Tuesday, 11 January 2022

Croatian Company Teams Provoke Interest from Global Giants in Las Vegas

January the 11th, 2022 - Croatian company teams have impressed some truly global giants in Las Vegas recently. From Amazon to Microsoft and Apple, huge names have shown interest in what these Croatian company teams have to offer.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Lucija Spiljak writes, the winners of Idea Knockout - Sportreact, Codelab, Iron Bull and Orqa - presented their innovationd at the world's largest Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which took place in Las Vegas for the 55th time from January the 5th to the 8th, 2022.

They were joined by the Croatian startup Zuluhood, which was among the ten most promising startups at this year's CES, highlighting a number of innovations for home security.

For the current winner of Idea Knockout, the startup Sportreact, going to Las Vegas was an opportunity to present itsself to international technology journalists, investors and distributors, and among the potential investors was no less than the global giant Amazon.

Croatian company teams presented their innovative products among 800 startups from around the world that exhibited at Eureka Park, for which more than 3,000 new companies applied. In doing so, they attracted the attention of representatives of technology giants such as Apple and Microsoft.

Croatian innovation in Las Vegas

Sportreact is an Internet-of-Things (IoT) device intended for the development of the motor and cognitive abilities of users, intended for both recreational and professional athletes. It is connected by a mobile application (app) that measures and analyses numerous parametres during the individual's physical training.

Codelab introduced the electronic board game Clockwork Briefcase in Vegas, in which the goal is to deactivate a fake explosive hidden in a suitcase.

Iron Bull is an indie-studio for developing highly-realistic robotic tank models with real-tank operational capabilities, including their launch, plastic missile firing capability, and a system for detecting received missiles and any incurred damage. The tank is equipped with a wide-angle camera and is controlled by two players.

The Osijek startup Orqa developed Orqa FPV, which are goggles for the management of drone races and other professional (industrial and civil) drone applications. They also presented a new model of drone goggles while in the USA, a 5G module and a learning controller on a simulator at CES.

The general sponsorship of Idea Knockout, the largest regional competition of technological ideas organised by the Bug magazine, is part of the long-term strategy of Hrvatski Telekom (Croatian Telecom), which is establishing itself as the largest startup accelerator in all of the Republic of Croatia.

In addition to these five startups and Croatian company teams, two more from the PISMO Business Incubator - Grow and Hiroma Design - exhibited their respective products.

Grow unveiled their smart glasses for the deaf that should make life easier for the 72 million people in the world who suffer with various types of hearing problems, while Hiroma Design developed the Moopies educational app in which children connect with characters and become teachers, not just students, while their time spent in front of the screen is controlled by their parents.

For more, check out Made in Croatia.

Wednesday, 15 December 2021

Croatian Idea Makes Damaging Fast Fashion More Sustainable

December the 15th, 2021 - A Croatian idea is turning old clothes which would likely end up being thrown away into sustainable fashion statements. The above idea was arrived to via a recently held UPSHIFT workshop in Zagreb.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Lucija Spiljak writes, the UNICEF Office in Croatia and the Croatian Office for Creativity and Innovation (HUKI) recently held a three-day UPSHIFT workshop for young people from the City of Zagreb and the surrounding area of Zagreb County, dedicated to solving problems regarding environmental protection and sustainable development.

The interactive workshop attracted Croatian high school students who want to see problems in their local communities properly dealt with. 21 teams applied for this workshop, and ten of them aged 13 to 19 from the City of Zagreb and Zagreb County participated. Four teams won financial support of 7,500 kuna, as well as mentoring support for the realisation of their ideas.

One of them was team number 8, which wants to deal with the problem of fast fashion in the textile industry, also one of the biggest challenges of today. The team consists of Luka Marusic Smajic, Jan Filipovic, Gabriela Dedic, Lucija Bekavac and Maria Paula Klekovic from the School of Fashion and Design Zagreb. Their fashion-oriented Croatian idea was an impressive one.

"Our goal isn't to solve the problem that we're all facing on a global basis, but to make people around us aware of it. We'll try to solve this problem by redesigning old clothes that are no longer desirable. We'll implement this solution by holding a fashion show of our redesigned collection and posting educational videos on social media, in which we'll teach people how they can redesign their old clothes themselves. There will be advice, examples, instructions and so on,'' the team members explained.

They stated that they were encouraged to attend the workshop by their professors and professional associates who educated them about the challenges of fast fashion and encouraged them to solve problems. The aforementioned financial support of 7,500 kuna will be used for advertising, the necessary materials for redesign, as well as for the collection and the subsequent fashion show itself.

