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Royal Academy backs eight tech entrepreneurs

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Projects to be helped to market include a robot toy, fibre-optic probes for cancer diagnostics and recycled bricks


 

The Royal Academy of Engineering has selected eight research projects it is to help commercialise as part of its Enterprise Fellowship scheme this year.

The researcher behind each project will receive £60,000 to enable them to take time off from their academic studies, as well as access to mentoring from Academy Fellows, who include high profile engineers such as Sir Robin Saxby, former chief executive of Arm and Professor Neville Jackson, chief technology officer of Ricardo.

The researchers selected include Alexander Enoch, who has developed a walking robot which uses half the number of motors that would normally be required to make it move, significantly reducing its cost to under £100. Enoch’s firm Robotical is developing the robot as an open-source educational toy, that can be wirelessly reprogrammed using easy-to-learn programming languages and can be adapted with different limbs.

Dr Oliver Stevens from the University of Bristol is to get help to commercialise clinical probes that will enable on-the-spot cancer diagnosis. The fibre optic probes direct laser light onto cells and software analyses the interaction of light with the molecules inside. The system is able to tell instantaneously if there are cancerous changes within a cell.

In addition, Dr Sam Chapman, from Heriot-Watt University is receiving funding and mentoring to help his Kenoteq spin-out, which has developed a process to make unfired bricks from recycled materials with no concrete, which saves on energy use and emissions.

Professor Ann Dowling, president of the Royal Academy of Engineering, said: “Many engineering innovations born in UK university laboratories have the potential to change the world, making significant contributions to society and the economy.

“By joining up the research, industry and investment communities, the Enterprise Fellowships help the commercialisation of such technologies.”

 

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