We are delighted to introduce our ten Inventor Prize finalists! Read below to find out more about them and their inventions. Don’t forget to keep an eye on our blogs page where every month we will bring you a blog post from one of our finalists, giving you an inside look at their Inventor Prize journey.

Aergo – Responsive Postural Support, Hsin Hua (Sheana) Yu, Founder of Aergo Ltd @helloaergo

Aergo is a new seating system that provides bespoke posture support for young wheelchair users. The device has a network of inflatable pressure-sensitive air cells that promote comfort and prevent skin irritation and damage by adjusting to position changes automatically. The expandable frame also allows the system to grow and adapt to users as their condition evolves. The system is designed for children with a range of  conditions, including cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and spinal muscular atrophy. Sheana will be working with John Chilton School in Ealing and Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool.

Sheana says:

“Aergo was created to empower children of all abilities to do more with their lives. Finding the right postural support to keep young wheelchair users safe and comfortable is a huge challenge. As a result, many children with special needs find it difficult to fully engage with the world around them. As a design engineer with a passion for social impact, I wanted to find a better solution to managing posture for children with physical disabilities.”

Ambionic Arm, Ben Ryan, Director of Ambionics. @ambionics_uk

Ben Ryan founded Ambionics specifically to help children like his two-year old son, Sol, who lost his arm at 10 days old. As a former psychology teacher, Ben knew that the first two and a half years of a child’s life are crucial for brain development and learning. Yet 40-70% of children that age are not using prosthetics.

Using 3D printing and CAD software from Autodesk, the Ambionics project was born in Ben’s spare room in North Wales. Ben is currently trialling remote 3D scanning with families in Australia, North and South America, Europe and Africa.  Ambionics has also partnered with Warwick University School of Engineering and moves into the Menai Science Park in March.

Ben says:

“At the start of this journey, I knew nothing about prosthetics or engineering. I started out by making a sponge arm for Sol when he was five weeks old. This allowed him to understand the length, reach and feel that his future arms would have and also encouraged hand eye coordination and helped him to support himself when learning to sit up.  I added Velcro to the end of the sponge and to some of his toys, so Sol understood he could use the sponge arm to reach and pick up items around him. Then I taught myself how to use computer design software and began making digital prosthetics and testing hydraulic systems to control the grip. I’m really looking forward to working with Barclays Eagle Labs to refine the design for low volume manufacturing and certification.”

Canute, Ed Rogers, CEO of Bristol Braille Technology @Bristol_Braille

Bristol Braille Technology are a team of freelance engineers led by Ed Rogers, based in a hackspace on Philip Street, Bedminster. They’ve been working on ‘Canute’ in collaboration with the blind community, including Steph Sergeant for five years.

Not only will the Canute be radically more affordable at hundreds rather than thousands, it will also be the world’s first multiline digital Braille display. Existing displays cost thousands and only show one line. This makes it more useful for maths, music, textbooks and tables. It loads text files by SD card or USB connexion, acting as a stand-alone ebook reader, much like a Kindle.

Ed says:

“Whilst at university I became interested in Braille. It was being written off as an outdated medium, but the real issue was that the technology had been allowed to stagnate until it was no longer viable. Without Braille blind people are pushed towards illiteracy. It wouldn’t be acceptable for a sighted child not be taught to read at school and instead only given audio from a computer, so why should this be acceptable for blind children?”

Gameball Platform, Guillem Singla Buxarris, Co-founder and CEO, of Neurofenix Limited @neurofenix

The team of entrepreneurs at Neurofenix have invented an easy-to-use hand training device or Gameball connected to a tablet application which aims to make stroke rehabilitation affordable and engaging. Guillem and his co-founder Dimitris Athanasiou had relatives who suffered strokes. Driven by their passion to improve the life of stroke survivors and their frustration with the lack of support they receive after they leave the hospital, they founded Neurofenix. The team has co-created the Gameball Platform with stroke survivors, their families and physiotherapists from initial conception. It allows users to measure their progress and play entertaining games, either solely or against other users, in the comfort of their own homes, and they are set to transform rehabilitation from a lonely, expensive experience to an engaging and collaborative journey to recovery.

Guillem  says:

“1 in 6 people will have a stroke in their lifetime. Most will not have access to the therapy they need to recover and this has devastating consequences for them and their loved ones. We hope the Gameball will help improve mobility and regain independence.“ (1)

New Medical device , Dr Tsong Kwong, Director  of GWMV Ltd

An alternative approach in the field of medicine to benefit practitioners and healthcare systems.

