Innovation forum looks at the future of Integrated Transport

June 17, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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Integrated Transport…what the future holds, Wed 29 June, 09:00 – 16:00,  Leigh Court, Bristol BS8 3RE

Within our complex transport infrastructure moving people, goods and data efficiently and securely, where are the upcoming opportunities for technology companies to engage? Specific areas of opportunity may include intelligent transport systems, goods handling and tracking, infrastructure management, marine systems, telemetry, security and safety and many more, and the SW Microelectronics iNet, in partnership with ESPKTN and NMI, is holding an innovation forum to bring together South West based Microelectronics companies to identify these opportunities and generate several project ideas that the iNet can directly support through feasibility study stage and beyond….

  • Receive exclusive access to bespoke research
  • Find new partners to collaborate with
  • Stay informed on future market directions
  • Identify new market opportunties
  • Extend your network and open up opportunties to gain new customers, employees, investors and advisors
  • Work with other members to access new services and facilities
  • Project ideas generated by the event will be eligible to apply for iNet funded support

Who should attend:

Transport companies, technology suppliers, researchers, entrepreneurs, investors or anyone passionate about identifying new opportunities in the South West.

Register here


09:00 – 09:30 Coffee and Registration

09:30 – 09:40 Welcome: Rick Chapman, Microelectronics iNet

09:40 – 10:25 Keynote Speaker: Professor Eric Sampson CBE, former DfT civil servant; Visiting Professor at Newcastle and City (London) Universities; Ambassador, and former Chairman, of ITS UK.

10:25 – 10:55 Talk 1: Stephen Hart, Technology Strategy Board

10:55 – 11:30 Coffee

11:30 – 11:45 Talk 2: Glenn Lyons, Professor of Transport and Society at the University of the West of England

11:45 – 12:00 Workshop introduction

12:00 – 13:00 Workshop 1

13:00 – 14:00 Lunch

14:00 – 14:30 Talk 3: Andy Graham, White Willow Consulting

14:30 – 15:30 Workshop 2

15:30 – 16:00 Wrap up & next steps

16:00 Close

SW Microelectronics iNet

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Bristol lawyers run IP and patent primer course free to iNet users

June 17, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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“Have you got a patent for that?”, Bristol Thursday 30th June 2011, 13:00 – 17:30

Withers & Rogers is running a half-day intensive session takes a fresh, accessible, workshop-based approach to the issues of identifying and exploiting IP rights. The primer, supported by the SW Microelectronics iNet, is looks at the entire innovation process, from concept through to commercialisation and set out the context in which IP rights arise and how and why they are useful.
A series of interactive sessions will be run to heighten focus on key stages of the product development process. Content will include invention, design, branding, how best to exploit innovation, the sensitive issue of infringement and where to find financial support.
A number of formal presentations will be provided looking at patents and confidentiality; the differences between registered and unregistered designs; trade mark creation, clearance and registration; licensing, franchising, sale and assignment; IP litigation, in particular process and costs; and finally, access to finance and insurance.

The primer is intended to provide the knowledge required to protect investment in R&D and brand building activity so as to maximise revenue and is aimed at anyone within an innovative organisation wanting to achieve greater value from their innovation. The course is also suitable for anyone wanting to learn about or refresh their knowledge of intellectual property.

Detailed course materials will provide a useful take home reference guide to IP for future use.

How to appy?

Places are limited. Simply reply by email to mentioning SW Microelectronics iNet, and your place will be free or charge. Precise joining instructions and a map will be sent to you no later than one week prior to the event.


* 13:00pm Registration and coffee.
* 13:30pm What is Intellectual Property? Discover IP through three every day objects.
* 13:50pm The Innovation Process: Going from Concept to Commercialisation.
* 14:00pm Invention: Confidentiality and Patents – how they work.
* 14:40pm Design: Registered Designs, UDR and Copyright – what is the difference?
* 15:10pm Refreshment break.
* 15:25pm Branding: Trade mark creation, clearance and registration.
* 15:55pm Exploitation: licensing, franchising, sale and assignment.
* 16:20pm Enforcement: IP infringement issues & litigation.
* 16:55pm Financial support and reward: Access to finance, insurance and other
* 17:20pm Questions and answers session.
* 17:30pm Drinks & networking.

SW Microelectronics iNet

Composites Centre appoints Chief Executive

June 15, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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The University of Bristol has appointed Peter Chivers as the Chief Executive of the National Composites Centre (NCC) confirming his interim role.

