The Process

IIS Zürich coins R&D cooperation by forming university-industry partnerships. The process is initiated when a technological niche has been identified with growing relevance and wider awareness. Expert groups from both, academia and industry are then brought together and a preliminary project is being designed to address commercially-interesting applications. The expert team pursues R&D up to prototyping and securing IP. In order to attract external funding, the project is then consolidated either into a joint research project or a start-up venture. At the moment we do pursue the following projects:

Smart Building Envelope

An IIS-led consortium has completed transformative R&D on how to advance building energy efficiency. This is known to be best achieved by leveraging a building's enclosure to become a thermally active structure. We have developed a first-of-its-kind smart building envelope that is automated, thermally active and adopts the entire thermal function of a building. The core of our solution is a mass-produced building frame module that gives rise to the structure of the building and encompasses reinforcement for a concrete-type building material. These "bricks" house refrigeration-cooling and heat-pump functionality via adaptable heat pipes incorporated therein. The building is constructed through high-volume additive stacking of these "bricks" along with casting of a concrete-type building material - either via skilled worker or construction robotics. The high degree of decentralization makes it straight-forward to combine the system with solar panels, incremental power storage, and wireless control of its components. The resulting planar heating-and-cooling function of this smart building envelope not only introduces a step change in building energy efficiency but also vastly improves indoor thermal comfort. With currently three U.S. patents granted, the technology is being commercialized in the US. For more information see

Hybrid Power Train for HGV

A hybrid power train for heavy goods vehicles and vehicles bearing low roll-inertia is being investigated. We are considering the category including an internal combustion engine providing bandwidth torque, electric motor providing variable torque and flywheel for torque buffer and storage, although our concept implemets a highly decentralised configuration. Along with recuperation and energy storage, the focus lies on overall energy efficiency. The core element of our approach is a novel design of an infinitely variable transmission (IVT). The project is in an early stage pursuing mainly research activities.

Modular Data Center

Current commercial practice of large-scale data processing adopts the spatial and temporal separation between data acquisition and analysis. In order to avoid critical data transfers (bandwidth, security, ownership), the information gathered needs to be processed, analyzed and structured instantaneously. However, nowadays compute infrastructure fails to unite this processes and appears to be trapped in static and rigid facilities or to limited compute capacity. Our Modular Data Center proposes a versatile compute platform, based on an enhanced standard 20' ISO-container, that is designed to cope with environmental challenges of any kind. Only processed information creates added value.