Cutting-edge technology that measures seismic events has won the 5 million ruble top prize in Skolkovo’s More than Moore contest, an initiative to encourage breakthroughs in computer hardware.

Seismotronika claiming the winner's check at the Hypercube this week. Photo:

The Seismotronika team from the Moscow region made off with the winner’s diploma after impressing a jury with their high-precision sensors to produce seismic surveys.

The competition was held at the Skolkovo Hypercube and open residents and non-residents alike: Second place, complete with a check for 4 million rubles, went to Skolkovo team Zelnas for technology that ramps up the efficiency of 3D micro assembly.

CloudBEAR, a team from outside the Skolkovo ecosystem, won third place and 3 million rubles for a coprocessor for use in 4G and 5G mobile communications and a system of parallel signal processing.

“The jury found it tough to choose the winners,” said Skolkovo’s director of IT science and technology Nikolai Suetin. “It was a genuine, serious fight,” he added.

Fifty projects from across Russia were whittled down to a final 12 for Monday’s final, which saw teams from St. Petersburg to Novosibirsk battle it out in a series of pitch sessions.

Zelnas collected the prize for second place. Photo:

The organizers of the contest were the Skolkovo Foundation, GS Venture, and the government’s Fund for Promising Research. Among the partners were the Communications Ministry, the Economic Trade and Development Ministry, Intel, RQC and Starta Capital.

It began in September with the aim of breaking the cycle of a twofold improvement in computer processing power every two years, known as Moore’s Law.

“We’re talking about a wide range of projects in the fields of information transfer, storage and processing,” said chief organizer Vasily Ryzhonkov, Skolkovo’s director for hardware projects, referring to the entrants. “The contest gathered teams of various types: tech startups, small and medium engineering companies, design centers, researchers from different institutes and just inventors,” he added.

The projects may include existing technology but the overall approach had to be innovative.

The most promising enterprises will be assessed for Skolkovo resident status.

Russia is a renowned powerhouse in software development but the hardware market is often described as neglected.

Mobile tech team CloudBEAR came third. Photo:

Barriers to entry include much higher startup costs than in software and lack of an existing technology base upon which to build.

Suetin, for his part, said: “We really recommend all projects that took part in the contest to apply to join Skolkovo – those that aren’t already residents.”

“I’m confident, thanks to support of the promising tech teams, which doesn’t end with this competition, we have the chance to create true breakthrough hardware. We understand perfectly well that Russian companies lead the software industry, now we’d like to see ‘hard’ leaders,” he added.