Self cleaning concrete one of 5 competing for The European Inventor Award

18 June 2014

Fifteen inventors, selected out of 300 original candidates will gather in Berlin to compete for the European Inventor Award, the annual prize for ground-breaking projects contributing to social, technological and economic progress.

Some projects have already become popular products and applications while others are available, but have not reached mass production.

Here are some of the most promising projects competing in the final:

1) Quick DNA Testing. British Scientist Christofer Toumazou has developed a USB stick that decodes a patient’s DNA within minutes.

2) Self Cleaning Concrete.Together with his team at the cement manufacturer Italcementi S.p.A., Italian chemist Luigi Cassar developed an innovative new cement mixture that is self-cleaning and purifies air. The cement uses sunlight to break down pollutants into less harmful substances. It not only lastingly prevents the effects of pollution, but also combats pollution itself. Cassar and his team achieved this breakthrough by enriching cement with titanium oxide minerals, which oxidise with sunlight to break down pollutants before they can bind with the surface and cause discolouration. The photocatalyst compound can be incorporated into mortar, paint, plaster, and even roads.

3) Inflatable Bike Helmet. Swedish inventors Terese Alstin and Anna Haupt have designed a functional and fashionable helmet that doubles as an airbag for cyclists. Normally, the helmet looks like a subtle scarf or collar, but it inflates, protecting the head and neck, when it detects an impending crash.

4) Energy-efficient water purification. A Danish team have devised a highly energy-consuming process utilising the natural movement of water between individual cells in nature and the characteristics of the proteins facilitating this movement while blocking passage of contaminants.

5) A drug that eradicates multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. The invention is a chemical compound called “bedaquiline” that cuts off the energy supply in tuberculosis bacteria, paralysing it and then causing its death.

Read the latest issue

Latest Issue