Two startups from Thessaloniki are about to corner the US market

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Two startups from Thessaloniki, which have been distinguished at the MIT Enterprise Forum Greece competition, have expanded to the US. The two startups, Twiddle and AidPlex, are based in Thessaloniki, where their research activity will remain, even if their headquarters are moved to the US for business-related reasons. Each company’s course of action was presented at the ‘’MITEF Greece Startup Competition 2020’’ which was co-organized by the MIT Enterprise Forum Greece and the Alexander Innovation Zone.




Twiddle was founded in October and uses Artificial Intelligence to recommend and position the best matching sound effects and music in videos. Content creation, e.g. video, has gained tremendous momentum and is expected to grow even further, while the number of professional editors and amateur vloggers, youtubers, and influencers on social media is constantly increasing. Choosing the right sound requires time for research, expertise, knowledge and, of course, money. Twiddle responds to these needs by using Artificial Intelligence to read the video, recommend and position the best matching sound effects and music. A mobile application has already been created for the time being, while the studio version which will be able to run on a PC and target mainly professionals will be released in the near future.





AidPlex aims to provide the best therapy experience and make it accessible to everyone. The company first started dealing with fractures. Its founders set themselves a challenge: to reduce the time needed for a splint to be fully set from 30 minutes to 3 minutes. And they did it by creating their own thermoplastic splint that heats up and adapts to the musculoskeletal characteristics of the individual to be ready for use. Aid Plex delivers high quality treatment as the splint is waterproof and can be reused. The first splints were made with 3D printing to make the necessary changes, while the following ones with laser cutting. The next product the company is making is a scoliosis brace that helps children suffering from this problem fight it.


The Innovation ecosystem ‘’One Stop Liaison Office’’ of Central Macedonia Region in Thessaloniki

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The Region of Central Macedonia presents the Innovation Ecosystem ‘’One Stop Liaison Office’’ to businesses participating in a series of actions to foster innovative entrepreneurship. The aim is to develop the Region of Central Macedonia into the friendliest region in the country for innovation, entrepreneurship and investment, to which Alexander Innovation Zone’s action in Thessaloniki contributes. The dynamic presence of the Independent Directorate of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Support of the Region of Central Macedonia was prominent in its participation in two more important actions for the promotion of innovation which took place in September 2019 in Thessaloniki.

The most emblematic action of the region’s innovation and entrepreneurship support mechanism is the One Stop Liaison Office. The purpose of this office is to play a key role in mediating between the market, research and public administration. In addition, it is responsible for monitoring and evaluating the interventions of the Smart Specialization Strategy in the Region of Central Macedonia. It is an intervention that aims and contributes to attracting investment, utilizing the knowledge generated, generating new income, creating new jobs and boosting entrepreneurship.

According to the Region of Central Macedonia, the driving force behind these developments has been the importance that the European Commission has attached to the digitization of the European industry over the last years. The Commission’s will is the cornerstone of the emergence of digital innovation hubs in one of the key tools of the new ‘’Digital Europe’’ funding programme which is to be launched in the new Programme Period, 2021-2027. This policy seeks to upgrade the quality of all services provided to the European citizen through digital transformation.



Greek diaspora scholars in Thessaloniki in the framework of 7 innovative programmes of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

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Aiming at facilitating the return of Greek scientists who work abroad and the development of long-term, mutually beneficial partnerships between Universities of Greece, USA and Canada, the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki is participating in the third cycle of the ‘’Greek Diaspora Fellowship Program’’. Following its successful participation in the first two cycles of the program, AUTh is participating in the third cycle with seven innovative research programs, among the 37 research proposals that were selected. Therefore, Thessaloniki, the Greek ‘’city of innovation’’, will host Greek diaspora scientists who will utilize their ideas and methods in Greece.


The ‘’Greek Diaspora Fellowship Program’’ enables Greek universities to host Greek scientists-academics working in the US, Canada, and South Africa with the aim of conducting collaborative research, developing joint curricula, and graduate or undergraduate student research mentoring and teaching. The program is funded by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and is managed by the US Institute of International Education in collaboration with the Fulbright Foundation in Greece.


