to 150 kilometres, as the signals became progressively absorbed along the way.
Various water purification systems exist, but their cost and requirement for a pre-existing infrastructure prevent them from being available to the developing world.
Renewable energy sources have become increasingly important as concerns about fossil fuels and the global energy crisis have mounted. Hydroelectric power has emerged as one such alternative power source on the market.
As the field of endoscopy developed in the twentieth century, easy and accurate visualization of the small bowel remained elusive. Gastroscopes and colonoscopes enabled medical practitioners to explore the highest 1.2 m and the lowest 1.8 m of the human digestive tract, but the middle 6 m, constituting the small intestine, remained more difficult to approach.
Car accidents remain one of the leading causes of death and injury. Last year, car collisions in the European Union resulted in 35 000 deaths and 1.2 million injuries. The crashes also cost hundreds of billions of euros. Although technological advances like airbags have helped lessen the severity of accidents, there has been minimal progress in reducing the number of collisions.
Power outages have been a problem since the beginning of widespread use of electricity. As power grids have recently become more interconnected, outages have become more costly and dangerous.
Today's construction industry features increasingly groundbreaking and innovative architecture. Over the past few decades design has advanced, and new challenges have emerged concerning the utility and cost-effectiveness of building materials.
Mart Min's inventions allow for the high-speed analysis of several biological and chemical materials and structures, as well as technical systems, by using electric signals with sophisticated waveforms to measure electrical impedance in a wide frequency range.
The analysis of tissue sections is an important field of medical diagnostics. Using conventional optical microscopy to analyse slides, however, leads to diagnostic errors due to incomplete sampling.
The majority of today's glasses are manufactured with solid lenses that must be shaped to the proper thickness, requiring professional skills and expensive equipment.
Alzheimer's disease is just one of a number of neurodegenerative disorders with onsets occurring later in life. Christine Van Broeckhoven's work has been instrumental in understanding these diseases. She has obtained several patents on various genes and protein products throughout the course of her research and paved the way for effective treatments of neurodegenerative disorders.
Cancer is one of the world's primary diseases, accounting for 13% of all human deaths in 2007. There are many different types of cancer; they affect parts of the body in varying ways, and treatment remains tricky.