Their main focus is on young people who, according to the team members, are often unaware of the problem of accumulating old fabrics, as well as the fact that they themselves contribute to it on a daily basis.

"Few of our peers are thinking about this problem and it isn't covered enough in the media. In addition, the fashion industry is very fast-paced and also doesn't contribute to solving the problem whatsoever. Fortunately, our school talks a lot about fast fashion and its impact on the environment, so we're more aware of this. It's important to choose quality over quantity and to encourage manufacturers to offer clothes of natural composition(s). Also, people should put together their own styles, ignore passing trends, and occasionally be creative, not just pliable,'' concluded the team from the Zagreb School of Fashion and Design.

Other teams from the UPSHIFT workshop in their communities will deal with solving the problem of air pollution in Zagreb, ''dehumanised'' classrooms in Croatian schools and launching the mission ZaZeleniZagreb (For a Green Zagreb).

For more, check out Made in Croatia.

Thursday, 6 May 2021

Croatian Innovation: Digitalna Dalmacija Portal and New Startups Presented in Split

May 6, 2021 - Croatian innovation was in the spotlight on Wednesday as a new startup platform Digitalna Dalmacija and many new startups were presented in Split.

Organized by the GrowIT project of ICT County, which aims to consolidate and encourage the IT startup scene in Split and the county, a TeamUP LIVE event for networking startups was held on Wednesday in PICS @ FESB at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture (FESB) in Split. Dalmatinski Portal reports that at the event, the new startup platform digitalnadalmacija.hr was presented, and an innovative electric bicycle and tourist guide by Ljubičić Technology from Runović.

Damir Brčić, the ICT County project manager, spoke about the Digitalna Dalmacija portal, saying that the initial idea was to present the startup community to the general public so that all institutions, financiers, or anyone who can, would help build that story. Also, the mission is to connect startups, encourage their cooperation, and unite all the news that is of interest to startups, for example, about incentive tenders, i.e., to keep everything concentrated in one place.


"We in the ICT County project, which is part of Digitalna Dalmacija, have decided to support startups in our county vertically. For the second year in a row in cooperation with Lean Startup Croatia, we are working on an 8-week StartIT academy. Of the 15 teams, seven founded companies and were given space at the SPINIT center. The next project is GrowIT with a budget of almost one million kuna to help startups in two categories - young startups (first prize of 70,000 kuna and 7 prizes of 50,000 kuna) and startups up to 5 years old (prizes of 250,000, 200,000, and 100,000 kuna)," explained Brčić added that valuable training was organized as part of the GrowIT project.

The most dynamic part of the event was the premiere presentation of the electric bicycle 'Guide-B,' an innovative product of the young inventor and entrepreneur from Runović / Imotski Mario Ljubičić and his technology startup Ljubičić Technology for which he twice won the Grand Prix at the international innovation fair Arka in Zagreb.

"It all started with an attempt to develop our own electric car in the yard of our house in Imotski in 2017, almost without tools, and ended with an electric bicycle, which is also a tourist guide. Last year, we developed our third, latest final model of the ‘Guide-B’ bike that perfectly fits all terrains with its looks, performance, and comfort. We have several models of that bike, and the price ranges from 2,400 to 3,000 euros. Everything is done in Runovići and our development center in Imotski, and the processing center in Posušje (BiH). One Swiss and one Italian company invested in our production. The bike reaches a speed of 25 km / h, which is a legal limit and can be ridden from 60 to 160 km, depending on the terrain, has a versatile application of routes, locations, and domestic indigenous offer of Imotski in several languages," pointed out the 23-year-old Ljubičić, a student in Dubrovnik, adding that the bicycle has a built-in alarm system that will work for up to 20 days in case of theft.

Ljubičić Technology came on the market in March this year, already has over 100 orders and today employs up to 12 people at three locations, depending on the need, while the owner and director Ljubičić has, as he says, the lowest salary of all.

As part of the networking of members of the digitalnadalmacija.hr platform through TeamUP, four Croatian startups were presented. Petar Starčević from Clastr, Mario Mrkša from grabAhome, Ivan Voras from Equinox Vision, and Zlatko Kovačić from DotYourSpot spoke about their IT projects.

Zlatko Kovačić, director of the company DotYourSpot, which develops new digital solutions for its customers, told the caterers that their goal is to create a system that will solve all the problems of reservations in catering facilities and their management systems. The waiter can have information about what you are allergic to and what to offer you through the app.

