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Case Studies



Hyperpolarized contrast agent for Magnetic Resonance Imaging


Our hyperpolarisation technology enables a novel means of obtaining an extremely high Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) signal offering significantly increased sensitivity.  The project will develop demonstration applications which illustrate the enhanced capability of MRI offered by the hyperpolarisation technology.  These advanced applications will facilitate the accelerated diagnosis of specific disease states by imaging. Proposal sponsored by the University of York and approved at the March 2009 Yorkshire Fund Board meeting.

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Recombinant Protein Expression Enhancer


Biopharmaceuticals are recombinant proteins made from genetically engineered bacteria or mammalian cells and generate a global market of$50 billion pa. Their large-scale production is expensive - particularly for mammalian cells. Our technology is a Recombinant Protein Expression Enhancer which boosts production of recombinant proteins by mammalian cells by a remarkable 400-500%; this could dramatically reduce production costs in the biotechnology industry. Proposal sponsored by the University of Sheffield and approved at the March 2009 Yorkshire Fund Board meeting.

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RadiVis: A new safety technology.


RadiVis is a technology to be incorporated in garments in order to render the wearer distinctively visible to radar. It offers a unique and improved detection capability with the potential for saving lives and has already attracted key segments of the Search and Rescue market. Proposal sponsored by the University of Leeds and approved at the December 2009 Yorkshire Fund Board meeting.

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Imaging Electromagnetic Flowmetering


Engineers at the University of Huddersfield have developed a new imaging technique that can significantly improve the accuracy of flow measurement in multiphase and difficult single phase flow conditions.  The Yorkshire Proof of Commercial Concept Fund is being used to develop a commercial flowmeter product based on this new technology. Proposal sponsored by the University of Huddersfield and approved at the December 2009 Yorkshire Fund Board meeting

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Commercial Development of a Novel Anticoagulant with Minimal Bleeding Risk


Researchers at the University of Leeds are developing a new oral drug (anticoagulant) against the development of blood clots. This presents for the first time the potential for an anticoagulant with minimal bleeding side effects. Yorkshire Concept funding will enable the development of the commercial strategy for taking the drug to marke. Proposal sponsored by the University of Leeds and approved at the December 2009 Yorkshire Fund Board meeting

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Power Efficient Laser Cavity Media


Research breakthroughs in specialist glass at the University of Leeds have enabled the development of next generation eye-safe laser technology.  Products resulting from the project will allow the production of lasers which use less power, are more reliable, lighter weight, more robust, and lower cost.  This will particularly benefit applications in the military area. Proposal sponsored by the University of Leeds and approved at the December 2009 Yorkshire Fund Board meeting

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B-Neuro


Behaviour to Neurochemistry is a preclinical testing service assessing the efficacy of new therapies to improve cognitive dysfunction in schizophrenia and other disorders. It is currently run as an academic enterprise. Yorkshire Concept Funding will provide the management, sales and marketing resources required to turn it into a commercial entity. Proposal sponsored by the University of Bradford and approved at the December 2009 Yorkshire Fund Board meeting

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Rescudent


A team at the University of Leeds have identified an attractive commercial opportunity for provision of training and equipment to medical professionals. We will launch the product in mid 2010. The details of the product will be kept confidential until product launch to avoid competitors copying our idea and to give us first mover advantage. Proposal sponsored by the University of Leeds and approved at the September 2009 Yorkshire Fund Board meeting.

for further information visit  http://www.rescupod.com/

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The Skills Forge for Industry


Skills and Competences are the foundation upon which any organisation competes. A clear understanding of HOW these are developed and used is vital to organisational success. Skills Forge is a web-based management system that provides organisations and their staff with a powerful set of tools to manage and develop competencies across individuals and teams. Proposal sponsored by the University of York and approved at the October 2009 Yorkshire Fund Board meeting.

for further information visit  http://www.skillsforge.co.uk/

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LIMA - Forensic Imaging Systems