Tsong  says:

“I have trained and worked up the surgical path however now am a GP Trainee.  My concept came out a conversation with a medical friend of mine. I’m not sure I would call myself an inventor or an entrepreneur – I am interested in technology and how it can advance healthcare”

NuCath, Nawar Al-Zebari, CEO of UroLogic

Nawar has invented a new catheter, made from smart materials and a simple design. Easy to use and possibly cheaper than current catheters (‘Foley catheters’). This catheter uses ‘shape memory’ to change shape inside the bladder, which lowers drainage and keeps less urine in the bladder, potentially reducing the chance of infection.

In the UK, over 500,000 serious urinary tract infections per year are contracted as a result of currently used indwelling catheters, accounting for up to 40% of all hospital-acquired infections and an annual mortality rate of over 2,000. The estimated cost to the NHS of treating these infections is around £2 billion annually (1)

Nawar says:

“As medical researcher, I work with new ideas and innovations everyday. I had wanted to create something using smart materials for some time. When someone in my family became ill, I saw first-hand how the catheter system could be improved. My relative, who was already undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy, had to fight off an infection too. I hope by improving the catheter system, I can help patients beat their main health issue without the added threat of a urinary tract infection.”

Smart Gum Shield, Robert Paterson (Director), of ORB Innovations @ORBInnovations

Robert Paterson has invented a smart gum shield that will be used for concussion research to aid understanding in where, when and why the injuries occur. Ultimately preventing misdiagnosed head injuries in sports such as rugby, American football and hockey.

Robert himself suffered a misdiagnosed head injury while he was in sixth form in Reading. He was knocked unconscious during a Rugby match and taken to hospital, where he was told he had a concussion and sent home. Within 48 hours he was back at hospital, after symptoms worsened. A CT scan found he had a subdural haematoma, a bleed inside the head.

Robert went on to graduate with a First Class Hons Masters in Design Engineering at Loughborough. After beginning work on this project a year ago, he won an inter-university Dragons Den-style competition, the Launch It prize worth £3k funding and IP consultancy.

Robert says:

“I’ve always wanted to be an inventor and make things that help people. Although having my own head injury misdiagnosed was very difficult at the time, it has inadvertently provided me with the motivation and insight to do this. My aim is to get an ORB’s smart gum shield into every rugby kit in the country, and drastically reduce misdiagnosed head injuries in sport.”

Smart Carbon Monoxide Detector – Billy Mitchell & Scott Wallace (Co-Founders of Smart Compliance) @Smart_CO1

They both began their careers  as apprentice electrician and now own their own company. The idea for the Smart Carbon Monoxide Detector came to them whilst chatting to a Local Authority gas manager who mentioned he was only able to access 30% of households he visited.

In recent trials the Smart Carbon Monoxide Detector has saved two lives. Currently only 1/5 UK households has a working Carbon Monoxide detector and 50 people a year die of Carbon Monoxide poisoning (1)

Billy says:

” We thought – if the gas man can’t get in, is there a way we could get the information out? That was how the idea was born. Manufacturers recommend weekly testing, which is very difficult for large social housing and private landlords who have a Duty of Care over their tenants. This matters because of the dangerous and devastating effects fire and smoke can have.”

Unity Door Handle. Connor Musoke-Jones, Director of Tru-Regard @TruRegard

Inspired by his friend and housemate, who found it difficult to open doors, Connor has invented an inclusive door handle that is easier and cheaper to install than fitting specialist doors. It has been developed in collaboration with people with various hand and arm disabilities, to be as intuitive as it is beautiful. Connor is currently on a sandwich year and working on the Unity Door Handle in conjunction with his studies.

Connor says:

“As a kid it was always my dream to become an inventor. My teachers told me that it wasn’t a job that existed anymore. Then, while studying Product Design at university, I lived with a friend who had a hand and a stump on the other arm, and would struggle to open doors. I realised that there hadn’t been an innovation in the door handle for quite some time and I began to consider creating an inclusive door handle.“


Spacelink , Mark Singleton, CEO of Startlink Systems

Spacelink is a green building material that can be mass-produced. It is a new way of joining fibreglass box and tube without metal or adhesive to build lightweight structures. It is 40% of the weight of steel that supports the same load and reduces CO2 emissions by 80%. It doesn’t rust or conduct electricity and can be disassembled for easy handling. It offers a structural alternative to timber and steel that outperforms both. Spacelink won the Travis Perkins Innovation Award 2016.

Mark says:

“With my architectural training, I’m interested in new and better ways of building. In 2012, we built the Startlink house out of pultruded fibreglass. Three storeys high, it was built without concrete or steel on innovative fibreglass pile foundations. Spacelink takes this a lot further and costs less.From lightweight bridges, temporary structures, railway infrastructure, off-shore and marine applications to very affordable housing that can be purchased without a mortgage, it opens new doors. That’s quite exciting.”