The UPC continues promoting technology-based companies by backing six new spin-offs

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Elem Biotech’s technology creates virtual human organs to be used in the diagnosis of diseases and in the evaluation of possible treatments.

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Mitiga Solutions provides solutions for air traffic management during emergency situations involving atmospheric natural hazards.

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NearbyComputing provides technology for conducting IoT and 5G service orchestration to improve its efficiency.

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E-Health Technical Solutions is marketing WIVI, a small immersive 3D visualisation system with freedom of movement that analyses patients’ visual capabilities.

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Icaria Medical is developing and marketing the CardioSense technology that provides cardiovascular prediagnosis in less than 60 seconds.

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ARD (Applied Research for Development) offers advice and implementation of applied research in clean energy and water supply.

In the last few months, the UPC has launched and partnered with six new spin-offs, namely: Elem Biotech, Mitiga Solutions, NearbyComputing (these three with the Barcelona Supercomputing Center - Centro Nacional de Supercomputación as a shareholder), e-Health Technical Solutions, Icaria Medical and ARD.

Feb 19, 2019

The Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya · BarcelonaTech (UPC) joins six new startups: Elem Biotech, whose technology can create virtual human organs; Mitiga Solutions, which provides solutions for air traffic management during emergency situations involving atmospheric natural hazards; NearbyComputing, which provides technology for conducting internet of things (IoT) and 5G service orchestration; e-Health Technical Solutions, specialising in visual health technology; Icaria Medical, which will market the CardioSense electrocardiograph, and ARD, a system for data analysis and support in decision-making in the provision of basic services.

Virtual human organs for deseases' diagnosis
Elem Biotech was founded by researchers Mariano Vázquez and Guillaume Houzeaux and by professor and researcher José María Cela of the Department of Computer Architecture, who is affiliated to the Barcelona Supercomputing Center - Centro Nacional de Supercomputación (BSC). The company is marketing a simulation and data analysis technology for the biomedical and pharmaceutical sector that has been developed within the framework of several research projects at the BSC’s Department of Computer Applications in Science and Engineering (CASE). This technology creates virtual human organs to be used in the diagnosis of diseases and in the evaluation of treatments.

The project arose from the lines of work on simulation and development of the Alya software, which allows users to setup and run advanced simulations and analyse them through a sophisticated biomedical interface. This interface simulates scenarios such as valve replacement and asthma treatments on virtual humans in order to analyse products and better adapt treatments to patients.

Air traffic management during emergency situations
Mitiga Solutions, also founded by professor José María Cela, is marketing a software for dealing with air traffic management during emergency situations involving the atmospheric dispersion of hazardous substances, such as volcanic ash. This technology has been developed in research projects of CASE. In particular, it is the result of the doctoral thesis of BSC researcher Alex Martí.

Volcanic eruptions and specifically the resulting volcanic ash clouds are very difficult to detect and pose a risk to air traffic. Mitiga Solutions’ SORT-ATM (Solutions on Real-Time for Air Traffic Management) software evaluates atmospheric dispersion and provides simple and fast data access to users. Forecast information is available for airlines between 24 and 48 hours before an aircraft takes off, giving time to see whether the aircraft will encounter ash that may damage its engines. This software is based on calculations of a unique algorithm that employs in-house atmospheric dispersion models, parameters such as flight schedules, aircraft specifics and forecasted weather conditions, and other important data provided by control towers and customers. Mitiga’s services are aimed at aviation companies, insurance companies, aircraft engine manufacturers and logistics companies.

Technology to conduct IoT and 5G service orchestration
Led by professor David Carrera, a researcher linked to the UPC’s Department of Computer Architecture and affiliated to the BSC, NearbyComputing offers technology to conduct IoT and 5G service orchestration. This technology has been developed in research projects by the Data-Centric Computing research group at the BSC.

The service orchestration technology integrates separate systems, software and sensors into a single platform with the aim of increasing the efficiency of IoT and 5G systems through greater flexibility in the management of the infrastructures used for its deployment. It can be applied to Network Function Virtualization (NFV), Software Defined Network (SDN) and fully software-defined infrastructure (SDI) environments, resulting in benefits in both costs and performance.

NearbyComputing is building upon a new type of model-driven orchestration technology that combines two advantages over existing systems: the flexibility to connect new devices and the uniform management of networks and computing elements close to data. It also allows the development of customisation services for scenarios involving NFV, SDN and fog computing (or fog networking, which refers to data processing and technological applications between the devices and the cloud), which will play a key role in the development of 5G and IoT technologies.

Assessment of the skills and capabilities of the patient’s visual functions
E-Health Technical Solutions
specialises in the implementation of technological, clinical and e-health solutions related to the evaluation and enhancement of visual perceptual limitations. The company has developed the product WIVI, which offers visual health specialists an assessment of the skills and capabilities of the patient’s visual functions and a customised vision training treatment.

WIVI is a small immersive 3D visualisation system with freedom of movement that analyses visual capabilities and visual skills for reading. The system focuses on the main visual dysfunctions affecting visual performance in children and young people up to the age of 18.

This technology was partially developed by Juan Carlos Ondategui, a researcher at the Centre for Sensors, Instruments and Systems Development (CD6) who is linked to the UPC’s Department of Optics and Optometry.

Cardiovascular diagnosis in less than 60 seconds
Icaria Medical, founded by researchers Ramon Pallàs, Óscar Casas and Ramon Casanella, together with two private partners, is developing and marketing a technology for measuring physiological signals. The company emerged from research projects at the UPC’s Instrumentation, Sensors and Interfaces Group (ISI).

Its technology, called CardioSense, provides the most accurate existing early cardiovascular diagnosis in less than 60 seconds and can transmit the results from anywhere with mobile network coverage. Patented by the UPC, the device monitors both the electrocardiogram (the traditional graph that records the heart’s electrical activity) and the pulse wave (related to arterial tension and arterial elasticity) taken from hands and feet by means of two pairs of metal sensors. This technology offers outstanding benefits in terms of safety and time-saving in comparison with the methods currently in use (blood pressure gauges and intra-arterial catheters), as it is a continuous, non-invasive monitoring device for use inside and outside hospitals.

It was developed within the framework of Joan Gómez’s doctoral thesis under the supervision of Ramon Pallàs and Ramon Casanella. Icaria Medical was set up jointly with the Mobile World Capital Barcelona Foundation, through its technology transfer programme The Collider.

Decision-making in planning and investment prioritization
ARD (Applied Research for Development) is a company founded by professor and researcher Agustí Pérez Foguet from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. It provides services based on SIASAR technology, an information system about rural water supply and sanitation services involving Latin American and Caribbean countries. SIASAR is an open system developed in cooperation with the World Bank that gives governments access to basic, updated and proven information on the status of these elements, and makes decision-making in planning and investment prioritization easier.

Researchers at the UPC linked to the Engineering Sciences & Global Development research group have developed models, tools and calculation algorithms to analyse the information available in the SIASAR system and provide information of interest to the players involved in the provision of basic services: residents, service providers, technical assistance providers, etc. These tools have been developed within the framework of the research started by Pérez Foguet and the doctoral thesis of Ricard Giné, one of the founding members, together with Pol Arranz, a researcher at the Department of Heat Engines, and Frederic Horta, linked to the Department of Management.

ARD also offers advice and implementation of applied research in clean energy (access to energy, planning, applications of solar energy and biomass, among others) as well as business and financing models applied to energy and water supply. Potential clients are public administrations, organisations and service providers that need to evaluate the quality of services or are carrying out strategic planning processes.