"We deal with QR price lists used by over 70 restaurants. When booking, we have developed the 'emergency' option that, in bad weather, the application arranges tables within the facility and cancels some reservations. The mobile application provides an overview of all restaurants, nightclubs, and events for buying tickets in Croatia. We are trying to expand this service to the whole of Europe and beyond," said Kovačić. He added that this whole success story started in his grandparents' apartment, then the impetus of the ICT County arrived, and today they have business premises.

Petar Starčević is from the startup Clastr, an application intended for gamers who do not have good enough hardware. They provide support directly with a ‘peer-to-peer connection, and gaming computer owners are paid for their rent.

"People don't know that 80% of gamers don't have access to the latest games because their hardware isn't good enough. We connect them to an external server that gives them that capability. What is our advantage over the competition is that we reduce the distance between the server that is a gaming computer and the user and thus create a better user experience," said Starčević and added that their users are mostly 'casual' gamers.

Twenty-five-year-old Mario Mrkša, founder and director of grabAhome, a company with eight employees, works on an online platform for booking accommodation in Croatia for accommodation longer than 30 days for those who go to study or work in other areas.

"The problem with current agencies and online platforms is that the prices of such rentals are high, and renters are uneducated. Our platform is the solution, everything is online, and we offer landlords to check accommodation through our agents or professional photos or video tours. We also offer online signing of contracts through the platform, a guarantee that the accommodation is as advertised," Mrkša explained, adding that their most promising clients are students and digital nomads who work online from anywhere in the world.

Ivan Voras of Equinox Vision works on an interactive gamified content platform in augmented reality.

"It is about putting virtual 3D content in physical locations, for business purposes. For a start, we focused on hotels, travel agencies, and creative marketing agencies, although it can be applied to various other industries. The thing with us works so that those interested put the content on the platform, and we do the technical details. The platform is global, and the idea is that anyone with ideas and capabilities can create augmented reality content without dealing with the technical details that we solve. It can also be various shops," said Voras, adding that the younger generations are already demanding such an augmented reality.

For more news about everything made in Croatia, be sure to follow TCN’s dedicated page.

Tuesday, 9 March 2021

Croatian Neurosurgical Robot NERO Soon to Perform Most Demanding Brain Surgeries

March 9, 2021 – By developing a Croatian neurosurgical robot NERO, designed for the most demanding brain surgeries, a team of scientists from the Croatian company INETEC confirms that Croatia can boast innovative solutions in robotics and artificial intelligence.

When it is finished, the neurosurgical robot NERO, a project backed by a team of scientists from the Croatian company INETEC, will enable faster, more precise, and more reliable neurosurgical operations. Made in cooperation with the partners – the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture in Zagreb (FSB) and the Dubrava Clinical Hospital (KBD), NERO is one of the first robots in the world made exclusively for use in the neurosurgery room. Many neurosurgeons accept it precisely because of its high level of precision, repeatability, and small dimensions.

Thanks to that, NERO will be able to perform the most demanding operations in deep brain structures, that is, the most complex neurosurgical surgeries, and he could even wake patients from a coma.

A global challenge

Due to the complexity of brain surgery, neurosurgeons have difficulty accessing and reviewing the areas they operate on, so they must rely on auxiliary devices, the so-called stereotactic frames. As explained by INETEC, in combination with the software, such frames make it possible to reach deep brain structures while avoiding the bigger blood veins in the brain. Precision plays a key role here, and various specialized companies worldwide are still trying to solve this challenge, including the Croatian INETEC.


Croatian neurosurgical robot NERO

"During the operation itself, the surgeon plans and selects the path of moving the surgical tool through the brain. The device, whether manual or automated, must ensure that this trajectory complies with minimal submillimeter deviations. Given the sensitivity of the application, any deviation can be fatal for the patient. Such requirement is a great challenge, and the fact that the CT scan of the patient's head, which serves as the basis for the mentioned trajectory planning, is done separately, both temporally and spatially, from the stereotactic frame or robot makes this task a global challenge," explains INETEC their motivation for creating a neurosurgical robot.

NERO will be used to position surgical tools in the biopsy, ventricular drainage, stereo-electroencephalography (SEEG), and deep brain stimulation (DBS) procedures.

From the nuclear sector to medicine

Unlike most other neurosurgical robots purchased off-the-shelf and whose software is repurposed for medicine, INETEC's scientists have been developing Croatian neurosurgical robot NERO from scratch in terms of hardware as well.