LIMA is a unique software tool allows for acquiring, manipulating, classifying and reporting a variety of crime marks – footwear, tyres, gloves, fingerprints – through an intuitive and unified graphical interface.  It is seen as transformational in the use of crime marks by the UK Police and has excited considerable interest from individuals, user groups, and NPIA as well as other commercial players. For more information please visit the website. Project sponsored by the University of Sheffield and approved at the October 2009 Yorkshire Fund Board meeting

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Commercialisation of a novel fuel-saving device for commercial vehicles


Engineers at the University of Huddersfield have developed a new drag reduction device that, when fitted to commercial vehicle trailers, will reduce fuel consumption by 5% (and as a result CO2 emissions by around 4 tonnes per vehicle per annum).  The Yorkshire Proof of Commercial Concept Fund is being used to take this device from a laboratory prototype to a commercially available product. Proposal sponsored by the University of Huddersfield and approved at the October 2009 Yorkshire Fund Board meeting

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Electronic Detection of Disease Biomarkers


The University of Leeds has developed breakthrough technology using semiconductor devices to detect microscopic traces of proteins, including biomarkers of specific diseases.  This could move many medical diagnostic tests from the laboratory to the patient via a plug-in USB device that produces highly accurate results in minutes. For further details on eTect please click here. Proposal sponsored by the University of Leeds and approved at the October 2009 Yorkshire Fund Board meeting

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Field trials of microbubble flotation actuated by fluidic oscillation


Energy efficient microbubbles can be made with our technique. Laboratory trials of our microporous diffuser show 20 micron bubbles produced with less energy usage than 1-10mm bubbles conventionally.  We will investigate the performance of replacing energy intensive dissolved air flotation in water purification with the same size bubbles produced by fluidic oscillation. Proposal sponsored by the University of Sheffield and approved at the September 2009 Yorkshire Fund Board meeting.

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Visibility Simulation in Smoke Laden Environment


A computer simulation tool that models visibility in buildings during fire situations based on computer aided design models. Increasingly simulation is used to demonstrate that buildings meet regulations (performance based building design) as this allows greater flexibility than adherence to prescriptive guidance. This is the first system to model visibility. Proposal sponsored by the University of Hull and approved at the September 2009 Yorkshire Fund Board meeting.

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Toward the identification of novel therapeutics for individuals with a predisposition to breast cancer


People who have a genetic pre-disposition to breast cancer have an 80% chance of developing the disease, and face tough choices regarding treatment options. This University of Sheffield team have established a novel approach for the development of new treatment options, which exploits our understanding of how breast cancer cells differ from their normal counterparts. Funding from YC is enabling us to establish rigorous proof of commercial concept as well as to develop first generation technology for the identification of novel, targeted therapeutic leads. Proposal sponsored by University of Sheffield and approved at the June 2009 Yorkshire Fund Board meeting.
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New Lithium battery material


The University of Leeds has pioneered a polymer gel electrolyte for lithium ion batteries. Conventional lithium batteries use a porous polymer film as the separator between the cathode and anode with a liquid electrolyte, which is injected into the battery after being assembled. The gel electrolyte film is coated on to the cathode electrode by the Leeds continuous lamination process operating at metres/minute. This offers major advantages of significant commercial relevance in both cost and safety. The most immediate prospect for commercialisation is for use in powered SMART cards. Proposal sponsored by University of Leeds and approved at the June 2009 Yorkshire Fund Board meeting.
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EVO-Sports Drink


Research in sports nutritional science at Leeds Metropolitan University has discovered that specific carbohydrate and protein formulations boost energy recovery and enhance athletic performance. Working with a sports drink manufacturer a route to market development programme will be undertaken to fully realise the commercial potential of this discovery. Proposal sponsored by Leeds Metropolitan University and approved at the April 2009 Yorkshire Fund Board meeting.
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Virtual Runner: A Tool and a Game for teaching of Physiological Processes during Sports Activity


