Six European IT Prize finalists showcase smart 3D medical imaging, navigation and mobile computing

Brussels 26 October 2001The twenty winners of the European Information Technology (IT) prize 2002 have been announced and will be showcased at the IST 2001 event, held from 3 to 5 December in Düsseldorf. The themes of the winning projects include software applications for object identification and 3D modelling, as well as a tool which can identify child pornography on the Internet. A family of mobile robots which has business applications is also one of the winners. No less than six winning companies present advanced technology for medical applications.

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This year's winners are drawn from Denmark, France, Germany, Israel, Norway, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Each prize winner receives 5000 euro. The three grand prize winners, to be announced at the IST 2001 event, will however each be handed the 200.000 euro grand prize by European Information Society and Enterprise Commissioner, Erkki Liikanen. This grand prize has proved a spur to previous winners to develop their results into marketable entities.

"Experience from the past seven years shows that this IT prize generates international recognition as well as a huge interest from venture capitalism, facilitating the start-up phase and access to finance", according to Mr. Liikanen. The awards were decided by a European jury that has been drawn up by Euro-CASE, the European Council of Applied Science and Engineering, which also organises the awards, in collaboration with the Information Society Technologies (IST) division of the Fifth Framework programme.

The stated criteria for winning require that the projects must display technical excellence, innovative content, potential market value, and also the capacity to generate new jobs. Specifically addressed to the health care market are the following solutions, developed by three German finalists, and one British, one Norwegian, and one Swiss company:

  • Dresden 3D Display, an autostereoscopic, true 3D computer monitor for the high-end visualisation of 3D data.
    Dresden 3D Gmbh will integrate this tool in the IERAPSI project funded by the European Commission (EC), in which the company is participating to create an interactive patient-customised surgery simulator for the planning, training, and rehearsal of complex procedures performed on the petrous bone.
  • Mobile CHILI, a compact, mobile, interactive medical tele-conferencing system, running on personal digital assistants over wireless ethernet or Universal Mobile Telecommunications Systems (UMTS), with image transmission capability.
    The system is already applied by the Heidelberger Steinbeis-Transferzentrum Medizinische Informatik in the EC-funded Multimedia Terminal Mobile (MTM) project.
  • Vitus smart, a fast whole body scanner for precise 3-dimensional measurement of human beings, launched by Vitronic Bildverarbeitungssysteme GmbH.
  • GeneGnome, a unique automatic DNA imaging system dedicated to chemiluminescent samples, presented by UK-based Syngene division of Synoptics Ltd.
  • SonoWand, an ultrasound-based navigation system for image-guided key-hole surgery, designed by Mison, a young start-up pioneer from Norway.
  • EndoNavigator, a software-based medical device for 3D navigation and guidance for Minimally Invasive Surgery, introduced by 2C3D medical.

In all, Euro-CASE has received 294 applications from 26 countries. The twenty finalists and the three grand prize winners will be awarded on 3 December 2001 in Düsseldorf, Germany, during the annual IST event.


Leslie Versweyveld

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