In this segment, INETEC relies on their experience in developing precision manipulators in the nuclear sector, which is their main area of work. Namely, INETEC develops a system for testing vital components of nuclear power plants. Today, they are one of the leading entities globally, and now, as they say, their goal is to apply the acquired experience and knowledge in the medical sector.


INETEC's test laboratories

"At first glance, there are not many links between nuclear and medical, more precisely, surgical use. However, the operation principles and technical requirements for the devices are quite similar. In both cases, the devices must be robust and reliable, the positioning accuracy must be high, and the design of the housing and other elements of the device must be designed to protect against contamination with either radioactive material, viruses, or bacteria," said the company, which recently celebrated its 30th birthday.

This project, unique both in Croatia and in the world, was co-financed by the European Union.

Clinical trials in Croatian hospitals will follow soon

Since neurosurgery is one of the most complex works on humans, the whole process of developing the neurosurgical robot has been challenging for this team.

"To meet the high demands on the precision and repeatability of device positioning, we must apply 'cutting edge' technology of mechanical solutions and robot control. In this context, the 'know-how' we possess from the nuclear sector certainly helps us to realize devices of such a sophisticated purpose. However, each new field of application, especially the medical-surgical sector, carries its own specifics and specific functional requirements," says INETEC.


Croatian neurosurgical robot NERO - camera testing

They thank their innovative and young engineers for successfully solving the NERO robot project's requirements, but they are aware that there is still a lot of work ahead of them. Namely, NERO will soon be pre-clinical and clinically tested in KBC Dubrava and then in other hospitals, which will be part of the device certification process.

INETEC scientists started this project in the last quarter of 2017. They expect its completion at the end of this year, after which NERO should start being used in operating rooms and thus facilitate the most demanding neurosurgical procedures.

All photos © INETEC

To read more about Croatian innovations, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Varaždin Company ExaByte Creates Hit Rapid Temperature Measurement System

June 2, 2020 - One of the things we have to accept as a part of our "new normal" life post-corona is that our temperature is going to be measured regularly when trying to enter some institutions. Thus, a Croatian company from Varaždin, ExaByte has created a system that will make it as simple and efficient as possible. 

Ines Brežnjak writes for dnevno.hr about the ExaByte company. They have been in business for 12 years now, working on the development of sophisticated IT solutions with implementations in numerous industries (including advanced systems for news websites, the integration of the current business solutions with advanced e-commerce solutions, software support to the industrial manufacturing through the implementation of the artificial intelligence technologies). Now they've decided to develop IT technologies to be used to prevent the spread of coronavirus, protect the healthcare workers, and in many other industries. During the COVID-19 pandemic, they started developing a system that uses artificial intelligence to measure someone's body temperature rapidly. Their system is, compared to similar existing products on the global market, much cheaper, mobile, and simple to install and use. 

Termalna kamera 2.jpg

New Time - New Technologies

"As we talked to a colleague who has a medical degree, we recognized that being able to control the bodily temperature of many people is one of the bottlenecks and critical points in the age of the epidemic. The standard technology used here these days is measurements with contactless thermometers, which is a technology not up to the challenge during the pandemic times. When you want to use such a handheld contactless thermometer to measure the temperatures of each person in larger groups, such as in hospitals, health centers, factories, schools, or daycare centers, many problems appear", Bernard Toplak, the ExaByte owner explains. Those include an increased risk of infection for the person doing the measurement, as the person holding the thermometer must come within a meter of the person whose temperature is being taken, and who is potentially infected. Also, those measurements can be very imprecise unless they're used properly, and the variation can be up to 2 °C. Many of the hospitals in Croatia have erected mobile tents where the measurements are performed, and such measurements are done in the open, on people with colder foreheads. None of that complies with the specifications and the instructions written by the producers of contactless thermometers. They're designed and calibrated to be used at room temperature and indoors. 

It's evident that handheld devices are just not up for the challenges and dangers of today. That's why numerous systems based on thermal imaging infrared cameras are being introduced worldwide to measure temperature. The solutions that were available in Croatia in March and April were based on security cameras with night-vision capabilities, and they cost between 18 thousand and over 26 thousand euros. That's why ExaByte decided to create their own solution, not compromising on the quality, but at just the fraction of the cost. They've worked closely with a well-renowned producer of specialized thermal imaging cameras since early March, developing software based on artificial intelligence, which can control body temperatures of a group of people fast, using the thermal imaging camera and a reference black body. And, Toplak is proud to say they were successful, and they have a system which is much cheaper than the competition, and much simpler to install and use and is mobile. 