Specifically, AUTh’s scholars in charge, titles of the selected programs, and scholars from the US and Canada who have been awarded fellowships are:


  • Christos Hadjidoukas, Assistant Professor at the Chemical Engineering Department of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, will host Dr. George Filippidis from the University of South Florida (USF) in the framework of the ‘’Collaborative Research in Algae for Production of Biofuels and Bioproducts’’ programme.
  • Konstantinos Chrysafis, Professor at the Department of Physics of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, will host Dr. Xanthippi Chatzistavrou from Michigan State University in the framework of the ‘’ Next generation bioactive and antibacterial glass-ceramics for tissue healing and regeneration’’ programme.
  • Evangelos Efthymiou, Professor at the Department of Civil Engineering of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, will host Dr. Sofia Gavridou from the University of California in the framework of the ‘’ TAll BUilding Structural Design (TABU): Collaborative Research‚ Curriculum Co-development and Graduate Research Mentoring and Teaching’’ programme.
  • The Department of Biology of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki along with Dimitris Kardasis, Professor at the Medical School of the University of Crete, and the Department of Medicine of the University of Patras, will host Constantinos Drosatos, Professor at Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University in the framework of the ‘’ Fostering Metabolic Biology research in three Greek Universities via research collaborations‚ graduate teaching and student mentoring’’ programme.
  • Maria Kosmidou, Professor at the Department of Psychology of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, will host Dr. Alexandra Touroutoglou from Harvard Medical School in the framework of the ‘’Fostering clinical neuroscience training and research at AUTh through fMRI experiments‚ curriculum development and mentoring: Phase II’’ programme.
  • Christoforos Kotsakis, Professor at the Department of Agronomy and Surveying Engineering of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, will host Dr. Dimitrios Bolkas from the Pennsylvania State University Commonwealth Campus in the framework of the ‘’ Collaborative Research on Improved Algorithms for Unmanned Aerial Systems (UASs) Data Analysis in Aerial Photogrammetry and Earth Surveying Applications’’ programme.
  • Sotirios Natsiavas, Professor at the Department of Mechanical Engineering of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki will host Dr. Alexandros Vakakis from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the framework of the ‘’ On the application of NES (nonlinear energy sinks) to railway bridges; Collaborative research on the application of NES to complex mechanical systems including moving mass and unilateral and bilateral constraints; Co-Develop a system for vibration control and damage limitation of bridges; Collaboration of research groups’’ programme.








Infalia from Thessaloniki travels around the world through the application ‘’Improve my city’’

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The online and mobile app services company Infalia has left its imprint in dozens of cities around the world over the last years through the application ‘’Improve My City’’, enabling citizens to bypass bureaucracy and participate in the creation of a better urban daily life. The ‘’Improve My City’’ application is currently installed in over 30 cities around the world; from Corsica, where Biguglia residents inform the municipality about street potholes, to Namibia, where residents complain about delays in recharging aquifers through the application. At the moment, Infalia is in contact with Bangkok, Thailand, and Lagos, Nigeria, so as to spread and install the application there as well.

So far this application, which is essentially an open-source software (provided free of charge but is subject to maintenance and support fees), has been downloaded by over 4,000 bodies worldwide. Since 2016, the Municipality of Thessaloniki, which also uses the application, has received 60,000 requests from 13,000 users, paving the way for an interactive relationship and a better city.

Infalia started in 2014 as a spin-off company of the Institute of Information and Communication Technologies (IPTIL) of the National Center for Research and Technological Development (CERTH) and began to commercialize some of the Institute’s research projects. Today 80% of the company’s sales take place in foreign markets, while its presence is constantly expanding in Greece, where 10 municipalities have already adopted the platform to get to know their citizens better and solve their issues.

Apart from smart city applications, the Thessaloniki based company has also significantly developed the field of data science by providing social media online content analysis services – for example, it performs multimedia content analysis for fake news detection – as well as visualization of big data analysis for policy makers, while it is getting ready to enter the area of cyber-security. It is currently involved in a major European collaborative project, Spider, which focuses on the study of 5G protocol and the possible cyber-attacks the introduction of this new technology will cause. In the framework of this involvement, Infalia is aspiring to create new services in this field, so as to be a pioneer in providing protection against cyber-attacks, but also offering IT experts training on the subject.