“I am delighted that Peter has been appointed as the Chief Executive of the NCC. He’s carried out the role on an interim basis for the past 15 months and in that time he has had many achievements, not least in ensuring that the NCC was one of the partners in the national High Value Manufacturing Technology and Innovation Centre,” said Professor Guy Orpen, the University’s Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise, and chair of the NCC’s Steering Board. “I am looking forward to continuing to work closely with Peter in the coming years as the NCC forges a place for itself in the growing and exciting global composites industry.”

“This is a fantastic opportunity. The NCC is in the right place, at the right time in the right industry,” said Chivers. “Working with colleagues throughout the country, my aim is that the UK maintains and enhances its position in the world-wide composites industry. There are many challenges in the coming months and years, and I am relishing securing the NCC’s future in this exciting landscape.”

He was previously vice president of research and technology at Airbus and Director of Engineering at GKN Aerospace.

The NCC is part of the first Technology Innovation Centre – for high value manufacturing. The HVM TIC will provide an integrated capability and embrace all forms of manufacture using metals and composites, in addition to process manufacturing technologies and bio-processing. It will draw on excellent university research to accelerate the commercialisation of new and emerging manufacturing technologies. This was the first of an elite network of Technology and Innovation Centres that are being established by the Technology Strategy Board with over £200m of Government investment overall.

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Bath fitness software startup sold

June 15, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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SETsquared-supported Fitronics bought by large Canadian Software conglomerate

Bath-based software developer Fitronics has been sold to Canadian conglomerate Constellation Software through its subsidiary, Gary Jonas Computing Ltd for an undisclosed sum.

The company is a leading supplier to customers for the leisure industry, and provides solutions, processes and training packages to improve customer experience and loyalty. It has 400 customers around the world, including Fitness First, Holmes Place and Reebok Sports Club and through The Retention People (TRP), is leading researcher in leisure customer retention and a provider of a range software tools and services to help manage customer experience and retention. Fitronics also operates yourhealthtrainer (yht), an online tool enables health club members to track their workouts and view their performance.

The company was started by Alister Rollins in his final year of a Mech Eng degree at the University of Bath. SETsquared provided mentoring, financial support and offices for the company at its Business Acceleration Centre in Bath. In 2002, when Rollins was only 20, the company won the SETsquared business plan competition prize of £5,000. Since then, it has attracted funds from the University Enterprise Development Fund, bank funding and investment from the Sulis Seedcorn Fund. It also attended SETsquared’s annual Investment Showcase event, which provides a platform for early-stage businesses to meet potential investors.

“Without the support from SETsquared and the University of Bath’s Innovation Centre, we would not have been able to grow so quickly and profitably,” said Alister Rollins, Founder of Fitronics.
Simon Bond, Centre Director at SETsquared, said: “I’m delighted that Alister and his team have been so successful, and this profitable exit for a start-up is testament to the ability of SETsquared and the University of Bath to help early-stage businesses develop and grow.”

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XMOS First to Move AVB Software Into Open Source

June 2, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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Drives collaborative development of standard media streaming between audio visual devices

Bristol chip designer XMOS is transferring its entire audio-visual software reference design into an Open Source Project to drive the adoption of the technology. This is the industry’s first open source implementation of the popular AVB standard for streaming sound and video over Ethernet standard.

More here

SW Microelectronics iNet

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Wave power drives SETSquared international studentship

June 2, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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A student from Southampton has won a place in the prestigious Kauffman Global Scholars Program.

Alistair Shepherd, 22, is in the final year of a Masters degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics at the University of Southampton and will be the only UK student participating in the Program in 2011. Applicants from across the 75,000 students in the SETsquared partnership of Bath, Bristol, Exter, Surrey and Southampton were assessed on their ideas for high-growth businesses, and Shepherd’s winning entry was based around an innovative approach to exploiting wave energy. The judging panel chose Shepherd because they saw great potential both in him, and in the wave power device.

Shepherd’s innovation uses the motion of ships to generate electricity in a device that is inside the ship itself. As the device is not immersed in water, it overcomes the problems of sea damage that affect other wave power solutions.

“The potential for this approach is enormous – wave power could replace diesel auxiliary generators on millions of ships worldwide, saving money for the ship owners and reducing carbon emissions,” said Shepherd. “I’m an engineer by trade, and the Global Scholars Program is going to be great experience and will help me develop the wave power device.”