Features of the system include a group screening of the bodily temperature without stopping, ultra-fast measurements (it can measure up to 9 times per second), it's mobile (can quickly be taken from one location to the next if needed), it's simple to install and use. 

AI software na laptopu.jpg

The Same System is Used Worldwide

"The same system was recently implemented in thousands of hospitals in China and all over the world, in factories, schools, and other locations where there are many people. For instance, our partner's cameras are located on all subway stations in Wuhan, the epicenter of the pandemic. In Croatia, you can find equipment by those who usually sell surveillance (security) cameras, which have been improved so they can measure temperature instead of performing night-time surveillance. Some of the solutions are quite good, but some of them are not exactly of high quality, especially if they don't use the black body device to calibrate the measurement. Our cameras have been developed to measure temperatures, and not for night-time surveillance," Toplak said when asked if similar systems are used elsewhere. 

A very precise infrared camera is used as a fundamental element of the system, which was developed to measure temperatures in industrial settings, such as to protect against overheating of machines and plants, for protection against fires, to supervise the electro-installations, the transformers, etc. The camera has a very high resolution and precision, which allows us to be precise at a distance of over 4 meters. That's what makes the system perfect for installation at the entrances to the hospitals, factories, schools, daycare centers, public administration waiting rooms, and other areas where many people are found at the same time. 


The other key element is the reference heat source, the so-called black-body element, widely used to calibrate the infrared effect of the optical systems, the infrared detectors and other instruments using the infrared radiation. 

"Other systems, which don't use the black-body source, are unable to achieve precision, which depends greatly on external influences (winds, drafts, sudden changes in the temperature, etc.). Our system re-calibrates nine times in a second using the black-body source, which gives us the precision with the deviation of up to ±0,3 °C at 4 to 5 meters. Our software is built on our many years of experience, but also our partner's rich experience, and they're a factory producing infrared sensors and precise industrial cameras", Toplak explains. 

Exabyte AI software.png

The prototype of their system is being tested in Varaždin hospital, where such technologies can significantly help. ExaByte has let the hospital use it for free, and the feedback is very positive. IT was the feedback that led them to offer their system on the market, not just in Croatia. They're already talking to partners in Italy, Germany, Slovenia, etc., and many of them are interested in ExaByte's solution, Toplak concludes.

If you would like to find out more information about this product, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject Temperature. 

To find out more about business in Croatia, follow our dedicated Business section

Friday, 1 November 2019

Darko Horvat: We've Opened Path to Commercialisation of Croatian Innovation

As Novac/Adriano Milovan writes on the 1st of November, 2019, innovation is the basis of further economic growth, and Croatia is a land of huge potential when it comes to innovation, states a message from the conference "Croatia - a Place for Innovation and Smart Investment", organised yesterday by the Ministry of Economy and the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) at the Westin Hotel in Zagreb.

The aim of the conference was to connect innovative Croatian companies with investors and other partners. These involve more than 300 projects, which have crystallised on thematic innovation councils, with an estimated value of more than 5 billion kuna. They are all open to investment, which is why matchmaking meetings were organised at the end of the conference.

Although Croatia has a long tradition in innovation, the realisation of any of it has so far been stalling and lagging behind far more than it should be. Simply put, it lacked the path for the commercialisation of its innovation. However, Darko Horvat, Minister of Economy, is convinced that a step has now been taken in the right direction.

''Networking the real entrepreneurial sector, academia and local and central government officials and getting all of that through a maze relatively quickly, all this was done this year and in the future we'll talk no more about speed but acceleration,'' Horvat stated at the conference, adding that things are definitely changing for the better in Croatia.

Luka Burilović, President of the Croatian Chamber of Economy, recalled the long tradition of innovation in Croatia and said that Croatian innovators are stilling following global trends.

''Today, we have a new generation of minds, who are pushing our economy into a new, digital age,'' Burilović pointed out, pointing specifically to Rimac Automobili's owner, Mate Rimac.

Tomislav Sokol, MEP, warned that the EU is lagging behind the US, China and India in innovation. One of the main reasons for this, at least according to Sokol, is the overregulation of the European Union, which is why the aim is to reduce red tape by a third.

Despite its aspirations and goals, Croatia still lags behind others in R&D investment. For example, according to Eurostat's data for 2017, appropriations for this purpose in the EU accounted for 2.06 percent of GDP, and in Croatia, they amounted to 0.86 percent of GDP.

