Innovations from LTH
Research contributes to improvements and benefits of our society – including the multiple innovations and companies that have emanated from LTH. Ultrasound technology, Oatly and Proviva - each year research results and student work at LTH are refined into innovations and companies. Below you will find more examples.
In addition, many former students start companies that evolve together with researchers and students, such as e.g. Axis. And many companies work closely with researchers; Ericsson's collaboration with LTH for the development of Bluetooth technology is a well-known example.
Many innovations are developed together with researchers from other disciplines and faculties.
Lund University's innovation activities have assisted several of the researchers behind the companies below. If you are a researcher or student and want support, check out LU Innovation's website.
LTH innovations that have become companies
At the Department of Electrical Science at LTH, the first radar combining low energy consumption and high precision has been developed into a minimal component (0.3 cm2). With less than one milliwatt in power consumption, Acconeer's radar can detect multiple objects at once and calculate their speed. The radar can measure absolute distances with millimeters of precision and relative distances with an error margin of tens of micrometers and even recognize different materials. Do you worry about someone hiding in your wardrobe? Don't open! Acconeer's radar is so sensitive that it can sense if something with a pulse is behind the door.
Life as a manufacturing robot used to be heartless. Workers who have lost the precision of wear or failure construction lost the job to newer or more expensive substitutes. A worn robot became a colleague's spare parts at best. This was before LTH's research in productive robotics gave precision to industrial robots. Algorithms developed within RobotLab LTH form the basis of the company Cognibotics and make industrial robots aware of their deviations and make them themselves compensate for mechanical errors that had previously sent them in the crucible.
There are many innovations gushing out from the Mathematics Center. One of the successes is cameras that identify, count and analyze what they see. If you have entered a larger grocery store after 2010, a camera equipped with Cognimatic's software have probably listed your gender and age and analyze when you and your friends pilgrimaged to shelf 25 for Kellog's on discount. Cognimatics was earlybirds in software that allows mobile cameras to recognize faces and create caricatures. Today, the company is part of Axis Communications AB and focuses on analysis of customer behavior and census with cameras.
At LTH, there is one of the leading research environments in the world for nanotechnology. From the NanoLund center, the technology company Glo (among others) has originated, with Google as part owner. The innovation that prompted Glo is nanowires, which enable microscopic LEDs at least ten times more energy efficient than incandescent lamps. Micro-LEDs are expected to be an important part of next-generation displays for phones, watches and VR glasses, with individually controlled red, green and blue-emitting diodes. The same technology can be used to generate Human Centric Lighting which increases concentration and well-being.
Eventhough 2,000 cyclists are seriously injured each year, only one in ten Swedes use helmets. Many relinquish because of the bicycle helmet's barrel-shaped profile and elusive design. In the mid-2000s, two LTH students got tired of all the ugly bicycle helmets. For their degree project in industrial design, they created a new type of head protection for cyclists: Hövding. A stylish collar with sensors programmed to trigger an airbag that swallows the skull in less than 0.1 seconds. At Stanford University, the risk of concussion was evaluated eight times less with Hövding than with a regular bicycle helmet.
Mapillary's mobile app puts users' photographs on the ground level map. Photos taken with Mapillary are uploaded to a server that knows where the photographer is. Advanced image analysis identifies objects in the images - such as signs, lanterns and benches - and creates detailed street view maps. User contributions keep Mapillary better updated than other map services and cover larger areas - everything from the highway between Kinshasa and Bandundu to creepy paths in Veberöd. The ideas behind the technology have their roots in the image analysis group at the Mathematics Center where two of the founders researched.
In the early 1990s, the breakthrough came for Rickard Öste's research group. In the Department of Industrial Nutrition at LTH, research focused on lactose-free milk, but Rickard Öste looked at herbal milk alternatives. The light gray oat drink they made in the lab at the chemistry center was both lactose-free and nutritious. In addition, it tasted good. At best, vegetable milk could compete with milk from animals and reduce the negative environmental impact of the dairy industry. Rickard Öste and his colleagues patented the oat innovation and founded the company in 1994 called Oatly.
During his studies, industrial designer Mehrdad Mahdjoubi became involved in a March project between LTH and Nasa. His task was to find out how astronauts can survive with less water in space. The solution became a technique that cleans and recycles water with sensors, UV light and filters. In his dissertation, Mehrdad Mahdjoubi used the technology to develop a shower that consumes a tenth as much water as a regular full body wash. A ten-minute shower usually consumes 100 liters of water and five kilowatt-hours of energy. Orbital Systems latest product does the job with less than five liters of water and just one kilowatt hour.
In the 1980s, patients who underwent difficult but successful operations died unexpectedly. Strong antibiotics killed good gut bacteria at the same time as probe feeding kept the intestines idle and made it leak bacteria that attacked vital organs. At Lund hospital, LTH's food technologists gave the advise to feed fermented oatmeal directly into the intestine. The faculty microbiologists examined the bacterial culture in healthy intestines and found the lactic acid bacterium Lactobacillus plantarum 299v which prevents intestinal leakage. Oats fermented with Lp 299v was successful. Operated patients with organ collapse recovered with the drink named Proviva.
Visit Proviva's website (in Swedish)
In 2014, the cosmetics chain Lush praised the PhD student Henrik Johansson. In addition to dealing with soaps similar to cheese, Lush propagates against animal experiments. At the Department of Immune Technology, Henrik Johansson had been involved in developing a way to test the allergenic properties of chemicals without involving animal testing. The "Genomic Allergen Rapid Detection" (GARD) method investigates how the immune system cells are affected by chemicals. By analyzing the reaction of the cells, the test method can predict whether a substance is allergic. The breakthrough in allergy research became the basis for the company Senzagen.
Almost all skin creams contain substances that hold oil and water together. This makes the cream soft and easy to apply, but some synthetic additives cause skin irritations and are not naturally degradable. However, natural alternatives have been both worse and more expensive. Speximo was founded in 2012 after scientists from food technology at LTH discovered that a starch can effectively encapsulate oil in water. With quinoa starch particles, researchers were able to create natural, stable and gentle skin care products.
LTH's chemical engineers Ola Wallberg and Christian Hulteberg have figured out how the forest can be converted into environmentally friendly gasoline. In the fiber of the tree is lignin, a binding agent that can be distilled into energy-rich oil. The oil can be refined into lignin gasoline, which is chemically identical to petroleum gas, but emits 80 percent less carbon dioxide. To bring the innovation to the market, the company founded SunCarbon, which extracts lignin oil from residues of paper production. The plan is to introduce mixtures of bio gasoline and ordinary gasoline at Swedish gas stations in 2021.
Watersprint manufactures small water purifiers originating in the department of technical water resources engineering at LTH. The technology is based on LEDs that produce ultraviolet light and purify water from bacteria, viruses and parasites. The units only need 12-24 volts to operate and can be powered by, for example, a solar panel. The company has previously worked with Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus in Bangladesh. Today, Watersprint works to prevent legionella in Swedish tap water, and collaborates with parties including the Congo, Uganda and Nigeria to produce clean drinking water.
Orthodox motorists wants to move forward - stomp on the gas and blow past Sunday drivers in the inner file. Car queues are therefore very degrading for such motorists. At the Mathematics Center, Alexandros Sopasakis has developed an application that circumvents painful traffic jams. The service informs about the current traffic situation, but also collects traffic data to identify when and where future queues will occur. The user receives suggestions on the best departure time and route to reduce the incentive to honk all their way home and increase the quality of life for all parties involved.