The future is here today: the latest inventions of Moscow’s technology parks

The future is here today: the latest inventions of Moscow’s technology parks
Photo: Photo by the Mayor and Moscow Government Press Service. Yevgeny Samarin
To prove this point, discusses the inventions of companies that are residents of local technology parks.

Moscow has 26 innovative technology parks and technopolis facilities uniting about 1,400 companies, many of which develop and manufacture goods, materials and technologies that fit into the realm of science fiction.

Healthcare of the future

The wildly popular Terminator film franchise features a cyborg which is, in fact, a “living” robot consisting of organic compounds, mechanical systems and artificial intelligence. This exotic mix is both repulsive and attractive because it opens up tremendous opportunities. So, how can we use all the technologies for the benefit of the human race? 

A tool as an extension of the hand

A company operating at the Skolkovo innovation hub aims to prove that complicated injuries and disabilities do not limit freedom of movement. The company develops artificial hands capable of grabbing and holding various objects and performing complex manipulations. The expression “a tool as an extension of the hand” is no longer a metaphor. A mechanical finger can now be replaced with the required tool, including a screwdriver. Moreover, the artificial limb is fitted with a Wi-Fi router and a flexible display providing ready-made online access. The artificial limb’s appearance, including its shape and colour, depends on the owner’s wishes and requirements and underscores his or her individual style. This is often a necessity, rather than a whim. For example, children adapt more quickly to beautifully made hands that make them feel more confident and allow for precise movements.   

Modern technologies have reached the level where doctors can implant missing bone sections, including those shattered as a result of serious injuries, and even joints. Experts of the Kalibr technology park design and manufacture metal and plastic commercial and medical goods using 3D printers. To be more exact, these goods feature titanium/photo-polymer alloys. They are primarily used in traumatology, orthopedics, and maxillofacial and spinal surgery. Engineers and designers work together with doctors, using the results of CT scans and MRIs as initial data. Anatomic models being created by them help patients to resume normal life. The company also provides complicated 3D surgery models to major clinics in Moscow and all over Russia.

The Moscow State University Science Park uses up-to-date laboratory equipment and IT systems for conducting complicated research and experiments in molecular biology and genomics (gene studies). One of the park’s resident companies focuses on large-scale or highly specialised research projects of academic agencies and private companies. Personal tests are another aspect of its work. The My Gene test assesses people’s pre-disposition to certain health disorders and diseases, the efficacy of medications and individual metabolism specifics on which human health and average life expectancy depend. The pre-natal DOT diagnostic test quickly and accurately assesses the risks of birth defects in human fetuses, including the Down syndrome. This non-invasive method does not jeopardise the health of pregnant women and their fetuses.

A company of the Slava technology park has developed the innovative blood-clot/dynamics diagnostic method. The method assesses various parameters of the blood-clotting (hemostasis) process, including the process’ speed and others, and predicts possible complications, such as bleeding and blood-clot formation, during surgery and treatment. By studying these nuances, doctors can prescribe individual treatment options that effectively speed up recovery and do not harm the patient in any way. The company manufactures laboratory equipment and expendable materials for conducting medical tests. But the assessment method is its main know-how. The test is conducted on a flat, rather than 3D, surface, and simulates a damaged blood vessel wall. Any mistakes are out of the question because an objective digital camera watches the blood clot formation process, with specialised software compiling statistical records and making medical predictions.

Materials of the future

Many industries, including the aerospace, shipbuilding, automotive and construction sectors, as well as sporting goods manufacturers, are interested in new reliable materials. Physicists, chemists and engineers have teamed up to develop composite materials, including polymers that are five times lighter than metals and which are five times more resilient. Composite materials are made of pre-impregnated (pre-preg) components, which are basically technical carbon-fiber fabrics treated with special binders. They make it possible to build complicated monolithic structures, such as aircraft fuselages, in no time at all.

A company at the Moskva technopolis facility is a major global pre-preg manufacturer. Its three-storey unit with an area of one quarter of a hectare (one-third of a football field) can manufacture up to 2,500 tonnes of goods annually. This is enough to build 50 modern airliners. The world has only three such companies – in Europe, the United States and China. The Russian company boasts a much vaster potential than its rivals. Its new equipment makes it possible to control the specifications of new materials, including through binder regulation. Moreover, the unit is equipped with an automatic quality control system that minimises the number of defective components.

The power industry also needs special materials, such as high-temperature super-conductors. The absence of electric resistance at certain temperatures and high electric-current density allow them to transmit much more power than conventional conductors. This makes it possible to develop cost-effective power cables, motors, generators, transducers, magnets and other new-generation equipment. This reliable and fire-resistant equipment lasts longer and minimises power losses. A company at the Slava technology park manufactures these engineering solutions. According to experts, high-temperature super-conductors will soon revolutionise the power industry, transport, healthcare and scientific research.

Less complicated but effective engineering solutions also remain popular. Every driver wants the windscreen to remain clean at all times, no matter what, because this is both safe and convenient. Drivers want flies, pollen, snow and ice to steer clear of their windscreens. These dreams will come true by using a water-repellent surface developed at the Nagatino technology park. Apart from glass, Stay Clean substances and technologies protect almost every conceivable construction and facing material, including bricks, concrete, plasterwork, ceramics, gypsum, metals, plastics, wood, cardboard and even paper. Any surface treated by these substances turns into nano-film that repels water, dust, organic compounds, oil, paints and even ultraviolet radiation. These vandal-resistant surfaces can protect public transit systems from self-styled graffiti artists and people posting illegal advertisements.


Future technologies

Experts claim that the Internet of Things ranks among the most important IT and overall industrial trends. Machine-to-machine interaction (M2M) is a crucial aspect of this project. Devices automatically exchange data without human involvement. This technology is mostly used by utility, energy and power-industry companies for registering various resources and ensuring their cost-effective spending. In an effort to address these issues, experts of the Fiztekhpark technology park develop and manufacture a wide range of wireless equipment, including water and power meters, humidity and air-  sensors, security system sensors, radio modems and base stations. In addition, they build a ramified telecommunications network for long-distance data collection and for ensuring the energy efficiency and development of smart cities. This network already includes over 100,000 different devices in 30 Russian regions and five CIS countries. Its servers handle over two million M2M messages daily.

Artificial lighting is an indispensable aspect of energy-efficiency projects. A company of the Mosgormash technology park manufactures various LED systems for utility companies, industrial facilities, schools and hospitals, retail outlets, warehouses, residential, administrative and office buildings. The company also offers automated lighting control systems making it possible to save up to 90 percent of electricity. Modern production facilities in Moscow and Azov maintain a closed-loop industrial cycle, including the development of power sources and laboratory tests. The company is listed in the Leader of Russia state federal ranking for its achievements in developing a highly important national sector.

Environmental protection concerns and the energy crisis spur the development of electric transport systems. The Kalibr technology park develops and manufactures separate components, including engines, transmissions, charging stations and control modules for this industrial sphere, as well as comprehensive engineering solutions on their basis. One enterprise implements surface and water transport projects, including the development of unmanned vehicles. The highly experienced corporate experts also offer consultative advice on establishing the electric-transport infrastructure of various communities.