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Polish Inventors Showered with Medals in Paris
June 29, 2015   
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A system that supports the cognitive development of infants, biodegradable material for the manufacture of plastic containers, and technology designed to increase the safety of children transported in vehicles—these are just three of the eight Polish inventions that won gold medals at the Concours Lépine International Exhibition of Inventions in Paris this year.

In total, Polish inventors walked away with eight gold, nine silver and nine bronze medals at the exhibition, which ended in May. They also won a medal from the French ministry of European affairs, that country’s ministry of the interior, and the French ministry of defense.

The ConcoursLépine International Exhibition of Inventions aims to promote technological progress and technology transfer. This year’s event was held for the 114th time, bringing together 550 inventions and innovations from 13 countries, including Germany, Spain, Britain, Belgium, Russia, Iran, Morocco, Taiwan and China.

Polish scientists exhibited a total of 26 inventions in fields such as ecology, medicine, security, metallurgy, textiles, machinery, chemistry, mechanics, engineering, electronics, energy, and information technology.

The judges handed out a total of 213 medals this year: 49 gold, 71 silver, and 93 bronze. There were also medals from the French Association of Inventors and Manufacturers (AIFF). The judges took into account factors including the level of innovativeness and technology, public demand, the possibility of using an invention in practice, and research testifying to the effectiveness of an invention.

Among Polish inventions, a gold medal and a medal from the French ministry of European affairs went to the Institute of Precision Mechanics in Warsaw for its invention called “Antibacterial composite coatings from porous alumina with silver for use on aluminum surfaces.” The Warsaw-based Automotive Industry Institute claimed a gold medal and a medal from the French interior ministry for a system to increase the safety of children transported in vehicles. Another gold medal went to a set of fuel cells with a start-up time of just one hour, compared with about 25 hours for currently available cells—an invention exhibited by the AGH University of Science and Technology in Cracow.

The Gdañsk University of Technology won two gold medals: for an efficient pumping unit with what it describes as a revolutionary design for industrial use, and for new biodegradable material for producing plastic containers, packages and tools. The Poltegor Institute of Open-Cast Mining from Wroc³aw received a gold medal for its system for reducing dust emissions and reclaiming quarries.

Toruñ’s Nicolaus Copernicus University returned with two gold medals from the fair: for its “system for supporting the perceptual-cognitive development of infants and young children and for the detection of development disorders and their treatment” and for a project called “Activated carbons produced from chitin or chitosan, with high nitrogen content and high electrical conductivity, for the production of electrodes without using precious or heavy metals.”

The jury awarded silver medals for inventions including a method of “obtaining yeast strains with an improved survival rate” for wine making, brewing, baking and cosmetics production, and a catalytic system for the environmentally-friendly disposal of nitrous oxide from industrial waste gases. Both these inventions were developed at the Jagiellonian University in Cracow. A silver medal was also awarded for a thermal method for the disposal of hazardous waste, enabling the production of lightweight aggregate as a substitute for natural silica—an invention submitted by the Institute of Mechanized Construction and Rock Mining in Warsaw.

The Gdañsk University of Technology took home a silver medal for a system that enables the detection and disposal of toxic and difficult-to-degrade substances. The Institute of Precision Mechanics in Warsaw claimed silver for what it describes as new, efficient and eco-friendly technology for hardening parts of cutting tools. The Institute of Biopolymers and Chemical Fibers in £ód¼ won a silver medal for its innovative, biodegradable pots used for growing young plants from seeds. The £ód¼ University of Technology grabbed two silver medals: one for its innovative material for use in tissue engineering for bone regeneration, and the other for an innovative method of applying graphene in textiles. The Textile Research Institute in £ód¼ was granted a silver medal for its bleaching method with simultaneous disinfection of cellulose products.

Among the inventions for which the judges handed out bronze medals were those developed by the Military University of Technology in Warsaw, the Gdañsk University of Technology, the Jagiellonian University in Cracow, the Textile Research Institute in £ód¼, the Industrial Research Institute for Automation and Measurements, the Institute of Biopolymers and Chemical Fibers in £ód¼, the Moratex Institute of Security Technology in £ód¼, and by a group of young inventors from the King Jan III Sobieski School Complex No. 6 in Jastrzêbie Zdrój, southern Poland.

The Polish pavilion at the Concours Lépine exhibition showcased inventions by Polish research institutions, universities, businesses, technical high schools, and individual inventors. There has been a Polish pavilion at the exhibition since 2003. Over the years, it has showcased inventions in the final stages of development—after trials, studies, and pilot deployments—as well as inventions ready for commercial use.

The Concours Lépine is among the world’s oldest exhibitions. It was first held in 1901 as an initiative by Paris police chief Louis Lépine and was intended to stimulate the French economy, which was in crisis at the time. Over more than a century, the exhibition has showcased inventions such as the two-stroke engine, an artificial heart, an artificial lung, a blood transfusion device, contact lenses, the electric vacuum cleaner, the steam iron, the electric heater, the dishwasher, the washing machine, an infrared remote control switch, the parachute, the ball-point pen and the typewriter.

Olga Majewska
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