Artificial Intelligence takes the fight to skin cancer

Dutch mobile health startup SkinVision has revealed its new algorithm that can detect most common forms of deadly skin cancer. Previously focused on detecting melanoma skin cancer, the app can now identify Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) and Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) too, the first app ever to do that.

Across the world, more than one billion people are at risk of developing skin cancer at some point in their lives. Helping them prepare is a selected group of dermatologists. For example 10,000 in the US and only 550 in the UK. SkinVision’s new algorithm will help provide people with a means to assess moles for risk indication on demand to save time and lives. Users can download the app for free and can perform a number of free assessments as well.

There is a seamless connection between users and their doctors to monitor skin lesions with a personal archive that can be used as reference during visits, saving time and improving efficiency for dermatologists.

“Our mission is to empower people to early detect skin cancer, which is highly important for possible treatment options,” says SkinVision founder and CEO Erik de Heus. “We aim to save 250,000 lives in the next decade.”

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that forms in the cells responsible for skin pigmentation, known as melanocytes. Although it is less common than other forms of skin cancer, it is much more aggressive. In the United States alone, melanoma accounts for more than, 10,000 of the 13,000 deaths caused by skin cancer each year. Research shows that 5,4 million non-melanoma skin cancer cases are identified every year in the US.


Do you have an innovative project with a focus on technology transfer between HEALTH and ICT, AeroSpace, Agri-Food sectors?

ACTTiVAte offers direct funding to innovative SME projects.


Building the European Data Economy

The sky is the limit: combining big data and space

The digital revolution, combined with decreasing costs of manufacturing and launching satellites, means space is becoming a powerful tool for collecting data at global and local scales.

The everyday life of Europeans has already become unthinkable without reliable satellites orbiting in space, as people across the continent make use of satellite positioning, navigation and timing services provided by Europe’s Galileo satellites. The future potential is huge as it coincides with other developments for which navigation is a key enabler, such as connected vehicles, automated driving, drones, etc.

Building the European Data Economy

Data as the new driver of productivity, jobs and innovation

The economic benefits of using big data are underscored in numerous studies. Firms that adopt data-driven decision-making have been found to have a 5-6% higher output and productivity.

Companies can use big data analytics to help them develop new products and services, to re-engineer their business processes and better manage their supply chains, to strengthen fraud detection, to improve security and risk management and to gain clearer insights into customer needs.

Latest studies at EU level estimate that 100 000 new data-related jobs will be created in Europe by 2020,12 while the introduction of big data in the top 100 EU manufacturers alone could lead to savings worth 425 billion euro, representing a GDP increase of 206 billion euro or 1.9% over the same period.13 Another study finds that big data analytics solutions have the potential to unlock an additional 270 billion euro in economic benefits for the UK over the period 2015-2020.14 This is equivalent to an average of 2.0% of UK GDP per year.

There are thus huge opportunities to be reaped from ‘upgrading’ Europe’s traditional industries to take full advantage of the digital transition.

Many companies have already understood the potential benefits of implementing data-driven decision-making, and are investing rapidly in big data technologies and services. The global market for big data-related hardware, software and professional services (such as data-centre computing, networking, storage, information management or analytics) is booming and is forecast to reach 43.7 billion euro by 2019 – ten times more than in 2010.

Worldwide big data technology and services forecast, billion euro. Source: International Data Corporation Digital University Study

Worldwide big data technology and services forecast, billion euro. Source: International Data Corporation Digital University Study


Do you have an innovative project with a focus on technology transfer between AeroSpace, Agri-food, Health, ICT sectors?

ACTTiVAte offers direct funding to innovative SME projects.

The overall concept of the ACTTiVAte project is to support innovation in SMEs and foster the smart reindustrialization of Europe. This will be achieved by enabling the emergence of new cross-border and cross-sectoral value chains resulting from the translation of advanced technologies among selected sectors (AeroSpace, Agri-Food, Health, ICT ) with strong synergies.