Virtual runner is an 'exercise simulator' software system for athletes in which the software makes the practical elements of biochemistry alive, and interesting. It translates the complex mathematics behind athlete metabolism into an exciting visual and competitive game. It has applications for training and educational markets. Proposal sponsored by Leeds Metropolitan University and approved at the December 2008 Yorkshire Fund Board meeting.

for further information visit  http://www.runme.mobi/

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Modified Reactive Dyes for Salt Free, Alkali Free and Effluent Free Dyeing


The HeLin technology provides a low-cost means to modify existing reactive dyes used in the colouration of textile fabrics which completely removes the need for salt and alkaline materials. It thus allows unlimited re-use of dye baths and continuous processing whilst minimizing materials, effluent and energy use (negligible environmental impact). Proposal sponsored by University of Leeds and approved at the April 2009 Yorkshire Fund Board meeting.
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MagMEMS - a New Sensor Platform Technology


Integrating smart magnetic materials with simple microelectromechanical (MEMS) structures such as cantilevers we aim to demonstrate proof of concept of a sensor platform capable of detecting amongst other things tracking labels in fuel. The device is passive, wireless, cheap to manufacture and capable of high sensitivity. Proposal sponsored by University of Sheffield and approved at the April 2009 Yorkshire Fund Board meeting.
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Development of a second generation trachea-oesophageal fistula speech valve


People who have had their voice box removed due to cancer use artificial speech valves to restore vocal function. These valves require frequent uncomfortable changes due to contamination and these are estimated to cost the NHS £10 million per year. We have developed a valve resistant to contamination which avoids these frequent changes. Proposal sponsored by the University of Hull and approved at the December 2008 Yorkshire Fund Board meeting.

The University of Hull formed a spin out company in late 2009 Avoco Medical Ltd to exploit the technology and pitched for investment at the Connect Yorkshire Investment Forum on the 7th July 2010.

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HyperTech : Taking NMR and MRI to a new threshold in sensitivity, hyperpolarised compounds and smart imaging agents


HyperTech is a new hyperpolarization process, developed in the Psychology and Chemistry Departments at York, for increasing the magnetic resonance response of molecules. This makes their signals hundreds or thousands of times stronger in nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) experiments. The potential benefits of the process are much more detailed and powerful medical imaging methods and vastly increased sensitivity in analytical chemistry. Proposal sponsored by the University of York and approved at the December 2008 Yorkshire Fund Board meeting.
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Sheffield Therapy for Aphasia Rehabilitation


After stroke verbal communication may be impaired; intensive therapy can be effective but is difficult to deliver if resources are constrained. Our therapy software STAR (Sheffield Therapy for Aphasia Rehabilitation) delivers intensive therapy via computer. We are testing STAR with patients to improve the user interface and demonstrate its efficacy. Proposal sponsored by the University os Sheffield and approved at the September 2008 Yorkshire Fund Board meeting (Supported by Fusion IP)
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Electronically controlled dampers for mountain bikes


Researchers at the University of Sheffield have developed novel suspension technology for mountain bikes. Electronic controls are used to sense the severity of the terrain and optimize suspension performance accordingly. A first generation prototype was previously developed using Sheffield University's own proof of concept fund. The Yorkshire Concept Proof of Commercial Concept Fund is being used to develop a market ready prototype and to establish the most suitable route for commercial exploitation.

The University of Sheffield have formed a spin out company to exploit the technology, mr Shox and the company won the Investment Competition at venturefest Yorkshire 2010.

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3D FACIS: 3D Fast Acquisition, Characterisation and Identification System


We have developed and tested real time techniques for 3D storage and retrieval. These techniques are based on intelligent mathematical algorithms. Demonstration software is available for applications in the area of 3D face recognition. Our compression techniques can compress 3D human facial data by more than 2000 times without any quality compromise. Our search algorithms can search through large data sets in real-time for both verification (1:1) and identification (1: Many) purposes.

