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 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.”
The company enCourage has developed an emergency app that allows its users to act swiftly and call for help. It effectively helps them protect themselves and others. Emergencies can be reported through the app within seconds. A single press of a button causes enCourage to release an alarm that reaches every other nearby user of the app. We have interviewed the enCourage team on their idea, the foundation of their company and their future perspective.