Aalto University: Aalto at Slush 2021: Startups for a more sustainable world

After a year’s break, Slush will take place on 1 and 2 December at Helsinki’s convention centre, Messukeskus. Slush was accelerated to its current size – and transformed into one of the world’s leading startup and tech events – by the student-driven Aalto Entrepreurship Society, one of the most vibrant entrepreneurial communities in Europe.

A curious, solution-focused entrepreneurial mindset is no stranger at Aalto research labs; more than half of university-born startups in Finland come from our community. This year at Slush, the university is featuring research-driven startups working on solutions for a cooler future – as well as innovations from our student-led community.

In Aalto, ideas that could drive large-scale change come from all over the place: the university’s research laboratories, Aaltoes or Kiuas accelerators, or a class project involving design students and chemical-engineers-to-be.

At Slush? Come say hi
Aalto University’s booth is conveniently located at stand 7B.12, right beside the Founder Stage and Slush’s media zone.

In addition to the 12 featured startups and a multidisciplinary student case DipWrap, Aalto Entrepreneurship Society, Kiuas accelerator and Aalto Ventures Program will be around to showcase the latest hustle and bustle from the university’s student-led entrepreneurial community.

Sustainable solutions: vertical farming, near-eternal clothes and gaming to treat depression
The startups featured at Aalto’s stand this year fall under four core themes: resource efficiency, smart surroundings, sustainable materials and next-generation healthcare.

Recovering precious metals from wastewater — Elmery
Nobody wants to pour money down the drain, but metal refineries do it all the time. Elmery helps extract precious metals and increase cost-efficiency — sustainably. Elmery uses a low-energy, chemical-free method to recover low concentration precious metals from wastewater.

Feeding the world — Vacuum Insulation Solutions
With Vacuum Insulation Solutions, sustainable and profitable vertical farming could be in reach. With the right construction technology and smart energy solutions, wooden building elements can thrive in extreme humidity. With this approach, large, modular vertical farms made of wood could find their way around the world — and keep it fed.

Revolutionary hydrogen fuel cell design — HyOnGlobe
HyOnGlobe harnesses advances in manufacturing to disrupt the fuel cell industry with a lighter design, ideal for vehicles and transport with limited space. HyOnGlobe holds ten global patents on a manufacturing technology that combines metals and composites, offering an unprecedented power-to-weight ratio for mobile, carbon-free applications.

Listening to the heart, smartly — Vital Signs
The stethoscope at the heart of every doctor’s office is about to take a leap forward. Based on more than twenty years of research, a new device integrates multiple, simultaneous bio-signals with AI analysis to help doctors make better decisions.

Vital Signs will be presenting the innovation in the Slush 100 pitching competition at Slush on Wednesday December 1. They have already made it to top 20!

Treating depression with video games — Project Meliora
Meliora’s computer games based on cognitive psychotherapeutic approaches offer a scalable and widely available solution to the pervasive problem of untreated depression. Early results show that just 8–12 weeks of gaming intervention can boost mental health, strengthening cognitive performance to restore some of the defects from depression.

Measuring drug blood concentration with one drop — FEPOD
A single drop of blood can reveal the concentration of paracetamol, opioids and other pain medicine in a patient’s blood at the point of care. The fast, simple test designed by FEPOD uses a sensor attached to a standard mobile phone to produce results in seconds. The technology has been under constant development at Aalto University, and clinical trials are underway at Helsinki University Hospital.

From forest to fashion — Ioncell
Ioncell turns used textiles, pulp or even old newspapers into new textile fibres sustainably and without harmful chemicals. By giving textiles a new life as high-quality fibres, the process revolutionises textile recycling and creates beautiful, long-lasting fabrics.

Adhesives and coatings out of forestry waste — Lignosphere
Lignin is a promising material, but refining this byproduct of forestry has been a challenge. A new technology by Lignosphere breaks past current bottlenecks to reduce — or even replace — petroleum-based chemicals in adhesives, coatings and composites.

Replacing plastics in packaging — Foamwood
FoamWood has developed an alternative material that could replace the plastic foams commonly used in packaging. Their bio-based, low-cost solution is a wood-based foam material that is light, durable, flexible, and flame retardant, as well as being renewable and biodegradable. It excels in applications that involve shock proofing, insulation or have light weight requirements.

Check out the video explaining how FoamWood works.

Ensuring a smooth journey — AIvisionEye
AIvisionEye offers smart solutions for car-sharing companies and public transport operators. Its smart trash detection and damage prevention services, TravelClean and TravelFresh, can identify dirt, damage, or passenger misconduct, helping improve service while reducing maintenance costs – and ensuring a nice ride.

Charging warehouse robots wirelessly — Parkzia
Parkzia’s high-efficiency wireless charging turns any waiting point into a charging point for e-movers. This can increase their operational efficiency up to 30% while also saving valuable floor space.

Digitising forest management — DeepFRST
DeepFRST brings together AI researchers, forest scientists, business execs, and seasoned founders to digitise forest management – one of the oldest and most mission-critical industries on the planet. Their patented B2B software offers customers higher returns on forest assets, carbon accounting in trees and soil, and the means to fight climate change and biodiversity loss.

Dipping in the design thinking – DipWrap
Before ground-breaking startups, there was most likely a researcher or a student team with an idea – DipWrap is an excellent example of what happens when students from different disciplines team up to think about tangible solutions to real-life problems.

Packaging vegetables produces a hefty amount of plastic waste. To tackle this problem, four Aalto students designed a completely new way of packaging cucumbers – a biobased liquid solution into which cucumbers are dipped. It forms a transparent film that dries up in a few seconds.

The project was a part of CHEMARTS, a collaboration between the School of Chemical Engineering and the School of Arts, Design and Architecture, which aims to inspire students and researchersto create new concepts for the bioeconomy.