iENA 2023 inventors' fair: TU Ilmenau patents awarded prizes

Scientists from TU Ilmenau have been recognized for their patents at the international trade fair "Ideas - Inventions - Innovations" iENA 2023 in Nuremberg: They received three gold, four silver and two bronze medals and accepted them at a festive event of the State Patent Center of Thuringia PATON at TU Ilmenau.

PATON-PTH/Jens Dahlems
Dr.-Ing. Ingo Ortlepp, Maximilian Hoffmann and Prof. Eberhard Manske were awarded for their invention "Active stabilization of the air refractive index in a closed measuring chamber for precision systems". Katrin Wägemann, deputy chairwoman of the iENA jury, congratulated.

They set new standards in medical technology, optics or industrial production and are among the best innovations in the world: patents from TU Ilmenau have been awarded three gold, four silver and two bronze medals at the international trade fair "Ideas - Inventions - Innovations" iENA 2023. This makes them among the top inventions submitted to the trade fair this year from Asia, America and Europe.

The TU Ilmenau is one of the most patented universities in Germany, according to a study by the German Economic Institute (IW). According to the study, the university registered the most patents of all German universities in the period from 2010 to 2019, based on the number of employees. Overall, it achieved 8th place in the ranking.

This innovative strength was confirmed again this year by an expert jury at the iENA. Nine scientific teams from TU Ilmenau were awarded medals for their inventions - including processes for producing drinking water from salt water using solar energy, for controlling the driving dynamics of vehicles using drones and for producing oxide layers on metal surfaces. The award-winning scientists received their medals in the presence of Ilmenau's Lord Mayor Dr. Daniel Schultheiß and Andreas Bühl, Member of the Thuringian State Parliament for the southern Ilm district and Schmiedefeld am Rennsteig.

A research team led by Prof. Jean-Pierre Bergmann, Head of the Production Technology Group at the Department of Mechanical Engineering, received a gold medal for a novel process for the production of friction stir welding pins. Friction stir welding is a welding process used to join two opposing workpieces without melting the workpiece material. The core factor of the welding process is the design and manufacture of the friction stir welding tool. Compared to the conventional manufacturing process used to date, the method proposed by the scientists for manufacturing the friction stir welding pin not only saves material, but also reduces the effort involved in the production of friction stir welding pins and leads to a reduction in the load on the machine. Friction stir welding is used in the electrical, automotive and aerospace industries.

Prof. Eberhard Manske and Prof. Thomas Fröhlich and their research team from the Institute of Process Measurement and Sensor Technology also received a gold medal for a method for actively stabilizing the refractive index of air or gas density in a measuring chamber. With the new method, the interfering influences for optical length measurements and scales, in particular air pressure, temperature and humidity, can now be controlled in such a way that the resulting measurement uncertainties can be reduced by a factor of a thousand compared to conventional methods. In addition, the stabilization of the refractive index of the measuring chambers reduces the climatic requirements for the measuring rooms, which saves resources. The research team hopes that the enormous advantages of the new solution will attract many interested parties to this method in the future.

Dr. Alexander Hunold from the Group of Biomedical Engineering received another gold medal for a method of application configuration for stimulation in humans. This has been developed for medical therapy and stimulates selected areas of the brain with electricity - for example in stroke patients who need to train their motor skills.

Dr. Christoph Hoock, Head of PATON, congratulated the inventor teams on their success and emphasized the relevance of their patents for our society:

'With their patents, the scientists have found technical solutions to socially relevant problems, for example in the health sector, energy saving or driving safety. This addresses three important goals of the UN sustainability agenda.

Prof. Jens Müller, Vice President for International Affairs and Transfer at TU Ilmenau, sees the iENA as an important platform for inventors. There, they can not only present their innovations to the public, but also establish contacts with potential industrial partners in order to translate the patents into concrete applications and products:

The teams of inventors make a significant contribution to the transfer from research to industry and to strengthening the innovative power of our industry.

Read more about this year's iENA medal ceremony in the MDR Thuringia Journal.

Award-winning teams receive their medals

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