PME researcher Nima Tolou wins Prins Friso Engineering Award

News - 22 March 2018 - Webredactie 3ME

Nima Tolou, researcher at the Department of Precision & Microsystems Engineering and co-founder of Flexous BV and Kinergizer BV, has been named the 2018 Engineer of the Year. He received the Prins Friso Engineering Award at the University of Groningen’s Engineering Center in the presence of Princess Beatrix and Princess Mabel. The Royal Netherlands Society of Engineers (KIVI) gives the award annually to the engineer that distinguishes him or herself in terms of expertise, innovative capability, social impact and entrepreneurship.

‘The modern engineer is capable of addressing social challenges in a scientific way and turning them into breakthrough technologies. Nima Tolou has this capability. He sees challenges and integrates them into engaging research that helps to make the world a bit of a better place,’ says jury chair Micaela dos Ramos.

Tolou used his knowledge of elastic mechanisms and micro-electromagnetic systems (MEMS) to develop a watch with a completely new movement in an integrated team with the LVMH Watch Division (TAG Heuer/Zenith) and Flexous. In the process, he has revolutionised a technique that has been used in watches for 350 years. The oscillator that he has developed, which replaces the traditional hairspring mechanism in watches, can be used for other applications as well. In a watch, the oscillator converts energy into movement, but the opposite – converting movement into energy – appears to be possible as well. This principle has given Nima Tolou the key to developing battery-free sensors and other microwatt devices that can derive their energy from their environment. The range of applications is huge: from the Internet of Things to the health-care sector, where batteries can be used in pacemakers that can be charged by the movement of the heart itself, for example. (Source: KIVI)

Tolou (1982) studied applied mechanical design in Iran. He has been working at TU Delft since 2008, first as a PhD student, and now as a university lecturer. ‘I wanted to continue doing research, but the opportunities in Iran were limited.’ Tolou searched for a reputable university in the area of applied research. He actively seeks partners in the business sector to convert research results and findings into products with his own team.

‘I’m a designer, but definitely also a maker,’ Tolou says.

Read more about Tolou and his research in Check out our Science.

Media coverage (in Dutch):  

Dagblad van het Noorden: Prinses Mabel en prinses Beatrix reiken Prins Friso Ingenieursprijs uit in Groningen (+video's)
Technisch Weekblad: Prins Friso Ingenieursprijs uitgereikt
Delta: Delftse onderzoeker wint Prins Friso Ingenieursprijs
Petrochem: Micromechanicus Tolou wint Prins Friso Ingenieursprijs 2018
iMaintain: Micromechanicus Tolou wint Prins Friso Ingenieursprijs 2018
Engineers Online: Ingenieursprijs voor micromechanicus Nima Tolou (video)
De Ingenieur: Micromechanicus Nima Tolou wint Prins Friso Ingenieursprijs