The Winner of the Previous Year’s “Technorama” – Innovation Which Retains the Best Qualities of Food Products

2017-04-05 13:30

The first electronic pulse generator in Lithuania, which enables to change the structure of biological tissues, thereby preserving the quality of vegetable raw materials, is the product created by Justinas Barakauskas, a PhD student from Kaunas University of Technology (KTU), and his colleague Mindaugas Visockis. This technology could be used in the meat industry, wine making process, and also in other areas.

“By using high-voltage pulses, vitamins antioxidants, and pigments are retained, also the period of validity of a product is extended. This innovation facilitates the vegetable cutting process – reduces energy consumption and metal ions content in food, equipment longer remains efficient”, – Barakauskas states.

The invention “Electronic Pulse Generator for Effects of Biological Structures” by Justinas Barakauskas (KTU) and Mindaugas Visockis (Lithuanian Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry, Institute of Horticulture), the winners of the exhibition-contest “Technorama 2016”, was awarded the first prize – award of KTU rector.

The winners share their personal experiences and impressions on “Technorama”.

What did encourage you to participate in “Technorama”?

Justinas: I took part in “Technorama” for the first time in 2014, although I did not know much about this event. Back then I also won the highest award. That award was not only financial – participating in “Technorama” gave me an opportunity to see the other side of the University and to realise that it may only be boring for people who are not aware what pleasure can be gained by engineering creation and its results. Two years later, we had a new product and decided to share our idea with others. We also hoped that our participation could inspire at least one student to create something, or could just encourage to not hide their ideas.

Mindaugas: We knew that a device with such technological parameters had not been created in Lithuania yet, so we wanted to see whether the local market could be interested in this product. Also, we wanted our product to be objectively assessed.

How many competitors did you have in your category?

Justinas: We did not have competitors, as I have no interest in other participants being weaker than my team. If their work was evaluated better than ours, we would need to put greater efforts. This helps us to get better, so it would be more accurate to call them colleagues.

Mindaugas: At “Technorama 2016” we saw very interesting ideas which could succeed in the future. My colleague’s long-standing experience and the appropriate presentation of the idea helped us to win.

Did you have any challenges in preparation to participate in “Technorama 2016”?

Mindaugas: All students lack time and we are not an exception. We completed constructing the prototype device less than one hour before the beginning of the event. Since the device is not small, we had experienced some adventures while going to KTU Santaka Valley, and we even were a few minutes late.

Justinas: Yes, now it is funny to remember that. Indeed, there were doubts whether it was even worth participating. We did not believe in success. You are not always able to evaluate the results of your work rationally – you can overlook something that may seem unbelievable to others because of spending a lot of time creating technology or equipment. I think, an opportunity to submit your creations for a public assessment is one of the main advantages of such exhibitions-contests as “Technorama”.

How did the first place at “Technorama 2016” contribute to further development of your solution? Did you use the prize money to improve your solution?

Mindaugas: In the future, we will remember “Technorama 2016” as the event at which our first device was presented. Of course, it is always exciting to win – it adds motivation to put even more efforts and to work more. Recognition is pleasing but financial support is essential, especially for young creators. So, we always wish it to be as good as possible, and I would like to wish that for the future winners of “Technorama”.

For our part, we used the prize money to optimize our device.

How many companies or private individuals expressed an interest in your solution?

Mindaugas: Now, we gain the greatest interest of research institutions which apply or plan to apply electric pulsation methodology to their research. Results of global practices show that in the future this methodology will have the potential to replace many of technological solutions now widely applied in the food industry, biotechnology or medicine.

Did you start the commercialization of your product after “Technorama 2016”?

Justinas: From the first day when we started to create new technology, we had an objective to commercialize it. The creating process of such product requires great financial investments and therefore it is simply impossible to create an equipment and carry out a research without expecting a return. An investment capital was the reason why commercialization process lasted long but soon we will present the first commercial version of the equipment.

What would you like to advise or wish for participants of “Technorama 2017”?

Justinas: First – believe in what you do. When I took part in “Technorama” for the first time, I did not believe that I could win. When we participated for the second time, I did not believe that it could be possible to win twice in a row.

So, whatever idea you have – believe in it. Share the idea to others and listen to their advices because it is the feedack on your work and the most direct way towards success. Another important aspect – never consider cheapness as the main advantage of your product, because I am sure – someone could produce similar technology cheaper. Your objectives shall be innovativeness, technological progress and enhancement of processes’ effectiveness or quality. If you focus on these things, that could lead you towards success.

General sponsor „Lietuvos energija“.  Other sponsors: Antano Guogos paramos fondas, KTU Alumnių asociacija, „Ar žinai“, „Fab Lab Kaunas“, „Intermedix“, „Jūsų renginiai“, „Kauno mokslo ir technologijų parkas“, „Practica Capital“.