On the other hand, in Israel, these expenditures, according to Nili Shalev, director-general of the Directorate for Research and Development at the Israeli Innovation Agency, have reached 4.3 percent of GDP, with the largest share being provided by the private sector. The main driver of investment in innovation in Israel are large multinational companies, but the state, and especially the military, are both contributing, Shalev said.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business page for more.

Thursday, 26 September 2019

Croatian Innovation: Taxi Cat Drops Passengers Directly Onto Beach

As Morski/Iva Vlasimsky writes on the 25th of September, 2019, as part of the 2019 Rijeka Boat Show, which will take place this weekend, a new, interesting Croatian passenger ship called Taxi Cat will sail into Rijeka's port, which can drop guests off directly on the beach.

This is yet another success story from the shipping company ''Agena Marin'' from Biograd near Zadar, whose main purpose is short-haul transportation, such as taxi and excursion transportation, scuba diving, commercial fishing and public needs. This ten-metre-long catamaran can carry up to twelve passengers at a time, and since it doesn't require mooring, it can establish a hop on, hop off express transport line, save time and enrich the tourist offer by connecting coastal towns to previously inaccessible locations.

Mladen Peharda, the owner of Agena Marin, explained that the Croatian Taxi Cat allows passengers to be dropped off in a wide variety of places, and because of this, there's no time wasted in mooring, tying and untying the vessel.

The specific hull design and composite structure of the vessel, which deals easily with potentially turbulent waters and doesn't take so much of a hit from the waves, has provided Taxi Cat with a double benefit: for passengers, an incomparably more comfortable ride compared to similar boats in this category, and significant fuel savings for the owners.

The Croatian Taxi Cat was created in response to the growing needs of tourist destinations for better quality and more economical sea transport, and the fact that this is a very successful business model has been proven by the customers of this boat in Dalmatia, Istria and across the Adriatic sea in nearby Italy.

On the island of Korčula, for example, after acquiring Taxi Cat, the ''Memula'' company managed to raise the island's complete taxi boat service to a far higher level, offering a modern ''hop on and hop off'' mode for tourists and locals. Travellers have thus been given the option of purchasing one-day tickets, which allow for unlimited circular journeys.

''We have a regular timetable that is accurate to the minute and runs like a bus service does. Considering the limited parking spaces and other problems of communication of tourists during the season, Taxi Cat provides an additional opportunity to navigate through the Korčula archipelago, and the boat itself is extremely safe and comfortable to sail,'' said Memula's CEO Norbert Žaknić.

Otherwise, Agena Marin is known to the general public for its semiSUBMARINE glass-bottomed semi-submarine project, whose recognisable vessels have enriched tourist offer throughout the entire Adriatic, as well as in eleven attractive international destinations such as the Maldives, Seychelles, the Caribbean, and much closer to home in Greece and Italy.

Make sure to follow our dedicated travel and Made in Croatia pages for more information on getting around when in Croatia and Croatian innovation.

Monday, 19 August 2019

Croatian Innovators Win Prestigious Award for Coastal Protection System

More incredible international recognition for Croatian innovation as Zagreb innovators have won no less than the world's most prestigious accolades for their coastal protection system.

As Sergej Novosel Vuckovic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 17th of August, 2019, the talented Croatian innovators won the bronze medal at the 47th International Innovation Exhibition (GInventions) in Geneva back in April, recognition as the overall winner (Grand Prix) at the 11th International Agro Heart Innovation Fair in Agriculture, Food Processing and Agricultural Machinery at the end of the same month in Karlovac, and then, as the crown of this already glittering series, the Croatian innovators managed to take home the Gold Medal at the 2nd Silicon Valley International Invention Festival (SVIIF) in Santa Clara, California, USA.

Their invention, the Wave breaker (Razbijač valova), created by Frane Pokrajčić and his son Tomislav from Zagreb did exceptionally well at the aforementioned events, breaking (quite literally) their competition from all over the world and impressing visitors, entrepreneurs and potential investors along the way. This was especially the case at the last exhibition in Silicon Valley, the epicentre of today's technological ''brain''. And, as is usually the case, the invention came about by accident.

"Just watching on TV how waves destroy coastlines and cafes by the sea in Split and Dubrovnik, my dad came to the realisation that, based on the current flood defense system, ie, the tube, he could apply an innovation in the defense against waves," stated Tomislav Pokrajčić, the director of the Croatian company Jel-Tom.