Wearable sensors can tell when you are getting sick

New research from Stanford shows that fitness monitors and other wearable biosensors can tell when an individual’s heart rate, skin temperature and other measures are abnormal, suggesting possible illness.

Geneticist Michael Snyder was wearing seven biosensors collecting data about his health when he noticed changes in his heart rate and oxygen level during a flight. When he later developed a fever, he suspected he had been infected with Lyme disease. Subsequent tests confirmed his suspicion.

Wearable sensors that monitor heart rate, activity, skin temperature and other variables can reveal a lot about what is going on inside a person, including the onset of infection, inflammation and even insulin resistance, according to a study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

An important component of the ongoing study is to establish a range of normal, or baseline, values for each person in the study and when they are ill. “We want to study people at an individual level,” said Michael Snyder, PhD, professor and chair of genetics.

Snyder is the senior author of the study, which was published online Jan. 12 in PLOS Biology. Postdoctoral scholars Xiao Li, PhD, and Jessilyn Dunn, PhD, and software engineer Denis Salins share lead authorship.

Altogether, the team collected nearly 2 billion measurements from 60 people, including continuous data from each participant’s wearable biosensor devices and periodic data from laboratory tests of their blood chemistry, gene expression and other measures. Participants wore between one and seven commercially available activity monitors and other monitors that collected more than 250,000 measurements a day. The team collected data on weight; heart rate; oxygen in the blood; skin temperature; activity, including sleep, steps, walking, biking and running; calories expended; acceleration; and even exposure to gamma rays and X-rays.

“I was very impressed with all the data that was collected,” said Eric Topol, MD, professor of genomics at the Scripps Research Institute, who was not involved in the study. “There’s a lot here — a lot of sensors and a lot of different data on each person.”

The study demonstrated that, given a baseline range of values for each person, it is possible to monitor deviations from normal and associate those deviations with environmental conditions, illness or other factors that affect health. Distinctive patterns of deviation from normal seem to correlate with particular health problems. Algorithms designed to pick up on these patterns of change could potentially contribute to clinical diagnostics and research.

The future of wearable devices

During a visit to the doctor, patients normally have their blood pressure and body temperature measured, but such data is typically collected only every year or two and often ignored unless the results are outside of normal range for entire populations. But biomedical researchers envisage a future in which human health is monitored continuously.

“We have more sensors on our cars than we have on human beings,” said Snyder. In the future, he said, he expects the situation will be reversed and people will have more sensors than cars do. Already, consumers have purchased millions of wearable devices, including more than 50 million smart watches and 20 million other fitness monitors. Most monitors are used to track activity, but they could easily be adjusted to more directly track health measures, Snyder said.

With a precision health approach, every person could know his or her normal baseline for dozens of measures. Automatic data analysis could spot patterns of outlier data points and flag the onset of ill health, providing an opportunity for intervention, prevention or cure.


Do you have an innovative project with a focus on technology transfer between HEALTH and AeroSpace, Agri-Food, ICT sectors?

ACTTiVAte offers direct funding to innovative SME projects.



AgriFood Monitor 2016

How do citizens value agri-food sector? Report by Wageningen Economic Research.

This report presents the results of a public opinion survey of the agri-food sector and its subsectors and compares the results of this year’s survey with 2012 and 2014. It also discusses the factors that influence public opinion on this sector and whether these factors have remained stable over time.

Dutch citizens are overwhelmingly positive about the agrifood sector. This is evident from the Agrifood Monitor 2016 conducted by Wageningen Economic Research commissioned by the Top Sector Agriculture & Food. The overall sector scores a sufficient: a 5 on a scale of 7. Within its horticulture, agriculture and supermarkets the highest rated subsectors.

