2023-06-30 publication

Small chips, big impact

With the INVENT a CHIP competition, VDE is setting its sights on the next generation of technology experts. School students have the opportunity to design their own chips with funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The goal of the competition is to get talented young people excited about future technologies and encourage them to become the engineers of tomorrow. And it’s working – as the following stories of three former INVENT a CHIP participants demonstrate.

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Shooting for the stars

Not many students can claim to have sent a research project to the International Space Station (ISS) – but 25-year-old Fanny Rößler from Munich can. Her research equipment has now landed back on Earth, and the data is currently being analyzed. If everything goes well, we will soon know more about how human cells change in zero-gravity conditions. We may even learn more about how this type of experiment – in which electrical engineering plays a none too insignificant role – could change space exploration as a whole. The project was made possible by a student competition run by the German Aerospace Center (DLR). And this wasn’t the first competition that Rößler took part in...

You can read more about Fanny Rößler’s participation in INVENT a CHIP and her path to the stars online:

Research on the ISS


25-year-old Fanny Rößler is a bioinformatics student and is currently conducting research in space.In 2015, she took part in INVENT a CHIP (image right).

| Privat (l.), INVENT a CHIP (r.)
2023-06-30 publication

First came INVENT a CHIP, then victory in another competition for university students: Fanny Rößler is quite literally reaching for the stars.

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Neural networks

Dr. Kai-Uwe Demasius is the founder of the startup SEMRON. Together with his nine-person team, the 32-year-old develops AI microchips that can both save data and solve computational tasks and are energy-efficient to boot. The company is currently working on a system prototype that will be capable of implementing real neural networks. Its young founder, who studied at Technische Universität Dresden and completed his doctorate at the Max Planck Institute in Halle, can already look back on an impressive career as a chip inventor. His first chip, which he designed at the age of 18, earned him a special prize for industry-oriented research in the 2009 round of INVENT a CHIP. “Participating in and winning the competition was a real motivation boost for me back then,” says Demasius.

To find out why Kai-Uwe Demasius didn’t even consider any other course of study after INVENT a CHIP, check out this link:

All about the chips


Dr. Kai-Uwe Demasius is a chip developer and entrepreneur He took part in INVENT a CHIP 14 years ago (image right).

| Christian Thiel/VDE (l.), Hannibal/VDE (r.)
2023-06-30 publication

14 years ago, Dr. Kai-Uwe Demasius won an “INVENT a CHIP” award, which would prove to be the initial spark for his eventual career. Today, he develops energy-efficient AI chips at his own startup.

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Enabling the transition

If the share of renewables in its energy mix is to increase, Germany is going to need more large electrolysis plants for seasonal energy compensation. However, there are still a number of problems hindering the wide-scale expansion of such capacity by standing in the way of scaling and sustainability – for instance, the use of rare metals as catalysts and PFAS in membranes. Leonhard Probst is investigating ways to dispense with the latter in his doctoral thesis. His passion for such topics didn’t simply develop overnight, however. Even as a teenager, he was interested in renewable energy and energy storage systems. In 2009, he even won an INVENT a CHIP award with his lithium equalizer. “That experience had a real impact on my decision to study electrical engineering,” says Probst.

You can read about how Leonhard Probst found his way to his specialist field (where he also does volunteer work) online:

A forward-thinking scientist


Leonhard Probst is a research fellow at Fraunhofer ISE. He won an INVENT a CHIP award in 2009 at the age of 17 (image right).

| Privat (l.), INVENT a CHIP (r.)
2023-06-30 publication

The energy transition will only be possible with the help of engineers who clear the obstacles standing in the way. Leonard Probst anticipated this back in 2009, when he won the INVENT a CHIP competition.

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