With its high-tech 3D printers for high performance polymers, the KIT spin-off Indmatec GmbH is offering undreamt-off possibilities in prototyping and small series manufacturing.
Prof. Dr. Brando Okolo has been dealing with materials research for several years in the course of his academic career. He lectured at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in the field of micro-reforming of metals and plastics, with a focus on 3D printing technologies and Rapid Prototyping. He then took up a professorship at the German University of Cairo (GUC). “In my research, I also dealt with additive manufacturing – that is, on the basis of digital 3D construction data – using polymers as a material to work with. In this period, I already discovered the potential that 3D printing holds for high performance polymers, and I had my first thoughts about going into business,” Okolo recalls. The decision to end his lecturing activities after five years and realise his dream of an enterprise of his own brought Okolo back to Germany and his Karlsruhe environment.
The Indmatec founders (left to right): Tony Tran-Mai and Prof. Dr. Brando Okolo presenting their Indmatec HPP 155 3D printer. One already wonders what the next generation of printers is going to be like – the PEEK Printer 155 will be on the market in 2017.
(Source: Indmatec GmbH).
The KIT spin-off Kinemic GmbH is developing a software for keying and device interaction based on steering gestures for industrial applications.
Dr Christoph Amma set off to become an entrepreneur with his doctoral thesis at the Chair of Cognitive Systems in Informatics at KIT: “While I was doing my doctorate, I explored options for recognising and interpreting human movements, especially gesture and handprint character recognition. Ultimately, this was to result in ‘airwriting’, a system enabling letters to be written and recognised in the air without a keying or input device. Texts are thus captured solely by movements of the hand.
Inventor Amma caused a sensation with this invention. His academic work earned him a number of distinctions, including the “Google Faculty Research Award” in 2013. Technical implementation was supported by Marcus Georgi, a fellow informatics scientist at KIT. The positive acclaim the two scientists have met with and the growing interest taken in airwriting have encouraged them to go on pursuing the development of the research results towards concrete applications. Thus the decision to go into business suggested itself. “Progressing from scientific proof to application at client level really is exciting,” Amma remarks. “You have to do a lot of developing to get your own vision put into practice.” Tomt Lenz, a fellow KIT graduate who joined the team, adds: “Thanks to my previous activities as a business consultant, I was able to provide valuable experience in company development.”
Das Team von Kinemic möchte die Bedienung von digitalen Geräten im industriellen Einsatz revolutionieren: Dr. Christoph Amma, Marcus Georgi, Tomt Lenz.
KIT’s spinoff emmtrix Technologies GmbH facilitates programming of multi-core processors and, thus, enhances performance of embedded computer systems.
The Founders of emmtrix Technologies (f.l.): Michael Rückauer, Frederik Riar, Oliver Oey und Dr. Timo Stripf. (Source: KIT, Meißner)
What is already standard in desktop computers and laptops is increasingly applied in the area of embedded systems, such as telecommunication devices, automotive electronics or industrial control systems: Processors of two or more processor cores for higher speed and enhanced computing power. The higher performance of multi-core processors compared to single-core processors is only reached, if the tasks are distributed appropriately to several processor cores in an efficient and problem-free manner. So far, such a parallelization has been accomplished manually: This is very time-consuming, cost intensive and requires special programming knowledge.
A team of scientists of from the KIT Institute for Information Processing Technology (ITIV) headed by Professor Jürgen Becker started to look for solutions to simplify parallelization of multi-core processors already in 2011. Within the framework of the EU project “Algorithm Parallelization for Multi-core Architectures“ (ALMA), the scientists, in cooperation with industry partners, developed an innovative programming environment. The computer scientists and electrical engineers Dr.-Ing. Timo Stripf, Michael Rückauer and Oliver Oey were part of this research team. Based on the software tool developed in ALMA, they decided to start their own company. “About 40 person-years had been spent for the development. When the project was completed, we decided to start a company to make the technology available for the industry,” Timo Stripf explains.
Everything starts with a clever idea. Be that a business idea that will form the foundation for a later start-up or a new technology, developed within the scope of an academic project. Frequently, such an idea constitutes an invention with real market potential. In this case, it is recommended to protect the “intellectual property” by way of an industrial patent, for instance.
The company Lightrig GmbH develops a software that allows its users to manipulate the lighting of virtual objects in visualisation and animation by means of comfortable inputs. It is used especially in film, TV and media production. Not only does it facilitate the consistent, credible lighting of virtual objects, it also helps implement design specifications in a harmonious manner. We have interviewed the Lightrig team on their idea, the foundation of their company and their future perspective.
An example visualisation of light transport using Lightrig (source: Lightrig)