Involvement (the extent to which a citizen considers a sector as relevant to himself) in 2016, the most decisive for the social recognition, followed by the reputation of the sector. In 2014, this was the other way around. Besides involvement and reputation are these emotions, subjective knowledge and confidence in cooperation between links in the chain. When shopping choice taste and affordability for years more important than sustainability (environment, animal welfare). To play health and food safety an increasingly important role.

Read all the details in the Agrifood Monitor 2016.


Precision agriculture and the future of farming in Europe

Precision agriculture is the use of technology to improve the ratio between agricultural output (usually food) and agricultural input (land, energy, water, fertilisers, pesticides, etc.). It consists of using sensors to identify precisely (in space or time) the needs of crops or livestock, and then intervening in a targeted way to maximise the productivity of each plant and animal, whilst minimising waste of resources.

These technologies will need to play a key role in the further development of agriculture in the coming decades. To feed the world in 2050, global agricultural total factor productivity (TFP)– a comparison of total inputs and outputs – has to grow by an average rate of at least 1.8 % per year. By comparison, TFP in the EU only grew by an average of 0.9 % per year between 2005 and 2014.

Another promise of Precision Agriculture is reducing the agricultural sector’s negative impact on the environment. According to Eurostat, agriculture is responsible for about 10 % of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to this, there are big concerns about the overuse of fertilisers and pesticides, as well as soil erosion. Precision Agriculture could help a great deal in addressing these problems.


Do you have an innovative project with a focus on technology transfer between Agri-Food and AeroSpace, Health, ICT sectors?

ACTTiVAte offers direct funding to innovative SME projects. The ACTTiVAte project will start publishing calls for proposals in April 2017.


Use Galileo today!

With last month’s Declaration of Galileo Initial Services, anyone with a mass-market device containing a Galileo-enabled chipset, such as a smartphone or a vehicle navigation device, can be guided using the positioning, navigation and timing information provided by Galileo’s global satellite constellation.

Market ready

The strong cooperation between the European GNSS Agency (GSA) and receiver industry has made it possible for Galileo to arrive onto the market even before the declaration of Initial Services. For example, Broadcom and Qualcomm, the market leaders for global smartphone chips supply, had already built Galileo into their products. As a result, many smartphones coming onto the market this year will arrive Galileo-ready.

“Accurate, reliable and rapid position location is an important part of the mobile experience,” says Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. Senior Vice President Product Management Alex Katouzian. Qualcomm Technologies is helping to improve consumers’ experiences with location-based services by adding Galileo support to our IZat location platform and deploying it broadly across our modem and application processor portfolios.”

Over the course of the past several years and in anticipation of Galileo Initial Services, such key chipset manufacturers as Intel, Mediatek, u-blox and STM have all announced Galileo-ready chips. Overall, more than 95% of the global satellite navigation supply market produce Galileo-ready chips.

Road and surveying now, aviation and maritime soon

Currently, most Galileo-enabled chipsets and receivers are found in the automotive, consumer, agriculture and surveying sectors. For example, in the road sector, satellites help with vehicle navigation and fleet management. “Today, Galileo ensures the accuracy of the satellite signals these services depend on and, in the near future, Galileo will help autonomous driving and connected vehicles,” says GSA Head of Market Development Gian Gherardo Calini.

In the high-precision market, all leading receiver developers have integrated Galileo into their products, including Trimble, Leica Geosystems, Javad, TopCon, Septentrio and NovAtel. “The availability of the first three Galileo services validates our confidence that Europe is ready to join the world’s operators of global navigation satellite systems,” says NovAtel President and CEO Michael Ritter. “NovAtel’s high precision GNSS receivers, antennas and certified ground-reference station receivers have supported Galileo signals in anticipation of the complete constellation.”

Galileo will soon be providing support to location based operations in all other market segments. For example, receivers for Unmanned Autonomous Systems (UAS) are already capable of tracking the Galileo signal. On the maritime side, Galileo is helping to ensure safer navigation on the water, and has been recognised by the International Maritime Organisation as part of its Worldwide Radio Navigation System.