The University of Bradford  have created a spin out Tangentix  from their School of Computing, Informatics and Media to exploit this technology.  Investment has been provided by Enterprise Ventures, via its RisingStars Growth Fund and the South Yorkshire Investment Fund’s Seedcorn Fund. Funding has been secured to further Funding has been secured to further develop a technology demonstrator and validate the market opportunity.

For further information visit http://www.tangentix.com/

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Nanocomposite-Based Intumescent Coatings


The Sheffield Hallam team were able to use their expertise to overcome the industry-held belief that incorporation of small amounts of nanoparticle additives prevented the intumescent foam from expanding. Standard fire tests in gas fired furnaces confirmed that the incorporated nanoparticles increased the temperature range over which proprietary coatings are effective (compare the black and blue lines in Figure 2) and improved the adhesion of the coating to the steel girders (Figure 3). Note that after 60 minutes the furnace temperature is 950ºC, but the temperature of the steel is less than 500ºC. The nanoadditives also improved the hardness of the dried coating making off-site application more attractive.
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Novel Immunological Reagents for Research and Diagnostics


The aim of this project was to determine if multiple antibodies generated to different epitopes on the same protein target could be combined to generate increased detection sensitivity. If successful this project would provide a path to reagents with high sensitivity, high specificity and short production timescales, to address unmet need for sensitive detection and analysis of novel gene products (i.e. proteins) involved in diseases such as cancer.

Sheffield Hallam University have created a spin out to exploit this technology, S I Biolgics a division of  Sheaf Innovations Ltd. For further information visit  http://www.sibiologics.co.uk/

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Mitigation of Microbial-Induced Corrosion using Bio-Active Encapsulated Sol-Gel Coatings


Certain naturally occurring bacteria are known to inhibit the corrosion of metals. The problem is to find a way of effectively using such bacteria to inhibit the growth of biofilm, as a better alternative to biocide flushing. At Sheffield Hallam University we have developed a functional coating, derived from sol-gel technology that encapsulates the ‘protective’ bacteria. Laboratory and field trials (see figs*) have shown that this technology is a feasible alternative to biocides.
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Human Monoclonal Antibodies against the αIIβ3 Integrin


There are significant limitations in the use of mouse-derived antibodies, primarily because they elicit an immune response that blocks their effectiveness. This would be reduced if completely abolished if you use human antibodies. Furthermore the major therapeutic antibody ReoPro, which inhibits thrombosis, has been shown to react with both αIIbβ3 and αVβ3 with equal affinity and has been shown to distribute between platelets and endothelial cells. This coupled with a variety other interactions including the effect of shear stress means there is a potential to develop a range of antibodies of increased effectiveness. Thus specific anti-αIIbβ3 human monoclonal Fabs should have improved therapeutic characteristics and the strategy outlined below will allow the development of antibodies with different binding characteristics and therefore different and enhanced therapeutic potential.
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Micro-Reactor Chemical Production


The Team at the University of Hull has conclusively demonstrated that micro reactors offer many advantages in achieving cleaner, more atom efficient and chemically selective syntheses. The control of chemical reactions in micro reactors has been demonstrated to give faster reactions and improved product yields with greater product selectivity compared with conventional bench top methodology. Whilst these advantages offer clear and immediate benefits to the fine chemical and pharmaceutical industries in areas such as reaction optimisation and process development, the technology has not been developed in order to enable industrial quantities of product to be prepared; this was the key aim of this project.

The University of Hull have created a joint venture Chemtrix as a result of the co-operation between Dr. Paul Watts of The University of Hull and Lionix BV. Chemtrix BV has been established following investment from a consortium of Dutch organisations. The University retains a shareholding in the new company along with fellow founders LioniX BV. Chemtrix BV has secured an investment package worth up to £2 million and recently opened a US subsidiary.

