WOMEN-UP, BIOMETALLUM and SENSOFAR, prizewinners in the UPC Research Valorisation Awards

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The WOMEN-UP project, the BIOMETALLUM patent and the SENSOFAR spin-off were prizewinners in the latest edition of the UPC Research Valorisation Awards, organised by the UPC Board of Trustees.

The Board of Trustees’ UPC Research Valorisation Awards, in the twelfth edition this year, recognises  the work undertaken by University research groups in three areas: best technology transfer project, best invention or patent for its application to the market and best technology-based company or spin-off.

The jury gave the award for best technology transfer project to the European project WOMEN-UP, led at the UPC by Miguel Ángel Mañanas and Juan José Ramos, who are both attached to the Research Centre for Biomedical Engineering (CREB UPC).

The project, which received funding from the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme, has developed a system to improve the rehabilitation of pelvic floor muscles. The treatment is recommended for urinary incontinence: a disorder that affects around a third of the female population. The result is a system that enables patients to complete the treatment at home, through serious games installed on their mobile phones, and remote medical supervision via a web platform that was developed in a European consortium comprised of eight entities from seven countries.

In this area, a special mention was given to the project ‘Data science techniques for non-technical loss detection in energy consumption’, coordinated by the lecturer Josep Carmona, from the Algorithms, Computational Biology, Complexity and Formal Methods (ALBCOM) research group. The project was developed for the company Naturgy and involved the design of techniques, methods and applications to change the way the company addresses the detection of non-technical losses (NTL) in the process of energy distribution and consumption (gas and electricity).

A method for the bioextraction of metals from disused electronic equipment won the prize for the best patent for its application to the market. Called BIOMETALLUM, the patent came about from results obtained by the Biological Treatment of Odours and Gaseous Pollutants (BIOGAP) research group, led by the researcher Toni Dorado.

The project involves the design, construction and installation of plants for the extraction of valuable metals from disused electronic and electrical equipment and on consultancy and maintenance of installations. The project is based on the principles of a circular economy and urban mining to offer a financially profitable solution that is adapted to the characteristics of each company that manages electrical and electronic waste and promotes the recovery of the waste as an alternative source of metals that are in high demand in current society.

The spin-off SENSOFAR received the award for the best technology-based company or spin-off. Created in 2001 by the Centre for Sensors, Instruments and Systems Development (CD6) and led by Ferran Laguarta, this is one of the first spin-offs that arose from the UPC and one of those that have had the longest and best trajectory since its foundation. Together with CD6, it has contributed in the international arena to the development of 3D profilometry techniques that have led to two families of international patents and a portfolio of five types of high-tech products that are leaders in the world and have been purchased by over 800 customers in 25 countries.

During its trajectory, SENSOFAR has received various awards and honours, such as the Photonics Circle of Excellence Award given by the Laurin Publishing group in the United States, for being one of the most innovative companies in the field of photonics.