Future Technologies Accelerator Unveils New Projects Lineup

The fifth acceleration program Future Technologies has recently started at ITMO University; this time, a record high number of projects passed the selection process. Various startups in the fields of VR, food, videogaming, blockchain, nanotechnologies and other will be thoroughly prepared for entering the market.

In the course of the program’s three months, promising startups will develop MVPs (Minimal Viable Product), design business models, find partners and colleagues, attract investments, and maybe even enter the market and make their first sales. The accelerator’s residents will take an intensive course during which they will get to better understand their clients’ demands, as well as ways to effectively form teams and present products to investors and partners. Each project will be supervised by a mentor who will help with any emerging problems.

This time, the Future Technologies accelerator accepted 25 projects - the highest number in the program’s history. According to Andrei Myasnikov, head of the accelerator, more and more startups that correspond to the selection criteria - having a ready prototype or technology or working with a technology developed at ITMO University - apply for the program each year. Startups working on technologies in the fields prioritized by ITMO’s Schools, i.e. computer technologies, photonics, biotechnologies, cryogenic systems and translational information technologies, are given the most attention.

Andrei Myasnikov

“We’ve started to accept more residents, as statistics shows that half of them fail to complete the acceleration program, as many startuppers realize that they can’t continue on with their projects. We’ll likely have some ten to twelve projects remaining by the program’s end. The problems that the developers who want to sell their products face remain the same: they have good ideas and are well-versed in the technical aspects of their products, but they don’t know how to sell them. This is why our programs focus on startups that are at the early stages of their development, whose leads are yet to define their target audiences’ requests, understand the demand and enter the market,” comments Andrei Myasnikov.

He adds that the distinguishing characteristic of this season’s acceleration program is that the training sessions for the residents will take place on Saturdays, not workday evenings. At all other times, the participants will be developing their projects independently or consult their mentors. This has been done because many startuppers don’t have much time on weekdays, and cannot spend their evenings at the accelerator.

All of the projects were split into several categories:

IT projects.

VRLectorium

This startup develops VR technologies for educational purposes. The startup proposes using VR to conduct project work, train industrial workers, as well as create video tutorials. For the former, the students will, at first, use sight to work with objects; later on, the developers plan to create special devices to track their hand movements. VR-videos will contain brief descriptions of lectures.

“At first, we plan on introducing educational videos, thus promoting our brand’s visibility. To do that, we’ll probably be collaborating with private schools and online platforms. As for VR laboratories, we have to first understand our users’ needs, i.e. which project work and practical assignments we should model in VR. To do that, we will first have to communicate with potential clients more,” adds Roman Vahrushev, head of the project.

Funbo.

This is a service that would allow regular gamers play with e-sports stars and streamers for a particular price. This way, fans will be able to have their 15 minutes of fame, and their idols - a new source of income.

Nikolai Golos, head of the project, states that the only existing counterpart to such a platform are websites where professional cyberathletes offer their services as coaches to aspiring newcomers. Inversely, Funbo will be aimed at those who want to get pleasure from playing with a cyberathlete, and not train professionally.

“We’ve only started organizing the first games, we are negotiating with cyberathletes and hope that we will soon succeed in setting up games with at least two or three professional players. Most importantly, we need to understand whether there is a demand for our product, so we focus our attention on finalizing the business model rather than developing the platform. If it turns out that this project can be profitable, we'll turn to automatizing most of the processes that we currently execute manually.” comments Nikolai Golos.

Cybersport

Pallium.

This is a blockchain-based decentralized platform for AI developers to launch, store and train their AI models. The system’s users will have access to distributed capacities provided by other participants. Thus, Pallium follows the concept of a decentralized organization, where some provide data, others - capacity, and still others use the results.

“For AI developers, the issue of finding the neccessary computational capacities is quite pressing. To train their models, they require resources that are often too costly for most startups. On the other hand, there are users who can provide the necessary capacities. Thanks to our project, developers will have the opportunity to rent the necessary capacities from others. Blockchain technology will provide for interaction that does not require any agents, and ensure the models’ safe storage. Pallium is also a full-fledged infrastructural solution for launching, training and storing models, which allows developers to focus entirely on their products. These days, more and more projects are being developed in the field of AI, so we think that our platform will be sought-after,” notes Anton Juravlev, the project’s head.