For further information visit http://www.chemtrix.com/web/

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Development of Enteral Feeding Tubes


Development of a fail safe detection mechanism for the placement of nasogastric feeding tubes that is reliable and cheap to manufacture; comprising of a sensor which specifically detects stomach contents and signals to an external monitor that the tube is in the correct location. The sensor can operate over extended periods without the need for removal, providing long-term reassurance of correct positioning. The innovation is protected by PCT (international) Patent Application (filed 8 June 2007) and UK Patent Application (filed 8 June 2006). A prototype has been successfully demonstrated in laboratory conditions.
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A Novel Treatment for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease


This project relates to a novel monoclonal antibody-based regenerative therapy for COPD. We have identified the β1 integrin as a novel target for repair and regeneration in COPD, using allosteric modifying murine monoclonal antibodies (MAb) and hold patents in this area. We have demonstrated almost complete reversal of severe emphysematous damage in mouse lung and restoration of lung function following antibody treatment; the first ever reported example of reversal of damage in emphysema. Our objective through this project is to develop a human version of the antibody that will be a ‘lead’ clinical development candidate. In addition to developing a humanised version of the antibody we will also aim to develop a fully human version, but as this process is more unpredictable than the development of humanised version, both programmes will be carried out in parallel.
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Automated Safety Analysis Tool


The University of Hull have invented a new method for safety analysis and reliability called Hierarchically Performed Hazard Origin and Propagation Studies (HiP-HOPS) and developed a computerised tool that supports its application. The tool automates the construction and probabilistic analysis of system fault trees and FMEAs from system design models.
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3D Comet Assay


The work at Bradford has developed such an assay, the 3D Comet assay. This assay is a modified version of the well-established Comet assay, and functions by assessing cell sensitivity to a generic mutagen (UVA) at different intensities by incorporating cells into an agar gel at different well-defined depths.
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Ozone Plasma Microreactors for Water Purification and Wastewater Treatment


The team at the University of Sheffield have developed a microfluidic plasma reactor as part of a EPSRC Basic Technology programme with a testbed application for the production of ozone.
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Conversion of Biomass to Bio-Fuel using Microwave Processing


As a result of the problems faced in conventional torrefaction the team have chosen to investigate microwave torrefaction as an easily controlled mobile technology for increasing the energy density of biomass for use as fuel. There is an enormous universal, economic, environmental and security advantage of the microwaves technology.
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Switchable Adhesion Between Oppositely Charged Polyelectrolytes


This project has involved modifying surfaces as polymer-brushes, the strands of which can be designed to inter-penetrate another polymer surface in water. This technology allows for switchable adhesion in acid or base conditions, which has the advantage over other adhesive technologies. For example, in bottle-label removal current technology relies on the use of strongly caustic solutions or mechanical shredding processes which are environmentally unfriendly and energy-intensive. This innovation is currently being protected in the form of US patent rights, and confidentiality agreements with UK and US companies.
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Automatic Object Analysis


The Automatic Object Analysis System developed at York has the unique capability to estimate any visually apparent parameter about an object in a digital image. In its present form, the system is used to estimate attributes of human faces, including the age, gender and facial expression of an individual, but could potentially be applied to many other types of object. The technology has been developed to the stage of laboratory demonstration and a patent has been filed.
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Novel Drug Screening Assay Using Human Bladder Tissue


Relevant human tissue models are required to bridge the gap between animals and humans. The lining of the bladder (urothelium) is a direct target tissue for drug interventions in bladder disease; but crucially, it is also an important secondary target and toxicity site for all drugs, since most are urinary-excreted either unmodified or as metabolites. We have developed a robust and patented “biomimetic†human urothelial cell culture system as a research tool that is phenotypically and functionally equivalent to the native human tissue. For more information please visit the Biomimetic Urothelium website.

