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Ulster Innovators Hope for Victory at £25K Awards

Budding entrepreneurs from the University of Ulster have dominated the shortlist of this year’s NISP CONNECT £25K Awards ‘search for the next big thing’.

Six teams from Ulster made the shortlist of 10 after wowing judges with their innovations in drug delivery systems, aircraft engine design, digital learning,  wind energy capture and wireless communications. 

The £25K Awards offer a platform for the next generation of entrepreneurs to showcase their intellectual property concepts with the hope of transforming their ideas into commercial reality following rigorous judging from industry experts and seasoned investors.  

Director of Innovation at the University of Ulster, Tim Brundle, said: “‘The links between academia and industry have always been important for the prosperity of our local economy and for a long time they have been increasing.  

“The current economic climate has really brought to attention how important these links are as we shift our focus to the knowledge-based economy. The £25K Awards provide a fantastic platform for NI technology entrepreneurs to exhibit their great ideas and the University of Ulster wishes all of the entrants every success.”  

NISP CONNECT Director, Steve Orr said: “Collaboration between academia and business is vital for securing success of the future knowledge-based economy and the £25K initiative has been designed to strengthen this relationship by identifying and nurturing the raw entrepreneurial talent that exists in Northern Ireland’s universities and research communities such as the Agri Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI).  

“The £25K Awards is about more than commercialising the ‘next big thing’ – it’s about facilitating and enabling inventive individuals and arming them with the knowledge to take them to the next stage in their career. We connect the selected applicants with networks of potential partners and offer a mentoring service from experienced entrepreneurs who can pass on their insight and business acumen.”  

Sponsored by Bank of Ireland, Invest NI, University of Ulster, QUB and the Agri Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), the awards night will be held on September 23 at Northern Ireland Science Park.  

Details of Ulster’s six shortlisted projects are listed below: 

Task Maestro
has designed a wall mounted touch screen device providing hospitality and catering staff with an electronic ‘to do list’ which alerts staff with timely ‘must do’ instructions and holds them accountable through the use of biometric finger print recognition technology. 

SmartAIR Medical
has developed a drug dosage monitor device, SmartAIR DDM that will improve the patient’s inhalation technique, ensuring optimal deposition of drugs within their lungs. It will also provide key data required by clinicians to monitor patient activity including evidence of medication compliance. 

LenisAer - Strict regulatory targets and demands from aircraft carriers for improved efficiency and reduced emissions will require new design concepts in Nacelle construction, streamlined enclosures for an aircraft engine. LenisAer offers a cost effective method for manufacturing next generation inlet-cowl leading-edges for nacelles. 

ReRotar Sustainable Technologies has developed a system for the manufacture of domestic wind turbine blades utilising a propriety manufacturing process and a recycled waste material (carbon fibre and plastic bottles) at a fraction of the cost of current products. By utilising the technology the performance profile of the waste carbon fibre (from aerospace scrap) has been shown to dramatically improve specific properties of the recycled polymeric material (from plastic bottle scrap) therefore allowing it to be used in high value added product specific areas. 

SoFI is a patent pending unique approach for improving the quality of audio being broadcast over any wireless medium. Wireless devices can be susceptible to the unreliable nature of bursty connections on networks, especially at the outer limits of the signal. Time dependent data such as music broadcast on internet radio stations make this issue more evident to the listener. SoFI utilizes the repetitive nature of music in its underlying beat structure to allow similarity comparisons to be made thereby identifying previously received  portions of the audio that are used as replacements when dropouts do occur. 

Jellyflug
– The introduction of new interactive technologies such as the IPod and Ipad has opened the market up to new ways of playing and learning. Our idea is an interactive educational platformer using tablet technology based on the microscopic world of bacteria. The game, Jellyflug is a means to explain and project the life of microscopic creatures within the kitchen environment and how they can have an effect on our lives.