Cream of NI’S knowl­edge econ­omy will be on show

Belfast Telegraph - Business Telegraph - - News - with John Simp­son @bel­tel_busi­ness

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.

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