“The GSA is excited to continue its close cooperation with chipset and receiver manufacturers in the coming years as we further optimise Galileo performance and maximise user benefits,” says Calini. Along these lines, the 2017 Annual Receiver Workshop is scheduled for March 21 at GSA headquarters in Prague. This regular event is an excellent opportunity for the GNSS receiver community to learn the latest about the Galileo programme.

First Galileo smartphones

With Galileo, the positioning information provided by smartphones is more accurate and reliable – particularly in urban environments where narrow streets and tall buildings often block satellite signals and limit the usefulness of many mobile services. One of the first device manufacturers to take advantage of the increased accuracy and reliability that Galileo provides is BQ, the Spanish technology company that launched the first European-designed Galileo smartphone to hit the market.

“It is a great privilege for BQ to be one of the first in the world to offer Galileo in our devices,” says BQ Assistant General Manager Rodrigo del Prado. “This is a clear demonstration of Europe’s robust technological capabilities.”

Other smartphone manufacturers are also preparing to activate Galileo capability on their devices. In fact, just prior to the Declaration of Initial Services, the Huawei Mate 9 added Galileo support to the phone’s technical specifications.

Up-to-date info on using Galileo

To keep users up-to-date with detailed information on all available Galileo-compatible products, the GSA launched From this dedicated website users can easily browse the list of currently available Galileo products and devices and search for devices based on user segment.



Space is the new technological revolution and it is changing the way we live

ACTTiVAte can support the use of satellite technology in other sectors with its SME financing program to be launched in April 2017.

These are some examples of AeroSpace technology translation to Agri-Food and Health sectors:
  • light materials and structures for transport
  • portable Auxiliary Power Units (APUs)
  • advanced sensing
  • Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPASs).

Light materials and structures for transports can very much reduce energy consumption in transports and/or heavy-duty machinery. Lightweight materials allow for energy saving when applied into the design and manufacturing of the vehicles and mobile devices. Both the novel materials per se and their advanced design and manufacturing methodologies will be transferred, thus up-scaling the potential benefits to several industries within the destination sector.

Portable Auxiliary Power Units (APUs) are greatly desired for all kind of remote or autonomous applications. Large agriculture fields are prone for isolation and lack of energy access. Reliable, cost-effective APU may support: communications, data acquisition systems, vehicles autonomy, backup energy sources, etc. Different energy storage methods may be sought, such as solar-to-battery, hydrogen fuel cells, compressed gas, etc. Aerospace has been delivering and improving successful solutions for these issues for decades now.

Advances in Sensing technologies in aerospace have promoted each time smaller sensors and interrogation systems for reliable measurements and acquisition of multi-type data for health monitoring. Some of the nearly non-invasive sensors (optical fibres, piezoresistive, dielectric, etc) may be used complimentarily for sensing of biological structures (plants, ecosystems, etc.) where bio-compatibility is highly governed by the invasive level of the interacting technologies.

Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems are increasingly used for wide variety of applications. Recent advances in autonomy, robustness and mission control, provide the basis for their implementation into cos-effective surveillance. This can be implemented for (1) wild life monitoring/protection, (2) image collection, (3) chemicals spreading, (4) fire inspection, (5) security, etc.

Health sector can incorporate several aerospace technologies, among which we will focus on sensing, light-weighted and high-strength and conductive materials.

Sensors developed in the aerospace industry enable the creation of more sensitive biosensors for the medical care industry. Weight saving is a main driver in aerospace industry.

Regarding conductive materials: Attributing primary function (e.g., structural) and secondary functions (e.g., insulation, conductivity, energy storage, etc.) to a material system enhances its utility and decreases overall costs of applications. In the case of health, such multi-functionality may be sought as agent for reducing size of devices and equipment, which is critical for human-invasive applications and treatments. Some Advanced Field Non-Destructive Inspection techniques will be also envisaged for profitable translation.