Google is leading small and medium-sized enterprises based in Thessaloniki to the digital world

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More than 14,000 people over the past four years have been trained in Central Macedonia under Google’s initiative, Grow Greek Tourism Online, which aims to train tourism entrepreneurs in digital tools. In 2019 alone, 4,000 people have been trained in Central Macedonia and have met personally with the specialized team of Grow Greek Tourism Online. Overall in Greece, over the five years of operation of this particular Google programme, a total of 120,000 people were trained, 67% of whom saw a difference in their businesses, which sometimes translates to more clicks to their websites or more phone calls and social media interaction.

Google’s next step in supporting Thessaloniki’s small and medium-sized enterprises to grow internationally is Market Finder. This tool provides free guides, videos and information so as to help businesses get into international and export markets.

Market Finder operates as follows:

Step One: It identifies the best markets for each business. Once the entrepreneur registers his website in the Market Finder tool, he will be able to see which export markets are most appropriate for his product or service. It will also show him the number of monthly Google searches for his company’s products as well as the gross domestic product of potential markets. Market Finder analyses consumers’ use of the internet, their demographics and disposable income, providing clear indicators and valuable information on the growth potential of a market.

Step Two: It prepares the business for the world market. Market Finder prepares small and medium-sized enterprises for international success by making them ready for export. This is done with market tracking tools as well as guides and tips that indicate the most effective ways of communicating with new markets, regardless of the language, customs or desired payment methods. In addition, logistics experts describe the rules of international freight shipping services for each selected market. Finally, payment guides present a variety of alternatives available worldwide and point out the most suitable for each market.

Step Three: It brings customers to your business. Market Finder provides digital marketing training to ensure that users who are looking for your business will be able to find it. For example, it shows how to create Google Ads campaigns that, through case presentations, guides and videos, are effective and oriented towards the selected markets.

Thessaloniki’s innovative drone to be put on the market in 2020

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A new innovative multipurpose drone, code-named RX-4, which is in the process of being developed, was presented by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki at the 84th Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF). It is an innovative drone that can be utilised effectively in many different missions, such as mapping, research and rescue, patrol, espionage and 3D urban mapping.

What distinguishes the new drone from the rest on the market is its two innovations:

Firstly, it has a great energy autonomy, which lasts up to two hours, while in the corresponding models the energy autonomy is only half an hour.

Secondly, it has the potential for vertical take-off and landing, which means it doesn’t need much space on the ground. The example cited by AUTh researchers is characteristic: ‘‘We’re on a mountain, like Mount Olympus, for rescue missions. In the case of other drones, we would need a runway of up to 50 meters long and a treeless area. Now we just need a glade’’.

The RX-4’s innovation is based on the drone’s geometry. It does not look like the conventional ones because it has no tail and thus the surface area needed is minimized.

It carries a camera of about half a kilo, which changes depending on the mission the drone will carry out. It is lightweight, weighing just 4 kilos, and can be easily assembled and disassembled to fit in the boot of a conventional car. It even flies autonomously without being piloted by the user and is controlled via a tablet.

The project involves and collaborates with the Laboratory of Fluid Mechanics & Turbomachinery (LFMT) of the School of Mechanical Engineering of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, the Automation and Robotics Laboratory (ARL) of the Department of Production and Management Engineering of the Democritus University of Thrace, GeoSense and MLS company. The team started in the summer of 2018 and is expected to deliver a highly competitive product that will be available on the market by the end of 2020.


Computer Systems: Exports from Thessaloniki to 90 countries with ‘‘innovation’’ as its most powerful weapon

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Innovation and extroversion is the dipole that has been guiding the steps of Computer Systems for over ten years, exporting from Thessaloniki to dozens of countries around the world. Since its inception, the company has been aiming to provide services to clients in the international market, utilizing popular online e-commerce platforms.

Computer Systems was launched in 2008, at the initiative of electrical engineer Panagiotis Karidopoulos, who wanted to get involved in IT services. The launch coincided with the problems that started to appear on the laptops graphics cards. Through the well-known e-bay platform and having found the method to remedy these problems, he acquired his first customers, who were sending him their graphics cards and he was fixing them. The first customer, outside Greek borders, was from France, and in the summer of 2009 the first partnerships started with small companies from Italy and the Netherlands.

