🇫🇮 University’s new patents range from electro-ceramics and optics to energy harvesting

March 15, 2023

Press release from the University of Oulu

Seven inventions developed in the University of Oulu were granted a patent in 2022. New inventions enable more sustainable manufacturing of electro-ceramics, function in different phases of optical range imaging, and make energy harvesting from different energy sources possible.

Electroceramics sample and tweezers

At present manufacturing of electro-ceramics requires as much as a thousand degrees of heat. Two new patented inventions enable the manufacturing of these components in the room temperatures, which lowers the energy consumed in the process and enables the inclusion of other electronic components in the manufacturing process.

Also, related to electro-ceramics is the invention enabling the use of electro-ceramics waste in making new components. This way factory defect components can be reused in manufacturing new ones.

The patented inventions of electro-ceramics were created in the research team led by Heli Jantunen in the Microelectronics Research Unit.

Multifunctional, electricity generating sensor

A patent was also granted for a material developed by Yang Bai, an Assistant Professor in the Microelectronics Research Unit. The material can harvest kinetic, thermal, and solar energy from its surroundings and convert them into electric current.

The new material can be utilized for example in prolonging operating time of sensors, and possibly in the future it could provide all the needed power from the energy harvested from the sensor’s environment.

Comprehensive solution for imaging

Measuring distance as well as range imaging by laser are complicated processes, and three inventions regarding different phases of these processes have been granted patents. The first one ensures the eye-safety of the laser, second one controls the effect of natural light in the measurement, and third one receives the transmitted light back in the system.

This kind of system-level solution in range imaging significantly lowers manufacturing costs and it has several applications for example in the car industry’s development of self-driving cars.

The inventions of laser transmitted range imaging are based on the long-time research of Professor Emeritus Juha Kostamovaara from the Circuits and Systems Research Unit.

Now, the patent portfolio of the University of Oulu consists of 50 patent families. Some are licensed to companies, while others are waiting for the best way to be commercialized. Even if the patent process for an invention may take years, it is an important step for securing the invention, making its commercial use possible.

Further reading: Scientific research is increasingly leading to inventions

Originally published on 14 March.

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