AGH UST at the Top among Polish Universities in terms of Granted Patents

AGH University of Science and Technology came third in the ranking of entities that had been granted the largest number of patents in 2020. The comparison and summary have been prepared by the Patent Office of the Republic of Poland. Among the 70 AGH UST patents, there are solutions in the fields of energy, environmental engineering, automotive industry, and health protection.

The AGH UST Rector, Professor Jerzy Lis, emphasises:
‘Innovative solutions that originate at the AGH UST are present in almost all fields. Patents created within the walls of our university are our huge success. Our solutions are continuously outsourced by industry, companies, or highly specialised businesses in the fields of new technologies, cybersecurity, energy, medicine, or environmental engineering. Fortunately, the time of the pandemic did not hinder the work conducted for many years, which is why our scientists have successfully obtained 70 patents last year. Very often, these patents are specific tools which are commissioned by a specific company or created for a specific industrial plant. Such solutions, from the point of view of commercialisation of science, are the most interesting. They are immediately implemented in a specific place’.

One of the AGH UST solutions, which has received a patent, is a portable personal device for monitoring the composition of exhaled air. Its co-creators are Professor Konstanty Marszałek and Professor Artur Rydosz from the Faculty of Computer Science, Electronics and Telecommunications. The work on this non-invasive breath analyser, which could substitute traditional blood sugar tests with the analysis of the composition of exhaled air, has been conducted at the AGH UST for more than 15 years.

The device maker explains, ‘This biomarkers detector will operate similarly to a breathalyser, in which blood analyses were replaced by breath analyses; hence the working name of our device – Diabetomat [Diabetalyser]. The work is currently being conducted in the Biomarkers Analysis Lab. Our interdisciplinary team focuses primarily on developing modern detection systems and cutting-edge diagnostic methods, which will bring us closer to the world without needles’. One of the team’s successes is definitely the current phase of clinical trials and the establishment of a spin-off company Advanced Diagnostic Equipment, which commercialises the device for people suffering from diabetes.

Another solution, also in the field of health protection, is a way to manufacture a resorbable membrane for tissue regeneration. The author of this solution is Professor Ewa Stodolak-Zych from the Faculty of Materials Science and Ceramics. As the creator emphasises, the regenerative potential of our organisms is being recognised more and more in medicine and veterinary medicine. Yet, in many cases, an initiating agent, or at least a stimulating one, is necessary to begin the process of self-repair of a damaged tissue or organ. This solution is exactly our polymer barrier membrane, created to control the tissue regeneration process.

‘The main objective of the proposed solution was not only to develop an organism-safe polymer membrane material, but primarily the possibility of regulating its permeability and surface expansion. These properties facilitate the migration, merging, and reproduction of bone tissue cells. Our material will stop the same processes occurring in connective tissue cells. An additional advantage of the solution is the use of natural cell-growing agents which are already in the patient’s blood, more precisely, in the plasma. Furthermore, the membrane material that we developed has proven effective as a carrier of agents (growing agents) that activate the tissue regeneration process and subscribes to the idea of therapies using regenerative medicine and tissue engineering, which has been recognised by clinicians during in vivo testing, explains Professor Ewa Stodolak-Zych.

In the field of solutions used in acoustics, the Department of Mechanics and Vibroacoustics of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Robotics proposed a noteworthy solution. The acoustic system with adjustable parameters authored by Doctor Jarosław Rubacha is a cutting-edge idea that facilitates the development of mechanisms used to control the acoustics of multifunctional halls. In the age of modern interior design, using elements that allow one to dynamically change the acoustic parameters of a room is extremely important and expands the functionality of a given interior.

‘Today, many construction projects of the so-called multifunctional halls, that is, spaces that are both concert halls and auditoria, force their constructors to employ specialised solutions that will allow users to adjust the acoustics to the function required by a particular event. Our solution facilitates flexible adjustment of the sound absorption, dispersion, and deflection parameters with respect to the required function. Furthermore, it allows one to better adjust the hall to the number of performers or change the function of the hall entirely from an auditorium to a concert hall, to name but a few, explains Jarosław Rubacha, DSc.

A solution related to a way of managing waste from papermaking was presented by Professor Barbara Tora from the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Resource Management.

The author explains that ‘papermaking industrial plants generate a considerable amount of waste that mainly contains organic substances from biomass. They comprise, among other things, waste from fibres, residue from deinking processes or cellulose production. Our patent offers a way to manage this waste and use it to manufacture biomass fuel.

Fuel production uses off-heat from the papermaking process (the pulp is dried at a temperature of 95–120°C). The patented solution fulfils the principles of circular economy: it allows one to manage solid waste, off-heat, and liquid waste from the papermaking process. The solution was developed as a result of collaboration with papermaking industrial plants International Paper in Kwidzyń.