Tomislav's father is a well-educated engineer in chemistry. Several years ago, back when he was the owner of the company Majo Commerce, he developed a kind of plastic tubing, which when filled with water, protect the coastline and any of the facilities on it against flooding. He developed the tubes alongside Tomislav Petrić from the company Corus. These tubes proved their worth and highlighted their efficiency for the floods that took place in Hrvatska Kostajnica back in March 2018, and then a little later on in Požega.

A wave breaker could of course be just as effective, if not more so, mostly in the Adriatic sea, where certain types of storms can be absolutely devastating to the coastline. In addition, this Croatian invention can easily be used anywhere in ports and marinas around the world.

"As the name implies, it protects the coastline against waves by reducing their impact by 50 percent, collecting any waste and debris, generating kinetic energy under the sea, and protecting the coast from erosion, ie, decay," explains Frane's son Tomislav in a small plant in the Samobor industrial zone, in a space rented from Končar. The wave breaker, therefore, has an impressive fourfold effect.

According to Pokrajčić, about 100,000 kuna has been invested into the system's creation and innovation so far, and as they say, these funds were obtained from European Union sources, and, as awareness of its value grew, the innovation was patented in as many as 159 countries around the world.

The ''wave'' of this year's medals raises hope for this Croatian product's potential commercial success.

"The awards mean a lot to us, because they confirm that the product is of high quality and is efficient both at a European and at a global level, and can be a proof to investors who will invest in our innovative product," said Pokrajčić proudly.

He also detailed his observations from the presentation of his creation over in America, noting that people there told him that "it's unbelievable that a small country like Croatia has a solution to the huge problems and damage that waves cause, and that also produces energy."

These Croatian innovators are also proud of the letter they received from the President of the Republic of Croatia, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, after their appearance at SVIIF in California.

"She told us that she wanted our success to be an inspiration to all innovators and strengthen their perseverance in their work," Tomislav Pokrajčić stated.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business and Made in Croatia pages for more information on Croatian innovation, Croatian products and services, and much more.

Monday, 12 August 2019

First Croatian Electric Race Car Reaches 100 km/h in Three Seconds

As Novac/Lea Balenovic writes on the 12th of August, 2019, after two years of hard work, sleepless nights, laboratory tests, assurances from professors that the project is feasible, then rolled up sleeves and "physicals", students of the Zagreb Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture (FSB) created their first electric car, which is also the first Croatian electric race car, and they have already tested it.

The FSB Racing Team has actually been in existence for fifteen years already, and their story began as far back as in 2004, when one of the FSB students and Formula One enthusiasts were surfing online and stumbled across the Formula Student International (FS) competition. They obtained permission to participate after painstakingly persuading professors from the faculty and the Student Association and then recruited other enthusiasts from the faculty.

Today, however, the team is no longer made up of just students of Zagreb's FSB, but also those from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing (FER), the Faculty of Science (PMF) and more, and in total there are, says Mark Marasović, the head of marketing for that student team, about fifty of them.

''With each project comes a shift of generations. After the project is over, most students graduate and leave the team, and then mostly new, ''fresh'' people come and start working on new projects. We always try to transfer the knowledge and technical solutions from the previous cars to the next generation of students, but sometimes it's difficult to do that because with the passing of generations, parts of the knowledge is lost and students have to do a good deal of work and research to find out why something is done this way and how,'' Marasović explained, adding that the team functions like a real company that has its own hierarchy and weekly meetings.

The FSB Racing Team has seven cars behind it. More specifically, they have made five race cars, all powered by petrol engines, and for the last two, the Arctos and Strix, they also made upgraded "R" versions. In fact, every new FSB Racing Team car brings a number of improvements in comparison to the previous ones, making their vehicles lighter, made from better materials, and equipped with better driving characteristics.

But the last car that has been made by them stands out the most. The idea of ​​developing an electric race car came from three students who also worked on the last FSB Racing Team vehicle. Although some professors were very skeptical about the possibility of developing such an ambitious project, the mere presentation of the detailed concept totally knocked them off their feet. This is a model called FSB RT06E Vulpes, which is, as the head of marketing in the team explained, the first 100 percent electric car, and they're already working on preparing a brand new one.

''In parallel with the production of Vulpes, we're working on the construction of a new car that will be compete next year and, of course, will be electric again. We plan to reduce the weight, improve some structural solutions and start developing new components that we've purchased so far,'' Marasović noted.

