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Ideas for the Future at Vilnius Invents 2017

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From 31 March to 1 April some of Lithuania’s brightest and most creative minds gathered at the Exhibition and Convention Centre LITEXPO for the inaugural edition of Vilnius Invents. The country’s first-ever inventors’ competition featured 41 submissions ranging from a mobile food kiosk robot named Mio, to a completely redesigned blender, and a bike rack that allows for effortless vertical storage.

The event, organised by the Benediktas Gylys Foundation, came about as a response to Lithuania’s rapidly expanding technology market and the new talents emerging from it. With Vilnius building a reputation as a knowledge hub that welcomes startups of all kinds, it seemed only fitting to have a platform for inventors to showcase their new products and for investors to get a taste of the up-and-coming technological trends on display.

Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius was on hand at the opening of Vilnius Invents 2017 to test out some of the inventions and invite locals and visitors to discover the talents competing in the two-day event. “There are many different events in our city but a meeting that brings together inventors and investors in this way has never happened. Vilnius is a great place to bring new ideas to life and I encourage everyone to contribute their own ideas to help make our city even faster and more open,” the mayor said at the event’s opening ceremony.

In addition to the support they received from visitors eager to discover their creations, Vilnius Invents 2017 participants were also competing for €21,000 in prizes divided into three categories. There was an  ‘Ahead of Time’ category to recognise the invention that was most innovative and groundbreaking; a ‘Financially Viable’ category for the invention that was most appealing from an investor and consumer point-of-view; and an ‘ECO Invention’ category dedicated to the invention that promoted sustainability and consumer awareness.

Participants didn’t make it easy for the four-person jury, which was made up of prominent local tech-industry professionals. When all was said and done, four winners were selected, with two inventions sharing the prize in the  ‘Financially Viable’ category.

The invention that won in the ‘Ahead of Time’ category was a non-invasive blood glucose meter for diabetics called GlucoCarer made by a biomedical startup of the same name from Kaunas. The inventions that shared the prize in the ‘Financially Viable’ category included a sapphire cutter that uses a combination of laser radiation and pulse packets made by Mindaugas Gedvilas and Gediminas Račiukaitis, and a laser used for integrated electronic circuits on 3D surfaces by Karolis Ratautas. Finally, the ‘ECO Invention’ prize went to Dooq, a company headed by Vismantas Kasteckas that makes high-quality customisable sandals.

With the first edition of Vilnius Invents in the books, organisers and aspiring inventors alike can start brainstorming and coming up with even brighter ideas for next year. In the meantime, Vilnius just took a step in the right direction in terms of being a city of ideas and a launch pad for startups.

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