“Extraordinary innovative capacity, excellent innovations”


Surface cleaning using ice particles, communication system for collective sports, contactless fingerprint reader: DPMA President congratulates companies on being honoured with the 2022 Thuringia Innovation Award – jury mainly recognises SMEs

Press release of 30 November 2022

Munich/Weimar. The President of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA), Cornelia Rudloff-Schäffer, has warmly congratulated the winners of the 2022 Thuringia Innovation Award (Innovationspreis Thüringen). "The award-winning inventions show the extraordinarily high innovative capacity of Thuringia," the DPMA President emphasised, and added: "We are pleased that innovative activity is not limited to the well-established successful major companies, but SMEs also put excellent innovations on the market." DPMA President Rudloff-Schäffer emphasised that, with 25 patent applications per 100,000 population last year, Thuringia kept its top position among the Central and Eastern German Länder. Even in the relevant ranking of all German Länder, Thuringia came 5th, a remarkable position. Markus Ortlieb, head of the DPMA’s Jena sub-office, was a member of the jury responsible for selecting the prize winners.

The 2022 Thuringia Innovation Award was presented in six categories; the first five individual awards come with 20,000 euros in prize money each.

In the "TRADITION & FUTURE" category, the jury recognised jenpneumatik & Schlauchtechnik GmbH for its environmentally friendly abrasive surface treatment using water ice jets. Small ice particles are used to remove rust or varnishes from surfaces. Sandblasting, which requires extensive safety measures for humans and environment, is then no longer necessary. This innovation accelerates processes and protects users from harmful dust exposure.

The winner in the "INDUSTRY & MATERIAL" category was Jenoptik Optical Systems GmbH. Fibre optic cables increasingly replace classic network cables. This causes the technical problem that more transducers are needed to convert electric signals into optical ones. The company has developed a component that enables quick testing of photonic integrated circuits for their quality. The UFO Probe® Card allows parallel testing of electric and optical components in a single test card.

In the "DIGITAL & MEDIA" category, the award was presented to Coachwhisperer GmbH. The Jena-based company has developed a communication system that allows coaches to directly exert influence on athletes during training sessions, thus tackling the problem that, in a lot of collective sports, athletes miss the instructions given by coaches from the sideline. Furthermore, it has so far not been possible to provide coaches with athletes’ health data. The new system allows communication and collects and provides important vital signs.

In the "LIGHT & LIFE" category, IDloop GmbH from Jena took first place with a product for contactless fingerprinting for the purposes of identification and verification. Dirt often accumulates on the sensor surface of the currently available systems, so a successful scan may require several attempts. In addition, the finger sensor contact may be contaminated by germs as a result of being touched frequently. Consequently, the start-up has developed a contactless fingerprint reader that captures the three-dimensional profile of the whole hand. Within less than 100 milliseconds, a minicomputer calculates the two-dimensional fingerprints, which can be used for checks against existing databases.

The "SPECIAL AWARD FOR YOUNG ENTERPRISES" went to FluIDect GmbH. The detection of Legionella or Salmonella in drinking water is tedious and requires extensive laboratory tests. FluIDect GmbH aims to make a new process marketable which allows process media in industrial plants to be examined continuously. To achieve this, after years of research, the company’s founders want to integrate a new sensor into initial ready-to-use products. The Federal Agency for Disruptive Innovation (Bundesagentur für Sprunginnovationen) supports the start-up, which holds three granted patents and has applied for another patent.

The "ERNST ABBE AWARD FOR INNOVATIVE ENTREPRENEURSHIP" was presented to Hartmut Heyer, Chief Executive Officer of Layertec GmbH from Mellingen. Shortly after reunification, Hartmut Heyer founded Layertec GmbH in the garage of a farm. The company develops and produces optical components for laser technology and has more than 350 employees. As one of only few companies worldwide, Layertec GmbH both has an in-house precision optics facility and offers a variety of coating technologies. According to the jury, Hartmut Heyer has constantly developed his company with foresight, imagination and entrepreneurship, giving it an international profile.

The awards were presented in Weimar by the Thuringian Minister for Economic Affairs, Science and Digital Society, Wolfgang Tiefensee, together with the Foundation for Technology, Innovation and Research of Thuringia (Stiftung für Technologie, Innovation und Forschung Thüringen), TÜV Thüringen and the Ernst Abbe Foundation (Ernst-Abbe-Stiftung). The Thuringia Innovation Award honours the innovative capacity of companies. Its aim is to promote the development of new products.

The German Patent and Trade Mark Office

Inventiveness and creativity need effective protection. The DPMA is the German centre of expertise for all intellectual property rights – patents, utility models, trade marks and designs. As the largest national patent office in Europe and the fifth largest national patent office in the world, our office stands for the future of Germany as a country of inventors in a globalised economy. Its staff of just under 2,800 at three locations – Munich, Jena and Berlin – provide services to inventors and companies. They implement federal innovation strategies and develop the national, European and international protection systems further.

Picture: Stiftung für Technologie, Innovation und Forschung Thüringen

Last updated: 30 November 2022