a start The winner of the 2021 Web Summit wants to end waste in the textile industry with a system of cameras, lights and algorithms that monitor the manufacturing process for defects.
a smartex It is the first Portuguese company to win the annual Web Summit competition since the tech summit moved to Lisbon in 2016. The California-based project uses computer vision and artificial intelligence to monitor the textile manufacturing process. “We want to solve one of the biggest problems in the textile industry, which is the production of textile waste,” Antonio Rocha explained on stage. He stressed that “textile waste accounts for 10% of the production of the textile industry, which is the second most polluting industry in the world.”
Smartex’s cameras and micro-sensors are installed inside machines in factories and lock the system when a defect is detected. Although the current focus is on the textile industry, Antonio Rocha explained that the goal is to expand the system to detect defects in the plastics and paper industry.
The company, incubated at UPTEC, Porto University of Science and Technology, has offices in Porto, Shenzhen (China) and San Francisco (USA). In this version of the web top compete against 75 others Startups. The other two finalists in the competition are LiSA (short for Live Shopping Assistant), A start A German company that wants to improve interaction between customers and brands Online With purchases via broadcast live; and solar okra, a start An Australian based in Cambodia wants to solve the problem of electricity shortages in developing countries.
Although Smartex was the jury’s choice, Okra Solar was the audience favorite, receiving 46% of the audience’s vote (Smartex got 43%). The Australian startup, based in Cambodia, has developed a system to connect solar panels and batteries in order to create “mini-grids of solar panels” that accumulate energy produced in several homes to share with each other. The goal is to solve the problem of lack of electricity in remote areas.
“There are more than 800 million people around the world who still do not have access to electricity,” Afnan Hanan, co-founder of Okra Solar, explained. “This can be fixed through a decentralized electricity system.” Since the system works with solar panels, the technology must also reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Customers are power grid infrastructures capable of reaching more people, at cheaper rates, with okra. “We want to empower people,” Hanan said.
The fact that two crowd-favorite startups are focused on a more sustainable planet was noteworthy in Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa’s closing speech. The President of the Republic took this opportunity to speak about the importance of working towards a more sustainable future: “We have to fight for climate action. We have to fight for the digital revolution. On the stage, the President of the Republic stressed, “It is up to you, not the President, the Prime Minister, or Parliament, but the youth who make the difference.” “The web top is about people. It is not about digital. Digital is a tool.”
This is not the first year with a Portuguese winner in the Conkorso de Startups From the top of technology. In 2014, when the Web Summit was still being held in Dublin, Ireland, it won the code analysis company, code.
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