Smart Home, Smart Business, Smart Health, Smart City…. meet the five winners #SmartStart of the EDF Pulse 2017 Awards
Louise Rogerson admits that she didn’t think she’d win the EDF Pulse Awards and had planned to spend her day in Paris. But sightseeing had to give way to public relations. Physiotherapist Louise Rogerson is the person behind Howz, a system of sensors that allows elderly people’s friends and family to monitor activity in their home and make sure that everything is okay. “Our aim isn’t to monitor people using systems such as cameras, but to use electronic activity to make sure that elderly people are okay and are following their normal routine,” explains Jonathan Burr, CEO of Intelesant, the start-up behind Howz..
GEPS Techno can trace its origins back to 2009, when the shipyards of Saint-Nazaire were hit by the economic crisis. “We asked ourselves how we could get people back into work,” remembers the start-up’s CEO and co-founder, Jean-Luc Longeroche. “So we decided to find an environmentally friendly alternative to the diesel generators that supply electricity to offshore facilities.” Their solution was a buoy that generates electricity using energy from waves – “a simple, reliable system with no moving parts”. While their competitors were trying to connect marine facilities to the electricity grid, they instead focused on an autonomous energy source.
Gilles Kemoun, professor of physical and rehabilitation medicine, founded Autonhome to address a public health emergency. “Only 20-25% of stroke victims have the opportunity to be given a place in a rehabilitation centre,” he explains. “I’ve been faced with this problem for 25 years, and I was tired of simply sharing my patients’ tears.” His response was to create an at-home rehabilitation programme that uses sensors and virtual reality to offer patients personalised rehabilitation exercises, monitored remotely by a therapist. “The patient is independent but never alone,” Gilles Kemoun reiterates. He hopes that by 2021, more than 24,000 people will use the technology.
Bring up the topic of wood, and it seems that Timothée Boitouzet, the founder of Woodoo could talk about it forever. “The 19th century was the age of iron, the 20th century was the age of concrete, and the 21st century will be the age of wood,” he predicts. To make wood into this century’s essential material, he created Woodoo, “a revolutionary wood”. Woodoo is reinforced with polymers, making it stronger, translucent, rot-proof and fire-resistant – all while remaining eco-friendly and sustainable. Woodoo can be produced from less commonly used wood varieties, making it the perfect material to build the towers of tomorrow’s cities. While waiting to see it used in buildings, which will take place within around ten years, Timothée Boitouzet wants to raise awareness of his invention, aiming at niche markets, particularly the luxury sector – the design, watchmaking and automotive industries.
Arnaud Lenglet, CEO of PANDA GUIDE came up with the idea for an augmented reality headset for visually impaired people after a friend fell off a railway platform. So far, software prototypes for the audio headset – which warns the user of potential drops or obstacles – have been created. Arnaud Lenglet is convinced that developing a “niche market” can be profitable in the long term. “Innovations in very limited environments are often extremely high-quality. Technology also needs to have meaning and benefit humanity.”
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