In a world going through such a huge period of transition, it may not be surprising to learn just how many new ideas and innovative projects the UK is in the process of creating.
From some of the most unique inventions in the world of robotics to niche advancements in healthcare, we’ve put together a list of the most cutting edge and forward-thinking innovation projects in the UK at the moment.
First up is BladeBUG Limited who are developing an innovative walking robotic device to keep up with the growing needs of the offshore wind industry, the device is designed to remotely perform inspection and maintenance of wind turbine blades.
By developing such cutting-edge and advanced robots to assist technicians in the field, they are also offering significant health and safety advantages while also minimising turbine losses.
From one form of robotics to another, Edinburgh-based company Touchlab has been working on a pretty creative concept – an electronic skin that provides robots with a human-like sense of touch and feel. Thinner than human skin and using “patented triaxial technology”, this electronic skin “represents the ‘holy grail’ of e-skin, capable of detecting forces and their directions in 3D like no other sensor.”. Founder & CEO, Zaki Hussein, cites Touchlab as his second startup, saying “I was fascinated by the idea of tiny robots that could go inside our body and cure diseases.”
In 2020, a number of groundbreaking health projects received £32m in government funding as a way to revolutionise the delivery of NHS healthcare. One such project is the University of Edinburgh led, InlightenUs.
Described as a walk-through cancer diagnosis, the project received £5.4 million of government funding in order to generate detailed 3D images to detect early onset cancer diagnoses.
Working in conjunction with both Nottingham and Southampton universities, the new research will initially be developed for use on hospital wards and GP surgeries. The aim is that by 2050, patients will be able to effectively walk through airport-style X-Ray scanners, which will be able to pick up detailed images of structures that current technology is unable to get to, in order to reveal any hidden tumours within the human body.
Another innovative project in receipt of said funding is emPOWER. Led by researchers at the University of Bristol, the project focuses on robotics muscles. Gaining £6 million in order to “develop artificial implantable muscles in humans to aid muscle ageing and disabilities.”
From patients who may have suffered a stroke to those living with diseases such as muscular dystrophy, the goal of the project is to use highly targeted robotics in order to challenge the current limitations of current assistive technology. The aim is to improve quality of life, while also reducing costs to the NHS, by 2050.
From healthcare to agriculture, picking up its sixth innovation award in the form of a £10m grant from UKRI’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) is Entocycle. As the “UK’s leading insect farming company”, they are attempting to revolutionise the animal feed industry by creating a more sustainable food chain.
The company rears insect larvae, which produce protein in a more efficient way than farmed animals or soy, and feeds them on local food waste. With a tagline stating “Protein that doesn’t cost the Earth”, the company produces a much smaller carbon footprint than that of its more traditional competitors.
These are just a handful of exciting innovative projects being created, developed, and nurtured in the UK in current times, but with more and more funding being plunged in the area, this is just the beginning of cutting-edge innovation projects to come.