Darren David, Suzanne Hitchcock, Joe Kotas, Josh Wagoner, Stephan Winokur, and Julie Yamato Freetouch San Francisco, CA

Winner of an HP Workstation

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a new touch-averse customer segment concerned about the safety of shared touchscreens and kiosks. In 2020, over 7 million public-facing touchscreens were impacted by concerns about pathogen transmission from shared surfaces. This is a small subset of the 85 million connected displays currently deployed globally with the potential for touchless interactivity.

With increasing rates of COVID-19 transmission, shared touchscreens are an ongoing health and safety concern. There is a critical need for an immediate solution to enable the safe use of existing shared displays in nearly every major industry segment. This includes banking, financial, and point-of-sale kiosks; retail displays; ticketing and payment stations; wayfinding; hospitality; healthcare environments; museums; and attractions.

Freetouch lets anyone safely interact with public displays via the one screen they’re comfortable touching: their own smartphone. Freetouch turns a smartphone into a touchscreen remote control. End users simply snap a digital QR code to instantly connect to a kiosk, with no app download or registration required.

A highly responsive and intuitive interface lets users click, drag, scroll, and perform multi-touch gestures safely on their own device to interact with touchscreen applications. All interactions are secure and anonymous.

The controller software can be installed on any PC with Internet connectivity — no additional hardware is required.

For more information, visit here .


2D Materials Origami: The Tiniest Nanochips for Future Computation

The surfaces enable the introduction of more chips inside a device.
Manoj Tripathi and Frank Lee, University of Sussex, United Kingdom and James G. McHugh, Loughborough University, United Kingdom

Stretchable 2D materials were used to create nanochips that can accommodate millions of transistors in a millimeter-square area. These hybrid surfaces are a key step forward towards introducing more chips inside a device.

For more information, visit here .

Early Warning Saves Lives

The sensor offers early warnings of catastrophic failure.
Halit Kaplan and Tarik Ozkul, FatigPro Sensor Co., Istanbul, Turkey

The FatigPro sensor detects metal fatigue and issues an early warning before catastrophic failure. It does not need electricity to work and hundreds of the sensors can be placed at critical points and left there for decades.

For more information, visit here .

High-Performance Silicone-Based Material

The adhesive enables foldable consumer display devices.
Steven Kim, Johnny Park, Tae-Seung Lee, Youngno Lee, BK Park, Hugh Kim, Minji Jeong, Lucas Lee, and Jayden Cho, Dow Chemical Company, South Korea

DOWSIL™ VE-8001 Flexible Silicone Adhesive enables breakthrough foldable consumer display devices. The adhesive is based on thermal curing and provides stable mechanical properties after repeated dynamic and static folding.

For more information, visit here .

Zero Energy Development

Zero Energy devices are powered by harvesting ambient energy.
Niels Hokke, Suryansh Sharma, Sujay Narayana, R.R. Venkatesha Prasad, and Josine van der Velde, Zero Energy Development, Delft, Netherlands

Zero Energy devices are self-sustainable and need no batteries or wires to operate. The devices are powered by harvesting the ambient energy from their surroundings. The IoT sensors last forever, saving money and time by avoiding the maintenance of batteries or building wired systems.

For more information, visit here .

See the rest of this year's winners: