On 24 June 2020, a ceremonial announcement of the results of the nationwide competition “Slovak University Startup Cup 2020“ took place in Bratislava. The objective of the competition is to appreciate and support the young generation of university students who have innovative ideas. The project was also organized in other countries under the name University Startup World Cup 2020. It was organized by the non-governmental organization Junior Chamber International – Slovakia. JCI – Slovakia is the official branch of the Junior Chamber International, which has offices in 115 countries with more than 200,000 members. The expert committee of the event selected 6 winners of individual competition categories from 42 registered student startups from all over Slovakia. The event took place under the auspices of Mr. Branislav Gröhling, the Minister of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the SR.
Startups from the TUKE Startup Centre were the most successful! They won in three out of six categories. EcoButt startup also became the overall winner of the competition.
Category “Environment, Green Technologies”: The winner of the category is startup “EcoButt“ (TUKE Startup Centre, contact: H. Repáň, Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences, Comenius University in Bratislava).
EcoButt is a startup which deals with the most common type of waste on the planet - cigarette filters. Up to 15 billion cigarettes are sold every day, more than half of which ends up in the nature. Used cigarette filters contain a number of toxic and carcinogenic substances that contaminate water, soil and the entire ecosystem. They are made of plastic (cellulose acetate) and their decomposition can take from four to twelve years. Even after decomposition, the cigarette filters disintegrates only into microplastics. The EcoButt startup will prevent such fate of cigarette filters by offering special EcoButt ashtrays to a wide range of customers. These ashtrays can be rented by cities, municipalities, companies, institutions, restaurants cafés or natural persons. EcoButt will regularly collect the contents of ashtrays and then ensure efficient recycling of this material.
Category “Information Technology, Mobile Technology, Web”: The winner of the category is startup „iPark“, (TUKE Startup Centre, contact: Samuel Schnelly, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Informatics, TUKE).
After testing and addressing the issue of parking space occupancy, the members of the startup came to the possibility of using artificial intelligence which, in real time, evaluates the image from IP cameras located in the carparks. Initially, they wanted to make parking sensors, but they didn´t like the idea in terms of durability and affordability. For the AI detection, the TensorFlow library is used, and the entire programme is written in Python. They plan to use artificial intelligence of the Nvidia development boards to increase the accuracy and speed of image evaluation. As part of the development of the solution based on the use of artificial intelligence methods, they are also trying to implement an automatic detection of bad parking, e.g. when a car parks over 2 – 4 parking spaces, as well as vehicle filtration, e.g. a van in the carpark where it is not allowed to park. Using specialized detection, they can also determine how long a car has been parked there and thus alert the municipal police.
Category “Other Ideas”: The winner of the category is „H&C Mask“startup (TUKE Startup Centre, contact: Lukáš Tóth, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering TUKE).
The H&C mask is a mask designed for cooling/heating the air in adverse conditions. Inhaling air at a reasonable temperature reduces the energy consumption of a person whose body would have to adjust the air temperature itself without the use of the mask. With the help of the mask, the difference between the extreme air temperature and the adequate air temperature for the human body is reduced, thus reducing the risk of hypothermia or other complications. The body can consume the saved energy differently. Thanks to the possibility of using filters, the mask prevents the inhalation of solid particles or bacteria that are harmful to the human body.
The following startups received awards as the competition finalists:
„VIOU“ (TUKE Startup Centre, Contact: Patrik Kolbasa, Faculty of Arts TUKE).
This startup is about monitoring homes of senior citizens with the help of smart home technologies and their add-on control unit – ZigBee technology. Ready-to-use kit can be assembled without the help of trained personnel or without the need for construction modifications during the installation of the equipment in interiors. The main objective of the startup is to increase the safety of senior citizens living alone. The authors want to make these citizens more independent and at least partially compensate for the lack of caregivers and specialized facilities not only in Slovakia but also abroad.
„Helfni“ (TUKE Startup Centre, Contact: Peter Ridilla, Fakulta der Informatik, Technische Universitaat, Munich).
Helfni is a platform linking volunteers with volunteering activities. It was set up to raise awareness of opportunities where help can be provided, and to mediate effective communication of the volunteer and public and private organizations. Helfni, available online or as an app, enables effective communication between of two key players – volunteers and organizations seeking volunteer help. In addition to ensuring that the needs of both groups are met, thus contributing to the development of communities, it also popularizes volunteering in the form of gamification.
World round in July! Who will win the world round in the end? We should find out in July. The winners of the other five categories of the Slovak University Startup Cup 2020 have the same chance to win as the absolute winner H. Repáň.