The first person to write coding for a computer was a British mathematician and a woman: Ada Lovelace. Nowadays, the IT-world is dominated by men. Melanie Kovacs, founder of the Swiss Coding Academy Master21, wanted to do something about it. Last year she organized the first female coding week in Switzerland. CNNMoney Switzerland's Tanya König attended the very first day of the course.
For 15 years, Neil Harbisson has lived with an antenna implanted into his skull, making him the world’s first officially recognized cyborg. “It’s to extend my perception of reality and to merge with technology,” he says. Harbisson explains that his extra senses set him apart as an artist. We caught up with him on a recent trip to Zurich to discuss the relationship between humans and technology and to find out how society treats those who consider themselves trans-species.
Travel to Mars is coming sooner than we think, says Christopher Mason, associate professor at Weill Cornell Medicine. Mason worked on NASA’s twin study to analyze the impact of space travel on human DNA and apply what was learned here on Earth. Ana Maria Montero finds out how Mason is using DNA to improve lives and his work with ETH and the University of Zurich to map the DNA of Swiss cities.
Nomoko is creating the first-ever 3-D mirror image of the world, a digital twin of our universe. CEO and co-founder Nilson Kufus says it’s about connecting the digital and physical worlds. The Zurich-based start-up just received a grant of CHF 2.5 million from the EU’s Horizon 2020 program and is raising 30 million more in Europe and the U.S. But Kufus has some strong words about Switzerland, and Europe overall, when it comes to capitalizing on the potential of the tech and innovation sector.
Every single cancer tumor is unique. “How it develops is different and how it needs to be treated is different,” says Ata Tuna Ciftlik, co-founder and CEO of Lunaphore Technologies. The EPFL start-up makes personalized cancer treatment possible with LabSat, which takes tissue analysis to the next level. Founded in 2014, Lunaphore just raised more than CHF 5 million and has eyes on the booming medtech market in China.
As IBM and Google compete to dominate quantum computing, many wonder what this growing field has to offer the world. According to James Wootton, researcher at IBM Research in Zurich, quantum computing can solve science and business problems that regular computing cannot. The IBM Q Network is working with Fortune 500 companies to advance the field, and last month IBM announced the first IBM Quantum Computation Center in New York.
There are many electric ferries being rolled out, but none are quite like Ellen. Using only clean energy generated from wind turbines, the e-ferry is funded by the European Commission and powered by lithium-ion batteries from Swiss firm Leclanché. CNNMoney Switzerland was invited on board the record-breaking vessel in Denmark for an exclusive look at its design and to talk about how Ellen could shape the future of electric transport.
Implementing 5G could push Switzerland past its allowed limit for radio waves. “You need ten times more antennas, ten times more power than with 4G,” says Suat Topsu, inventor and CEO of Erganeo. His solution is a new version of LiFi, a technology that uses LED light to transmit data safely, which may significantly reduce the number of antennas needed for 5G.
After the 2008 financial crisis, the shipping industry took a hard hit. SkySails CEO Stephan Wrage saw an opportunity for his special technology: using massive kites to propel ships and produce electrical power. “We’re sold out for next year, for the first time ever,” he says. Wrage goes on to explain why competition makes him happy and why Switzerland, which has said “no” many times, could really benefit from their technology.
Swissnex India sees the rise of India’s medtech sector as potentially advantageous to Swiss start-ups. But the relationship could be mutually beneficial, says Krishnaswamy VijayRaghavan, principal scientific adviser to India’s government: “There’s a substantial fire in the belly in India, and there’s a substantial capability in Switzerland.”
Access to the EU and the free movement of people are high on the priority list for the outgoing CEO of SBB, Andreas Meyer. When it comes to internal competition, however, he’s “absolutely convinced” that it doesn’t help consumers. His bets for the future are more on digitalization of the so-called mobility chains.
From trains to buses to e-scooters, SBB and Lucerne-based Axon Vibe explain how they plan to integrate all forms of Swiss mobility under one app. While their new platform integrates Google Maps, Axon Vibe insists that it will treat data privacy in a “totally different way.” And it hopes this app will be a hit in foreign markets, too.
The World Economic Forum has called bioplastic one of the top 10 emerging technologies of 2019. Swiss start-up Bloom Biorenewables wants to replace petroleum—one of the key elements of plastic—with a greener, more sustainable option. Co-founders Remy Buser and Florent Héroguel are combining chemistry with technology to find a petroleum alternative that will put a dent in our carbon footprint.