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MRSA: Novel Prevention and Therapy


The human body makes antibodies capable of recognising invading organisms and marking them for destruction by the immune system. The utilization of this capability has been the basis for vaccination, which has saved countless human lives over many years. The key to the success of this process is having the correct antibody. Recently advances in molecular genetics have allowed the creation of high titre, highly representative libraries of human antibodies. Concomitantly, we have identified a new class of MRSA targets for antibodies as part of our large portfolio of research, carried out over many years. The key to the invention is the use of the antibody library in conjunction with our novel targets.

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Fluorcanasite: A New Dental Ceramic


Fluorcanasite, a chain silicate glass-ceramic, has previously been shown to have a greater strength and lower manufacturing costs than existing dental ceramics. A new compositional variation of the Fluorcanasite has been developed at the University of Sheffield which demonstrates higher strength and toughness along with superior aesthetic qualities in comparison to commercially available glass-ceramics. This novel glass-ceramic has a narrow compositional range that helps to provide robust intellectual property protection which has been sought for both the composition and the usage.
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Testing and Accreditation of Green Roof Specific Materials


The University of Sheffield, Department of Landscape is in a position to establish a UK based green roof specific material testing house with accreditation from one of the main construction material standards accrediting organisations such as the Building Research Establishment (BRE), the British Board of Agreement (BBA) or the British Standards Institute (BSI).
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Terminal Sterilisation of Drug-Device Products using Radiation


Radiation-induced damage to the components of a drug-device product, such as biologics and drug carrier polymers, may be eliminated by appropriate selection of irradiation conditions. Examples of these include the physical state of the component, the temperature at which the irradiation is performed and the presence of selected free radical scavengers. The project involves a particular set of such conditions with the aim of proving that a biologic component can be protected within acceptable limits whilst achieving a Sterility Assurance Level of 1:106.
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RenderAIR: Room Acoustics Simulation Using Physical Modelling


Many algorithms can be used to simulate reverberation and hence distinguishing a new product can be difficult. However, the revolutionary approach taken with RenderAIR allows users to design and draw their desired recording space and accurately simulate the resulting reverberant effect using a physical model – a numerical solution to the underlying physics of sound propagation in the room being studied. This solution is unique in the market. Furthermore the design of the software facilitates the use of the many third-party 3-D graphical models of buildings and environments that are currently available on the web for e.g. GoogleEarth, based on industry standard 3-D graphical file formats.
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A Novel Technology For Producing Co-crystals


This project will enable the commercial development of a technology to prepare drug-guest co-crystals as a solvent free continuous manufacturing process. Our research has demonstrated successful formation of co-crystals using our novel approach. Further work is required to optimise the process and validate the clinical potential of the co-crystals produced. The work programme has been developed in consultation with industry and the data package produced will be used to support commercialisation discussions and attract early collaborative development work.
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Commercialisation of VCS (Volumetric Compensation Software)


Academics at the University of Huddersfield have developed a computer-based VCS (Volumetric Compensation Software) system that is able to predict, and then compensate for, errors due to geometric and thermal inaccuracy, all in real time. By interfacing with the machine tool controller, VCS is able to ensure the tool is in the right place, thereby removing up to 95% of the errors due to geometric and thermal issues.
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Novel Nanoporous Ceramic Materials


The University of Hull have developed a novel material that has attractive physical and chemical properties that are useful for a wide variety of commercial and industrial applications. The materials have been shown to be effective catalysts and as gas filters.
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Vector Steered Micro Aerial Vehicles


A vector thrust propulsion unit can change the direction of thrust to assist the MAV to change its flight course. The system has been developed specifically for controlling MAV in low speed, which has a much higher efficiency compared with conventional control surfaces. Vector thrust MAV is able to have increased maximum flight endurance from 40 to 55 minutes, and due to the direct force control on the thrust direction, the turn radius has decreased rapidly from 5 meters to less than 2 meters (manual flight measure 80cm), which is ideal for the urban mission.
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