Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Top inventors honoured at European Inventor Award 2014

Inventors from Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, UK, Japan and the US scooped top honours at the European Inventor Award 2014 in Berlin last week.

The ceremony, dubbed Europe's 'technology and innovation Oscars', saw Artur Fischer, Germany's 'inventor king' with a staggeri...
Top inventors honoured at European Inventor Award 2014
Inventors from Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, UK, Japan and the US scooped top honours at the European Inventor Award 2014 in Berlin last week.

The ceremony, dubbed Europe's 'technology and innovation Oscars', saw Artur Fischer, Germany's 'inventor king' with a staggering 1 100 applications for patents and utility models, honoured with the lifetime achievement award.

Fischer is one of the most prolific inventors of all time. His invention and namesake, the 'Fischer wall plug' revolutionised the construction industry in 1958 and has been used billions of times around the world ever since. He is also the creator of the first synchronised photo flash for cameras and his 'fischertechnik' toy building sets.

Five other finalists, out of an original 300 proposals, also walked away with awards for their remarkable inventions in the fields of environmental engineering, mechanics, medical biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and digitalisation.

From a new TB drug, a quick DNA test and a low-energy water purifier to the QR code and 3D printing, the inventions honoured in Berlin are all contributing to our social and economic progress.

An effective drug for TB

Koen Andries from Belgium and Jérôme Guillemont from France, who won the in the 'industry' category, have developed the first new effective tuberculosis (TB) drug in 40 years. Their drug significantly reduces treatment times for TB and achieves a complete cure within a reasonable period of time. The work of Andries and Guillemont will have a global impact - TB is second only to HIV/AIDS as the greatest killer worldwide due to a single infectious agent. In 2012, 8.6 million people fell ill with TB and 1.3 million died from the disease.

Low energy water purifier

Danish chemists Peter Holme Jensen, Claus Hélix-Nielsen and Danielle Keller were awarded in the SME category for their water-purifying membrane coated with aquaporins, which purifies water without consuming large amounts of energy. This may prove a life-changing invention for the 1.5 billion people worldwide who do not have access to clean drinking water.

The quick DNA test

Christofer Toumazou invented the quick DNA test which can decipher the genetic makeup of individuals within minutes, without the need for lab work. This milestone in healthcare was honoured in the research category at the ceremony. Toumazou's chip can be inserted into a USB stick, providing results that are viewable directly on a computer. The stick makes it possible to detect a predisposition for hereditary diseases as well as to determine whether a patient is capable of breaking down specific drugs.

3D printing

Charles W. Hull from the US is the inventor of 3D printing - a technology that has triggered a revolution in manufacturing and is used everywhere from the automotive industry to medical technology. Although a multitude of different procedures for 3D printing now exist, they all build on Hull's original invention, which he came up with back in 1983. Hull was honoured in the non-European countries category at the awards.

The QR code

Masahiro Hara, Takayuki Nagaya and team are the inventors of the prolific QR (Quick Response) code. You may be familiar with the code from posters and ads but it is also used in a range of other spheres - from managing inventory in factories to tracking biological samples. Perhaps the most immediately recognisable of all of the inventions honoured in Berlin, it's no surprise that the QR code received the Popular Prize award voted by the public.
Record Number: 36618 / Last updated on: 2014-06-23
Category: Other
Provider: EC