Other IT projects:

DeliveryPlanner. An online process that optimizes delivery processes using algorithms that automatically compute delivery routes. The service is integrated with a popular CRM.

Discount King. A loyalty system for retail businesses based on gamification of purchases: customers complete tasks and receive discounts.

Web platform with a mobile app for pet business. The service ensures fast and effective communication between pet owners and representatives of pet business: owners of pet hotels, sitters, shelters, dog trainers, vet clinics, groomers, pet shops.

Pet business

Making Education Better. CRM for educational establishments. A service that allows educational organizations to increase their marketability and efficiency using information technologies.

SpeakAbility. An English-language learning app that simulates real-life situations in quest format.

ПОRА. A neural network that checks the competencies of young specialists against requirements set by companies.

ITS Discovery Data. A system for corporate networks that classifies, structures, stores, controls and searches data.

Traffic Control and Monitoring System. A project for automated analysis of traffic accidents and filling out European Accident Statements. Includes a map of traffic accidents’ sites.

First Step. A mobile dating app for nightclub and bar patrons that lets them approach others by offering cocktails: upon coming to a bar, a person can launch the app and see a list of those using it at the same venue. They can then send an offer to treat someone they like to a cocktail; if the person accepts, they get access to a chat where they can agree on a date.

Hardware projects.

Moment-1.

This is a camera that prints instant photos using receipt tape. The images it produces are really cheap (each costs less than one ruble), what is more, the camera has different filters and a multiple exposure function (i.e. one can make a series of shots and superimpose them onto each other). Also, users can add text to the images: to do that, they only have to spell their text into a microphone. According to Denis Sharov, head of the project, the team will continue expanding their product’s capabilities.

Project Moment-1

“There are no counterparts to this product on both the Russian and international markets. We believe that artists and photographers will be interested in it, and it is also a great gift for adults and children alike. As of now, we’re working on a new version of the camera that will be able to produce bigger images, as well as see and exchange them as files via Wi-Fi,” adds Denis Sharov.

Other Hardware projects:

FriedCream. A low-temperature freezer for making “stir-fried” ice cream. As opposed to its counterparts, the device makes use of cascade refrigeration, which provides for an even lower temperature of the cooking surface, hence the time necessary to produce fried ice cream is decreased by three times. Also, it is possible to increase the size of the cooking surface, and make it from not metal only, but granite and transparent materials, as well, which allows to create devices with better design and produce new types of ice cream with combined taste and various toppings.

Fried Ice cream.

Ethercat servo drive. A modular servo drive for the purposes of prototyping and research which can also be used to create construction toys - a kind of iron Lego.

Hardware-software system for rehabilitation of muscular activity disorder patients. The system can be used to conduct automated rehabilitation that does not require the presence of physicians. The first prototype is designed for the elbow joint, systems for the knee joint and wrist joint will be developed in the near future.

Heat accumulator. A prototype of an accumulator that makes use of the latent heat of transition.

Science projects:

A next-gen secure broadband communication system. The new suite of methods of secure broadband communication provides for discrete message transfer in conditions of limited capacity of relay stations, which is relevant for both ground and space communications.

Information measurement system for controlling solution strength. The operating principle of the system is based on measuring the refractive index of the liquid, thus such factors as the solution’s color or presence of air bubbles of solid particles have no effect on the measurements.

Embedded rupture load sensor for concrete constructions. Such sensors can be used during construction.

Innovative system for waste paper recycling. The project focuses on developing equipment based on a patented technology for recycling waste paper into highly efficient carbon-containing sorbents, like, for instance, active carbon.

Previous line-up of Future Technologies program

Nanoparticle-based antimycotic biofilms. Development of preventive antimycotic agent based on polymer matrices.

IonTrack. A technology for instant biochemical analysis that makes use of ion-selective membranes to define the concentration of К, Са, Na, Zn, Mg, Fe in a liquid. In future, such analysis can even be conducted at home.

IT/Hardware. Projects:

Assistive eye-tracker “Sterkh”. Development of an eye tracker for computer operation that will allow users to control the mouse pointer, type, generate speech and use the Internet. Designed for people with disabilities.

Food. Projects:

OrganIQum. A functional beverage from vegetable stock rich in potassium and magnesium; great for athletes.

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