The ETH spin-off Scewo has developed a stair climbing wheelchair that will be available in stores from the end of 2019. The spin-off was supported by the Swiss software company AdNovum, which also supports young talents at ETH Zurich through the Pioneer Fellowship program.
- (Image: Scewo)
The ETH spin-off Scewo has developed a wheelchair that can balance itself and that can climb stairs. The Swiss software company AdNovum supported the team of graduates from ETH Zurich and the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) in implementing a proof of concept (PoC) for the mobile app that controls the wheelchair. This direct support of a spin-off in form of services was provided along with AdNovum's financial contribution to the Pioneer Fellowship program of ETH Zurich. The fellowship program, which AdNovum is supporting since 2014, enables young researchers to develop their ideas and prototypes into a marketable product.
From the idea to the market readiness
The development of the wheelchair Scewo Bro began in 2014 with a cardboard model, with which Scewo co-founder Bernhard Winter and his team colleagues, ten students of the ETH and the ZHdK, won an innovation competition at ETH. The first functional prototype Scalevo was developed in 2015. Its successor Scewo was the first model to be equipped with software to control it. Since September 2018, Scewo Bro is ready as a marketable version. At the end of 2019, the first units are to be delivered.
Software as differentiating factor
Thanks to the Pioneer Fellowship program, the Scewo team was able to use the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Lab (ieLab) of ETH Zurich while receiving support from AdNovum’s experts. They accompanied and advised Scewo in the development of the mobile app with regard to architecture, operation, user experience and security. They examined the existing architecture and identified cloud-based solutions for operational aspects such as device management and monitoring, which were also integrated into the Android app as part of a PoC. Like the hardware, the wheelchair's software must meet the highest requirements – the user must be able to rely a 100% on the device. The control software is the central differentiating feature of Scewo Bro. It can be better protected against imitators than the hardware.
Inspiration for both sides
Bernhard Winter, co-founder and CEO of Scewo: «AdNovum was a great help to us. We were able to benefit greatly from the broad knowledge of the specialists in the area of secure cloud communication and UX design. It’s been an excellent support.»
Martin Vögeli, Expert Software Architect at AdNovum, who advised the Scewo team together with Expert Software Engineer Hanspeter Lussi: «The cooperation and discussions with the Scewo team, which is working hard and with plenty of enthusiasm on their product, were inspiring for both sides – a lot of drive and at the same time a shared interest in the challenges of digitalization.»
Kornel Wassmer, AdNovum Chief Development Officer, who oversees AdNovum's commitment to the Pioneer Fellowship program: «We supported Scewo because both the concept and the prototype convinced us. The cooperation was very successful and beneficial to both sides. We have invested our resources and expertise well».
Scewo AG was founded in 2017 by Bernhard Winter, Pascal Buholzer and Thomas Gemperle. The ETH spin-off was created by the student project «Scalevo». In September 2014, a team of ten ETH and ZhdK students started with the aim of developing a stair climbing and self-balancing wheelchair. Four years and two prototypes later, Scewo presented its first purchasable model: Scewo Bro. The electric wheelchair is self-balancing on two wheels, can climb stairs and has a seat that can be adjusted in many ways. Scewo has already received several awards for its work, such as the «ZKB Pionierpreis 2018», the «Innovationspreis» by Cosanum AG, the «Stellenschafferpreis» by the city of Winterthur and most recently the «iF DESIGN AWARD 2019», the «Red Dot Award Product Design 2019 Best of the Best» and the «IDEE-SUISSE Innovationspreis 2019». Today, the team consists of 11 members.
Generous support from individuals, foundations and companies enables bold research and teaching projects that would not otherwise be possible. Together with them, the ETH Foundation is nurturing outstanding talent and positioning Switzerland as a centre of knowledge, in a quest to pioneer effective solutions to global challenges.
Thanks to the support of donors and funding partners, the ETH Foundation can support young researchers at ETH Zurich. With the Pioneer Fellowship program, up to 15 individuals and teams of two are supported each year with seed capital and a mentoring program along the way to their own company. The ETH aims to expand the program to 20 fellowships.
The Swiss software company AdNovum offers its customers comprehensive support in the fast and secure digitalisation of existing business processes and the implementation of new business ideas from consulting and conception to implementation and operation. With the products of the NEVIS Security Suite, AdNovum is market leader for identity and access management in Switzerland. AdNovum's customer base includes renowned companies from the finance, insurance, telecommunications, manufacturing and logistics industry as well as several federal offices and cantons.
Founded in 1988, AdNovum today employs around 600 staff at its headquarters in Zurich and offices in Bern, Lausanne, Budapest, Lisbon, Munich, Ho Chi Minh City and Singapore.
www.nevis-security.ch / www.nevis-security.de
Twitter: @AdNovum / @NevisSecSuite
Media contact AdNovum
AdNovum Informatik AG
Roentgenstrasse 22, 8005 Zurich
Phone +41 (0)44 272 61 11
Media contact Scewo
Technoparkstrasse 2, 8406 Winterthur
Phone +41 (0)44 500 87 45
Media contact ETH Foundation
ETH Zurich Foundation
Stéphanie Tobler Mucznik
Weinbergstrasse 29, 8006 Zurich
Phone +41 (0)44 633 69 13