''All of the electronics, from the battery management system (BMS), the vehicle control units (VCUs) to the safety assemblies and steering wheel electronics, have been designed and constructed by us, and that applies to most of the mechanical parts. The parts we purchased are just the screws, nuts, tires and the like,'' stated this talented group of Croatian students whose latest car reaches a truly impressive top speed of 110 km/h, and accelerates to 100 km/h in a mere three seconds.

They have already participated with this car at FS in Austria, where they are ranked among the top ten in two categories, cost and business plan, and they're now preparing for Hungary and for the unofficial competition of teams from the region, FS Alpe Adria.

To clarify, this is a European competition that places a focus on engineering skills rather than driving skills when evaluating student cars, which is not surprising since teams come from colleges that are ''creating'' future engineers. The points to be scored are firstly in regard to the static part, such as the design report, the bill of costs, the business plan and the technical inspection, and the dynamic part.

In total, they have competed in ten competitions across the European continent, and they're particularly proud of the Silverstone competition in England which was held five years ago, when the team finished 10th in the competition with as many as 97 student teams on the course. In addition to England, they also competed in Germany, Hungary and the Czech Republic.

All of their cars, as Marasović stated, must pass a technical check to ensure safety on dynamic tests, and this is judged by judges from the likes of Formula One, among others. A key part of the project, according to the FSB Racing Team, is funding, since the entire project is funded by sponsors and donors.

Joško Rogulj, Program Director at GlobalLogic, one of the partner companies, points out that the company is open to recruiting students with whom it has collaborated, as "with this project they have also gained the experience and knowledge necessary for a real business environment."

In addition to GlobalLogic, the team was also assisted by Bosch, Auto Zubak and many others, including the world-renowned Rimac Automobili, where many members go to practice and some even get jobs there after completing their further education. Matko Skutari, a team leader who came up with the idea of ​​making an electric car, is currently working as an intern at Rimac Automobili.

''Our members are often employed in auto industry companies, and many of them are now in leadership positionsm'' said Mark Marasović proudly.

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Friday, 26 July 2019

Croatia Falls on Innovativity Index: ''We'll be Two Places Lower in 2020''

As Iva Grubisa/Novac writes on the 25th of July, 2019, the Global Innovation Index (GII) for 2019 has not brought good news to Croatia.

Croatia fell three places compared to last year and took 44th place out of a total of 129 countries involved in the research conducted by Cornwell University, the INSEAD Business School and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) for twelve years.

Switzerland has retained its position of the most innovative country in the world, Sweden rose from third place to take second place, while the bronze for innovation went to the United States of America, which rose from 6th place back in 2018. Analysts also saw China stand out and continue climbing. China is now in 14th position and is the only country in the group of middle income countries that managed to find itself in the top 30.

As some of the weakest points for Croatia, the utterly needless complexity of simply starting a business has been highlighted, where Croatia comes in at a truly embarrassing 95th place, followed by the number of foreign students who decide to study in Croatia, where the country also takes 98th place, followed by the cooperation between the economy and science where it comes in even lower - at a shameful 111th place.

When compared with countries with high income per capita, among which Croatia is actually ranked, the country stands very poorly in terms of the regulatory frameworks and the rule of law, as well as the availability and use of information and telecommunication technologies.

This embarrassingly poor result is not surprising to Tajana Barančić, president of the Association of Croatian Independent Exporters of Software, because, as she herself says, Croatia does very little in that segment.

There are opportunities in EU funds for funding R&D projects, but as she says, Croatia is infamous for being slow and for further complicating matters.

"My prognosis is that we'll drop another couple of places by next year. I'll be happy if it turns out I'm wrong,'' Barančić states.

However, Croatia's results have been estimated by the authors of the research in line with realistic expectations, taking into account the degree of the country's economic development.

Among the countries of the former Yugoslavia, Slovenia is the best of them all, taking an impressive 31st place. The Slovenes are particularly well-placed in terms of Gross Domestic Research and Development Expenditure (GERD) in the business sector where they are ranked 6th. Bosnia and Herzegovina is the worst with 76th place, followed by Serbia with 57th place and Montenegro, which is up to 45th place. The biggest jump was made by North Macedonia, which has taken 59th place this year, after being in 84th place last year.

Otherwise, the analysis also points out that although world economic growth is slowing down compared to 2018, innovation is indeed gaining momentum around the globe. However, the authors warn that small investments in research and development, and the potential strengthening of protectionist policies could considerably limit international cooperation and the much needed exchange of knowledge.

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