The 2012 Global Scholars Program, a program of the US-based Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, will run from January to June 2012, and provides participants with an opportunity to enhance their entrepreneurial skills and ideas, competences and capabilities. The Global Scholars Program exposes students to some of America’s most innovative entrepreneurial professors, experts, universities and companies. The Program includes six months in the US, funded by SETsquared, with an elite group of Global Scholars picked from other countries.

As part of the program, Shepherd will also spend a year as ‘entrepreneur in residence’ at the University of Southampton, enabling him to develop his business concept with support from the SETsquared team and includes a paid role to help advocate and develop student enterprise activities across the SETsquared partnership.

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New chip for remote ECG monitoring

June 2, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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Plessey Semiconductors in Plymouth has launched its first chip using a sensor technology that can be used for a new generation of ECG heart monitors.

The new Electric Potential Integrated Circuit (EPIC) sensor is a completely new area of sensor technology that measures changes in an electric field in a similar way to a magnetometer detecting changes in a magnetic field.  The sensor requires no physical or resistive contact to make measurements and so will enable innovative new products to be made such as medical scanners that are simply held close to a patient’s chest to obtain a detailed ECG reading or devices that can ‘see’ through walls.  The sensor can be integrated on a chip with other features such as data converters, digital signal processing and wireless communications capability.

“EPIC technology is the most exciting addition to our expanding range of smart sensors,” said Francois Pelletier, Plessey Semiconductors’ Regional Sales Manager Americas. “We already have demonstration kits which are available now for customers to evaluate the enormous possibilities of this innovative new field of sensor technology that is turning science fiction into actual products.”

The technology works at normal room temperatures and functions as an ultra high, input impedance sensor that acts as a highly stable, extremely sensitive, contactless digital voltmeter to measure tiny changes in the electric field down to milliVolts.  EPIC technology is so sensitive that it can detect these changes at a distance and even through a solid wall.  Thus, for example, in a fire situation, it could be possible to determine if there any people in a smoke filled room before opening the door.

The first EPIC product, the PS25150, is an ultra high impedance, solid state ECG (electrocardiograph) sensor for applications such as non-critical patient monitoring, emergency response diagnostics, sports and health products and will be sampling in September.  It can be used as a dry contact ECG sensor without the need for potentially dangerous low impedance circuits across the heart.  Key to this is that EPIC detects the voltage change in muscles and nerves without electrical contact so there is no need to have electrodes on or in the body to detect current changes.


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Silicon South West Newsletter – Issue 30 May 2011

June 2, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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The latest edition of the Silicon South West newsletter is now out.

Click on the image  to download a PDF


Second stage stem cell trials start for MS at Frenchay

June 2, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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$1.1 million donation for pioneering stem cell MS trial

Researchers at Fenchay Hospital have started the second stage of pioneering stem cell trials into a possible treatment for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) following  $1.1m donation from a US charity.

The grant from the Kenneth and Claudia Silverman Family Foundation to the University of Bristol and North Bristol NHS Trust will fund a phase II clinical trial of bone marrow cellular therapy in MS patients. Bone marrow is known to contain stem cells capable of repairing many types of tissue and organ damage and so is of great interest to those working to develop new treatments for many diseases, including those affecting the nervous system.

The research team, led by Neil Scolding, Burden Professor of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Bristol and North Bristol NHS Trust, has completed a phase I trial into the safety and feasibility of the therapy to establish what effects, good or bad, bone marrow stem cells have on patients with MS, and their disability. Following encouraging results, the team now plans to conduct a larger phase II trial to test and assess the effectiveness of the therapy.

“MS is the most common disabling neurological condition affecting young adults,” sai Professor Scolding. “Thanks to this generous donation from The Kenneth and Claudia Silverman Family Foundation, we are able to take a major step forward in our research to try and find a treatment for this disease, through this trial which we hope will commence later this year. Research into the underlying mechanisms is ongoing and vital, in order to build on these results. We believe that stem cells mobilised from the marrow to the blood are responsible, and that they help improve disease in several ways, including neuroprotection and immune modulation.”

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The Filter adds streaming video services

June 2, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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Bath’s recommendation software developer, The Filter, is now being used by US streaming video service Vudu, recently bought by retail giant Walmart. Vudu is competing with streaming services such as NetFlix and is using the software to offer subscribers a personalized video-on-demand experience based on customers’ previous viewing habits and statistics.

The Filter started in 2004 offering ‘white label’ software to companies to badge as their own and is a key part of technology and innovation in the city. Backed by singer and technology entrepreneur Pater Gabriel and nearly $10m of funding, it now reaches over 200m users and is used by Sony Music, Nokia, Comcast, Warner Brothers and NBC.

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