In the following years the company put its own stamp on the innovative environment of Thessaloniki. In 2012, the IT company implements research projects with the co-financing of Greece and the EU on cutting-edge technology, such as data recovery and BGA component repairing methods (used on all high-tech devices and a significant number of malfunctions result from design failures). Shortly afterwards, Computer Systems introduced its most competitive product, the K4-PRO thermal paste, and then the K5-PRO, which protects technology products from overheating. The paste is presented at international conferences, while at the same time the company obtains a patent from the Industrial Property Organization. The product is in high demand and is being exported to 90 countries, including the US, Canada, Australia, Japan and all European countries.

Exports make up 50% of Computer Systems’ sales, while its products will be available through the Chinese newegg e-commerce platform in the near future, and its partnership with Walmart’s U.S. online store is to be launched.

At a product level, the company from Thessaloniki is already in the midst of a new high-performance thermal paste for gamers, a field that is currently at the forefront of the market.

First prize in Munich for SmartClass team from Thessaloniki

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The ‘‘SmartClass’’ team has returned to Thessaloniki from the final of the European competition ‘‘EESTech Challenge’’ held in Munich after having won the first prize.

The winning student team, composed of two members from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and one from the Alexander Technological Educational Institute of Thessaloniki, was set up in March 2019 in order to participate in the competition. It consists of Dimitrios Stoupis, an undergraduate student at the Department of Physics of AUTh, Stavros Filosidis, an undergraduate student at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering of AUTh, and Georgios Amponis, an undergraduate student at the Department of Electrical Engineering of ATEITH.

The ‘‘EESTech Challenge’’ is a European student technology competition organized by EESTEC (Electrical Engineering Students’ European Association) over the last three years. The theme of this year’s competition was ‘‘Internet of Things’’.

The members of ‘‘SmartClass’’ received the first prize for conceiving, presenting and implementing an innovative idea, whose primary goal is to create the ideal environmental conditions in a classroom in order to ensure the maximum effectiveness of the educational process.

Specifically, an automated system determines the environmental parameters of the classroom (humidity, temperature, lighting, air quality, etc.), the external environmental conditions as well as the number of people in the classroom. At the same time, through an application developed by the team, the conditions in the room are recorded, according to the personal feeling of the people that are present. All of this data is sent to a central server, where it is processed through machine learning models in order to improve conditions in real time.

This innovative system can be applied in university lecture halls, school classrooms and halls of other educational institutions, but also in workplaces in Greece and abroad, ensuring the ideal conditions in spaces where dedication and concentration are required, while helping to save energy.

More information on the EESTech Challenge Competition can be found at the following link:

ThPA S.A.’s startup incubators in Thessaloniki port

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The creation of an Innovation Centre within the port of Thessaloniki is promoted by ThPA S.A. (Thessaloniki Port Authority). Planning studies are at an advanced stage and final decisions will be made in the summer. The budget is expected to be around € 5 million, which will most likely result from community programmes and self-financing with an estimated project completion date of 3 years from now.

According to the planning of ThPA S.A.’s chairman, Mr. Sotiris Theofanis, who is making use of his academic profession in this case, the Innovation Centre will enable the experimental development and implementation of new ideas in three sectors that are tested daily in a port: port operation, logistics and freight transport. The goal is to create an innovative ecosystem, centered on an incubator, hosting startups that will deal with affairs linked to the operation of the three sectors.

What remains to be proved from the ongoing study is whether there is market and research interest and also to what extent. The first data and the estimates of the people of the port of Thessaloniki show that many forces will coordinate on the occasion of this initiative. From young scientists to mature and established businesses which are systematically looking for next day solutions. Issues like blockchain technology, namely the chain of integrated digital transactions, the reduction of ecological footprint and automation, are expected to have a significant impact on port operations, the shipping industry and freight both in terms of cost and quality of work. In addition, once the decisions have been finalized and the timetable is set, Mr. Theofanis intends to address the Alexander Innovation  Zone S.A. as the public body responsible for setting up the innovation system of Thessaloniki, in which ThPA S.A.’s initiative will obviously be included.

Spatially the project will be developed in the area of ‘’stables’’, a building complex that exists in the interior of the port between the 2nd and 3rd pier. It is about installations that have not been used since the 1980s and consist of buildings that have been preserved. This means that in any of their regeneration, the façade will remain as it is, so that their profile is not altered, while it is certain that other modern buildings will need to be constructed.

