How to transfer a futuristic technology to a working application?

The Idiap research institute from Martigny held its traditional Innovation Day on August 28th. The researchers presented how cutting edge technologies, such as artificial intelligence, biometrics or robotics can be transferred into the business world.

To speak to a computer and to get an answer seems quite obvious, even if it was science fiction only a few years ago. Today any average smartphone can handle this challenge. To achieve this result, it was necessary to adapt technologies to business needs, as these technologies were developed in lab with different economic constraints. Despite its discretion, Idiap became a master in transferring its technologies. Start-ups creation, made to measure developments, joint patent and even training of the future internal experts of companies are among the tools to share knowledge.

Custom-made answers for specific needs

Projects presented during this innovation day perfectly represent the variety of tools available for technology transfer. For example, the EPFL start-up Global ID came to Idiap looking for its expertise in biometrics in order to validate their identification system based on the vein pattern of the hand. The University of applied sciences in specialised pedagogy from Zurich (Hochschule für Heilpädagogik) collaborates with the Institute to create a learning device for sign language based on the visual recognition of the movements. The device uses a video game sensor and displays the accuracy for each movement of the user. Each collaboration is unique.

In the institute’s DNA

This tradition of dialogue with the entrepreneurship world is deeply rooted in Idiap’s history. The Italian manufacturer Angello Dalle Molle created the institute about 30 years ago. Following the same path, Idiap is also innovating by creating new tech transfer tools. To address the growing need of experts in artificial intelligence, in collaboration with the Canton of Valais and the Swiss Distance university, the institute created a unique training. This program allows companies to develop a specific project and to train simultaneously one or more employees. The success is here and a second group of students will start the training at the beginning of 2020.


Photos and videos of the 2019 innovation day are available here