Saturday, June 13, 2015

European Inventor Awards – The 2015 Trophy

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Since the February kick-off for the 2015 EPO awards…you are probably wondering what the 2015 EPO awards trophy looks like! 

The EPO chose the sail both as a symbol that powers innovation (with or without an English pun…) and as the shape of the EPO Awards trophy. Additionally every year, the industrial process of manufacturing the sail trophy changes, highlighting one aspect or another of the hosting country, such as a particular patented industrial process and/or material.

This year, in Paris, is no exception. The mold of the trophy was manufactured using 3D stereolithography, a 3D printing process invented by Charles W. Hull [USA], winner of the 2014 European Patent Award in the non-European country category, and dubbed “the father of 3D printing”. The 2015 award displays very elaborate lattice-work, reminiscent of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, that can only be rendered with 3D printing. After the mold was fabricated using 3D printing, it was cast in bronze, and intended to be treasured as a work of art.  

So indeed, this year’s sail trophy is very special on more counts that one...
-  Gustave Eiffel, the eponymous engineer and architect of the Eiffel Tower, in 1889, was himself a successful inventor and entrepreneur, providing France with its most well known and enduring landmark, among many additional civil engineering works. 
- The 3D stereolithographic industrial process pioneered by Charles W. Hull, selected to manufacture the trophy's mold is largely understood as the process that will shape the next (fourth) industrial revolution (Anderson, 2014). 
- And finally, as the award is first printed as a mold, and then cast in bronze, with such elaborate lattice-work that can only be produced with 3D printing, this process is also very reminiscent of the steps invoked in the artistic process of bronze sculpting, and in particular the revolution in the object of sculptures brought about by the French sculptor Auguste Rodin, contemporary to Gustave Eiffel.

That’s quite a bit of wonderful synergy packed into this year’s 2015 EPO award sail trophy!

This story is featured in the short EPO video below..!

Anderson, C. (2014) Makers: The new Industrial Revolution. New York, NY: Crown Business books.
The European Inventor Award 2015 Trophy
INPI - La Tour Eiffel
13 things you never knew about the Eiffel Tower
Charles Hull
Herrmann, F (2015) Tonight, the OSCARS! In June, the EPO Awards! – Patents on the
soles of your shoes. February 22, 2015.
Auguste Rodin

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