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  1. Spin-Out Companies
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Spin-Out Companies

Research discoveries are developed into commercial products and services, creating economic and social benefits through the creation of spin-out companies.

Heliex Power Ltd

Heliex Power Ltd was created from the research and development activities of Professors Ian Smith and Nikola Stosic at the Compressor Centre within the School of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences. The company is managed by entrepreneur Dan Wright.

Following a £2m industrial investment in late 2010, Heliex Power designed, manufactured and sell twin screw steam expanders. The steam expander is essentially a novel type of rotary steam engine that will be used to generate electrical power to feed into the electricity supply grid. This steam engine recovers energy from waste steam produced in industries such as manufacturing and power generation and from geothermal energy.

Possible further applications include:

  • electricity generation;
  • the oil, gas and chemical industries;
  • pharmaceutical manufacturing;
  • marine propulsion;
  • food and drink processing.

Research has indicated that the energy recoverable by the systems in Europe and North America alone could rival that generated by wind turbines globally.

Real-TiVirtual Tutor Ltd

The IV (Intravenous) Virtual Tutor was originally developed by Professor Maggie Nicol from the School of Health Sciences. It is an interactive software training package for intravenous infusion devices that can demonstrate competency in IV pump use and management.

Virtual Tutor Ltd, now a venture with e-learning specialist, Xor Ltd, is managed by entrepreneur Michael Ter-Berg to develop online virtual learning environments, including comprehensive learning content and testing, starting with Virtual IV Tutor (intravenous Pumps).

The aim of Virtual Tutor is to deliver comprehensive and consistent continuing education for nurses and doctors that is available 24/7. This frees up trainers to focus on providing expert advice and testing knowledge and skills.

Totempower Energy Systems

Totempower was formed in 2010 to commercialise intellectual property which enhances the aerodynamic efficiency of wind turbines, conceived by Dr Simon Prince based in the School of Engineering.

The company, led by entrepreneur Wolf Dietrich, has since developed this wind-turbine technology that utilises wind energy efficiently, particularly at low wind speeds, and created a turbine design which is an aesthetically pleasing eco-friendly structure. Additionally, it has quiet operation and wind conversion/extraction efficiency as high as or higher than, the current proven turbine designs, all at a lower manufacturing and installation cost.

Thomson Screening Solutions

Thomson Screening Solutions is a company founded by Professor David Thomson from the School of Health Sciences, and builds on a software package, developed by Professor Thomson, which is already in use in a number of Primary Care Trusts across England. The program offers products and services to improve the quality and cost-efficiency of child vision screening.

Approximately 15% of children in UK schools have poor vision which, if undetected can affect a child's social and educational development. The good news is that in the majority of cases vision can be improved with glasses or some other form of treatment. Unfortunately, vision screening in schools in the UK is poorly organised and many children are currently falling through the net. There is no national co-ordination enforcing schools' vision screening programmes and no administration support meaning that screening is inconsistent regionally and prone to errors. The new software will address these issues to improve the efficacy of national screening programmes.

City Occupational Ltd

Professor John Barbur, from the Applied Vision Research Centre, has developed a novel vision testing system known as Advanced Vision and Optometric Tests (AVOT). AVOT is a self-calibrating system that delivers computer generated tests via a high quality CRT screen that assess different aspects of visual function.

The company, led by Professor Barbur, provides the range of AVOT tests to the market, but in particular one known as Colour Assessment and Diagnosis (CAD), is an accurate method for detecting colour vision deficiencies. The CAD system was created and developed at City with support from the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) and FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) leading to the spin out company City Occupational which has successfully sold the system in the UK and overseas.

Development of CAD was influenced by occupational health standards, for example, in the aviation sector where certain roles require a good standard of colour vision in order to carry out safety critical tasks. CAD is more sensitive, accurate and reproducible than other widely used tests, which fail to quantify the degree of colour vision loss and hence can't be used to set minimum colour vision standards. CAD also demonstrates comparable specificity and sensitivity to the current gold standard test method.