The European Patent Office honored the best inventors of the year on Tuesday. Among the winners, two French researchers.
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Research director at the CNRS, Claude Grison was awarded for her work on soil depollution by plants. The originality of her research is based on the fact that she has not only identified plants capable of absorbing metallic or chemical molecules stored in the ground or in water, and therefore capable of depolluting former industrial sites or mining. But in addition, these elements absorbed by plants are then reused as raw material, that is to say that the leaves of metal-eating plants are dried, crushed and used in powder form in chemical reactions requiring metal. We end up with metal catalysts of 100% vegetable origin. Several start-ups have already been created to commercialize this research.
Other researchers were also rewarded in the field of health. A French researcher in immunology, Élodie Belnoue, was awarded with a Swiss colleague for the development of a technique for manufacturing therapeutic vaccines against cancer. These vaccines can complement chemotherapy or radiotherapy, and clinical trials have begun against colorectal cancer.
The prize for young European inventor of the year was awarded ex-æquo to a 22-year-old American neuroscience student and Belgian and British robotics engineers. The first imagined an application to detect Parkinson’s disease at an early stage based on the recognition of facial expressions. Because expressions change with illness. There is a loss of facial expression that causes the face to gradually freeze. This application tested on a large scale at Stanford University manages to predict the disease with an accuracy of 95%.
The other two winners (for this prize for young European inventors) have developed a robotic arm which, thanks to optical recognition techniques and artificial intelligence, is able to very quickly identify recyclable (or not) waste on a treadmill. This makes selective sorting much more profitable financially.
Each year by the European office registers more than 175,000 patent filings. In 2022, more than half of the 13 finalists for these European Inventors Awards worked on topics related to environmental and climate transition.
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