A shower of medals for Ilmenau inventor teams


The innovative strength of Ilmenau scientists was once again confirmed at the awards event for Thuringian inventors participating in the international trade show iENA 2021 "Ideas - Inventions - Innovations" in Nuremberg: Seven of the eleven Thuringian technology offerings, systems and processes honored with a medal for their degree of novelty and potential for exploitation alone came from the TU Ilmenau. Three of them received a gold medal. Due to the pandemic, the award event could only take place now.

Tisch mit MedaillenAndreas Heckel
Shower of medals for the TU Ilmenau at iENA 2021

"TU Ilmenau's outstanding performance not only demonstrates the special inventive strength of our university, but also the range of technical solutions for societal challenges that are based on ideas and inventions of our scientists," said Prof. Jens Müller, Vice President for International Affairs and Transfer at TU Ilmenau, on the occasion of the ceremonial awarding of medals on May 17 in the Senate Hall of TU Ilmenau. Patents in the fields of automotive engineering and medical technology were honored. But also inventions in the fields of artificial intelligence, sensor and measurement technology were honored by the expert jury and can thus benefit very different areas of society in the future.

While the number of inventions is currently declining both in Germany and throughout Thuringia due to the pandemic, some of the Ilmenau inventor teams used the Corona period specifically to further develop their ideas for more sustainability, environmental protection or for the benefit of health and to transfer them into patents - and with great success, as the gold medal for a research team from automotive engineering shows. Prof. Klaus Augsburg, David Hesse, Vincenzo Ricciardi and Christopher Hamatschek have developed a new vehicle condition control system and a method to reduce non-exhaust emissions, especially those caused by physical processes such as the abrasion and wear of tires and brakes, which are currently responsible for most of the particulate matter measurable in urban areas. With the help of the control system, it is possible to specifically undercut upcoming limits, for example, for driving in inner-city areas.

Dr. Dietrich Schweitzer and Prof. Jens Haueisen and Dr. Matthias Klemm from the Institute of Biomedical Engineering and Computer Science at the TU Ilmenau would like to make a contribution to the detection of cellular metabolic changes at the back of the eye with their invention. The scientists were also awarded a gold medal for a novel laser scanner ophthalmoscope they developed and an innovative method for eliminating interfering influences in the time-resolved measurement of the extremely weak fluorescence of endogenous substances. The method not only makes early diagnosis of metabolic changes possible, but can also be used to examine skin layers when cancer is suspected.

The third gold medal was awarded to a team of researchers from the Group of Technical Mechanics: Prof. Klaus Zimmermann, Prof. Valter Böhm, Dr. Jhohan-Harvey Chavez-Vega and Dr. Tobias Kaufhold have developed an innovative gripper based on the sensor-controlled interaction of highly elastic, deformable and magnetically controllable plastics. These elastomers are able to sense sensitive objects and adapt to completely different shapes. This opens up new possibilities, especially for industrial robotics.

Die 11 Gewinner Andreas Heckel
A total of eleven Thuringian inventors who participated in the international trade show iENA 2021 "Ideas - Inventions - Innovations" in Nuremberg were awarded a medal

The other silver medal-winning inventions also include a new method and device for more precise optical measurements of technical surfaces with inclined flanks, free-form surfaces or highly tilted surfaces. The confocal microscope was developed by Johannes Belkner and Prof. Dr.-Ing. Eberhard Manske at the Institute for Process Measurement and Sensor Technology. It is currently used for probing and measuring surfaces on nanopositioning and nanomeasuring machines. This improves the measurement of microscopic structures and enables the fabrication of nanostructures on complex substrates. The technique could also be used in the future to improve laser scanning confocal microscopes, which are widely used in industrial inspection.

Prof. Peter Husar also received a silver medal for the electrical current stimulation method he developed for use in electrotherapy of neurological problems. Whereas previous technology was largely based on the direct application of direct current (DC), the new method makes it possible to generate a signal form of the injected current that, on the one hand, avoids the formation of unwanted decomposition voltages at the contact points and, on the other hand, generates the desired DC current or voltage at the neurons in the brain.

Meteorological weather stations, storage rooms or climatic chambers with high requirements for exact temperature measurement can benefit in the future from an invention by Silke Augustin, Prof. Thomas Fröhlich, Helge Mammen and Juan Sebastian Marin-Toro: Together, they have developed a device and method for the automatic, traceable calibration of thermometers for ambient temperature measurement. The invention, which was awarded a bronze medal, enables automated calibration of a thermometer on site without having to remove the thermometer from its measuring point.

The second bronze medal went to automotive engineer Martin Schiele for developing a methodology for generating digital twins using neural networks through supervised learning to provide them as a learning environment for other reinforcement learning algorithms. The virtual representations of the objects allow control strategies to be trained on the computer fully automatically and thus quickly and efficiently, which are less expensive than time-consuming manual procedures for parameterizing the controllers and controlling the objects. In particular, complex industrial or household systems thus become cheaper and faster to operate.

The inventions of Thuringian universities and research institutions are presented every year at the iENA in Nuremberg by the patent management of the State Patent Center Thuringia PATON. PATON-PTH will now also advise and accompany the inventors on the way to exploiting the patents.