Mr. Theofanis considers PORTXL, the Innovation Centre set up in Rotterdam, one of the largest European trading ports, as a model for the Innovation Centre of ThPA S.A. The specific action has been developing for eight years and the results have been impressive, especially in terms of collaborations. Hundreds of private-sector businesses as well as public bodies involved in the port industry collaborate at PORTXL.

Thessaloniki: The Greek city Of ‘‘Living Labs’’

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Want to be a high tech product creator in your 70s? ‘‘Why not!’’, answer the members of the ‘‘Captain’’ programme of the Sports Medicine Laboratory of AUTh, which applies the ‘‘living lab’’ method. The goal is to create a smart consultant, an innovative technology product aimed at the elderly, which displays information in different parts of the house to help them make decisions and solve problems. ‘‘The old man stands in front of the refrigerator. Then the smart consultant realises it and displays suggestions on the fridge for a healthy snack’’, mentions as an example Evdokimos Konstantinidis, a postdoctoral researcher and technical coordinator of the ‘‘Captain’’ programme.

As Mr. Konstantinidis explains, around 70 seniors are actively involved in the product design and meet with the researchers on a regular basis. Through exercises and discussions they express what their real needs are in the meetings and critically assess each step of the smart consultant’s design. This co-creation is basically at the heart of the method called ‘‘living lab’’.

As Mr. Konstantinidis points out, the team has managed to gain the trust of the elderly by constantly demonstrating to them that their contribution is essential for the creation of the product. ‘‘In this environment, the elderly open up and become very creative’’, he mentions, adding that they have contributed such good ideas to the process that the team is now looking for ways to provide them with the corresponding copyright.

The programme, under which AUTh collaborates with another 14 bodies, including research centres, universities and companies, is expected to be completed in 18 months.


Rooms – living labs

AUTh’s Living Lab, Thessaloniki Active & Healthy Ageing Living Lab (Thess-a-hall) has also created other innovative living labs in its five years of operation.

For the needs of the ‘‘Captain’’ programme, the lab has created within its site a simulation of a normal home with a kitchen and a living room inviting seniors to spend one to two hours of their day there, three times a week. During this time, the house, which had hidden sensors, was collecting data on the behaviour of the tenants. In fact, four of the participants agreed to have the sensors placed in their home for the next two years. At the same time, a corresponding specially designed living space for the purposes of experimentation has also been placed in the Chariseio Nursing Home.


Only in Thessaloniki

Thessaloniki is the only part in Greece that has ‘‘Living Labs’’, which is fully compatible with the fact that the Alexander Innovation Zone is located in the city and is the one that systematically promotes development for innovations. It is therefore not accidental that some 400 living labers will gather in Thessaloniki in September to participate in the 10th Living Labs International Conference, entitled Open Living Lab Days. The creation of another living lab, which will be implemented in the city, will also be announced during the gathering.

The conference takes place every year in a different city and this year will be the first to host the event at the Thessaloniki Concert Hall from September 3 to 5 organised by the Thessaloniki Active & Healthy Ageing Living Lab of the Sports Medicine Laboratory of AUTh and the European Network of Living Labs (ENoLL).

Its goal is to co-create today’s and tomorrow’s social innovation while addressing each and every one, including public officials, social agencies, academics, innovative start-uppers and ordinary citizens.

During the conference, representatives of more than 30 ‘‘Living Labs’’ will work for three whole days with bodies from the European and the International Social Innovation Community to highlight the local problems and turn them into global opportunities as well as invite anyone interested in participating in developing new products, innovative services and solutions to everyday issues, in a real-time social environment, promoting the principles of responsible development and social innovation.

Taking part in the event practically translates into knowledge and experience offered through 40 workshops, in areas such as: the future of urban mobility, the ‘’Living Labs’’ as a learning environment for entrepreneurship in universities, agricultural practices and rural development, the development of ‘‘Living Labs’’ in the energy sector, co-created health and wellbeing products for vulnerable population groups.

Those interested in setting up their own ‘‘Living Lab’’ can attend a one-day training seminar before the official launch of the Open Living Lab Days (OLLDs).

Supporters of this year’s institution are the URENIO Research Unit of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki as well as the Open Knowledge Foundation Greece (OKFN Greece), while the conference is under the auspices of the Faculty of Health Sciences of AUTh.

More information at