Sustainable innovation, the finalists of the European young inventors award

The most innovative projects of young people under 30 to contribute to the sustainable development goals of the United Nations

Cleaning the oceans from microplastics, digital learning for visually impaired children, protection of the environmental ecosystem: these are the three categories to which the most innovative inventions finalists of the European Young Inventors Awardwhich is part of the European inventor prize.

The award, established by the European Patent Office (EPO) in 2021, intends to reward innovative and technological ideas and projects conceived and developed by young people under 30 to contribute to the achievement of the various sustainable development goals of the United Nations (SDGs). To be eligible for the European Young Inventors Award, applicants must be aged 30 or over and not hold any registered patents.

The three finalists were selected from 600 nominees by an independent jury of inventors who were former winners of the European Inventor Prize. The first finalist is called Fionn Ferreira, he is Irish, he is 22 years old and has always had a deep passion for the oceans. His commitment to the defense of the marine environment led him to devise an innovative solution for remove microplastics from the oceans. We recall that every year from 4 to 12 million tons of plastic end up in the sea, which represents about 80% of the pollution of the world’s seas. To counteract one of the most important pollution phenomena on the planet, the young Irishman has developed a magnetic liquid solution (ferrofluid) which binds to the microplastic particles present in marine waters and separates them from the water, thus facilitating their removal .

The second finalist is Filipa de Sousa Roucha, a 27-year-old Portuguese computer engineer and researcher who has developed an innovative solution to improvelearning of visually impaired children. His invention is 3D icon-based software to be used for digital literacy using voice commands or directional movements similar to the “drag and drop” ones used in many computer games. The invention of the young Portuguese called “Block-based Accessible Tangible Programming Systems” (BATS) paves the way for new opportunities for inclusion and reduction of inequalities in learning and training of young people with disabilities.

The third finalist is 22-year-old Richard Turere, originally from Kenya. To try to preserve the ecosystem of the populations of his country, mainly dedicated to cattle breeding, has developed a system that helps to save livestock from attacks by predators. The system is called Lion Lights and uses sequences of lights powered by renewable energy to deter lions and other predators from approaching livestock. In addition to protecting cattle and sheep, the innovation reduces the number of lions killed by farmers trying to defend their livestock. The system, which is constantly evolving, has already been adopted by various African states, in some areas of India and Latin America.