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Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin at the SLF

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Researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich), the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI), the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa), the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag) and the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL) presented "Innovations from Switzerland for Switzerland" to some 60 politicians, scientists and economic players.

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Image 1: Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin, Head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER) and thus in charge of all the institutions in the ETH Domain (ETH Zurich, EPFL, PSI, Empa, Eawag and WSL), welcomed the visiting politicians, scientists and officials to the SLF. Every Swiss franc invested in the ETH Domain generates more than five times the value in Switzerland, he explained, maintaining that the ETH Domain creates 100,000 jobs and adds value totalling 13 billion Swiss francs. Foto: Markus Mallaun, Mallaun Photography
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Image 2: ETH Zurich presented the Cubli, a robotic cube that can move independently and even balance in an actually unstable position. The developments that have gone into it could one day be used to enable autonomous movement in very inhospitable environments, for example on an asteroid, or to stabilise satellites.. Foto: Markus Mallaun, Mallaun Photography
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Image 3: Today's drone consoles make controlling them not very intuitive and also require the use of both hands. EPFL's 'Fly Jacket' enables easy body-controlled steering, leaving the pilot's hands free for, say, documenting where people are waiting to be rescued after a natural disaster. Foto: Markus Mallaun, Mallaun Photography
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Image 4: Switzerland's Energy Strategy 2050 will make renewable energies such as solar and wind power increasingly important. The PSI demonstrated potential forms of energy storage in the field of renewable energies. Since renewable energy is not always available when needed, options for storing energy – whether for a few hours or seasonally – are extremely important. Foto: Markus Mallaun, Mallaun Photography
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Image 5: Timber is a renewable, sustainable raw material available in Switzerland that in principle is under-utilised. Empa showed how native sycamore timber can be used to produce so-called 'Swiss ebony', replacing tropical wood in violin making. This not only prevents overexploitation in the tropics, but also substantially increases the value of the Swiss wood. Foto: Markus Mallaun, Mallaun Photography
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Image 6: The number and types of plankton – tiny swimming creatures and algae – show whether or not a body of water is healthy. Eawag has developed an underwater microscope that not only automatically takes pictures of plankton, but also uses artificial intelligence to independently classify these animals and algae, thereby saving time-consuming manual labour. Foto: Markus Mallaun, Mallaun Photography
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Image 7: Knowing which areas might be prone to avalanches, rockfalls or debris flows and what destructive power they could generate is key to protecting settlements and transport routes in mountainous regions from natural hazards. The WSL showed RAMMS, the computer simulation program it has developed for engineers and safety managers to use in this connection. Foto: Markus Mallaun, Mallaun Photography
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Image 8: From left to right: Thierry Strässle (PSI Director ad interim); Joël Mesot (President of ETH Zurich); Jürg Schweizer (Head of SLF); Janet Hering (Director of Eawag); Koni Steffen (Director of WSL); Guy Parmelin (Federal Councillor, Head of EAER); Gian-Luca Bona (Director of Empa); Martin Vetterli (President of EPFL); Fritz Schiesser (President of the ETH Board). Foto: Markus Mallaun, Mallaun Photography