Cream of NI’S knowledge economy will be on show
Catalyst Inc, the successor to the Science Park, will announce the winners of its INVENT competition to find new products with the greatest potential to showcase Northern Ireland’s expanding knowledge economy. At an awards ceremony on Thursday, 12 finalists will present their ideas to an inquisitive audience before the successor to last year’s overall winner, Dr Helen Mccarthy of Phion Therapeutics, is unveiled.
All the finalists have developed products new to the market place. The judges have considered the different degrees of uniqueness, commercial promise and scientific progress in each product in the following categories:
Agri-science: Mark Elliott has tested a carefully modulated device to act as a slurry gas detector and alert system which has the capacity to reduce the number of accidents from breathing in hydrogen sulphide fumes.
A proposal from Jenny Gregg for an improved design for girth galls to use with saddles on horses which will reduce the problem of sores, or blisters through an innovative pressure release system. Creative media: Brendan Digney and four colleagues have used AI algorithms to develop equipment that can take control of some farm machines and make them safer for users. It combines sensors, including cameras, a central control unit (black box) and electronic control systems. Seabeacom is the product of six budding business developers, led by Gavin Nichol, to create an emergency beacon for watersports users. It has an SOS button to alert the coastguard with information on their GPS location. Engineering: No food waste in black bins. Steven Beck turns the challenge into an opportunity. Building bespoke aerobic digesters he can convert food and organic waste more quickly into a source of energy which can displace fossil fuels saving on the costs to get rid of waste as well as selling electricity.
David and Julie Gray have invested in a device for electricians to use plastic staples that are safer and faster in coping with electrical work.
A proof of concept battery powered model has been made. Next test is to develop on a commercial scale. Software for enterprises: Importwise is a cloud-based platform that helps businesses get access to international shipping, pay international suppliers and get access to trade finance. Building on some of his own experience Barry Rollins is trying an MVP using top software developers. The platform is aimed at helping SMES. Generating efficient ways in which to collect research data, especially for clinical purposes, can shorten the time and reduce the cost of proving new scientific research ideas. Chris Armstrong, with co-founders Graham and Paul Wilsdon, has created Overwatch Research with the analytical ability to track early evidence to improve results from extended research programmes. Life and health: Sono Targ is a device from John Callan aiming to allow doctors to target tumours by using microbubbles and ultrasonic energy to reduce pancreatic and breast tumours minimising any adverse effects from chemotheraphy.
Antenatal care can be improved by modern communications which link patients to their doctors, no matter where they are. Nirmala Bhogal and two medical colleagues have developed a system to remotely monitor blood glucose, blood pressure and other factors, saving the need for frequent visits to clinics during pregnancy. Consumer internet usage: Gofyt is the message being developed by Andy Mccracken. Where a potential customerb can find a convenient physiotherapist, a trainer or fitness professional from a convenient reference (or app). Andy and two colleagues are now raising funds for a budget to launch their business.
Justin Thompson, of MVPX, is using computer vision to track movements of the ball (in basketball) to develop machine learning of how the shot has performed.
Running on a mobile device, this uses an image-processing library to apply data analytics to different sports.
The judges certainly do face a difficult choice.