Thu 24 Aug 17
A device, which enables you to control your smartphone with the wink of an eye, could soon be in full production thanks to a £15,000 grant from a new innovation fund, set up to help ensure bright ideas become a reality.
The EyeWink is the brainchild of two senior research officers at Essex and promises to provide a hands-free, voice-free means to completing everyday tasks.
It has numerous applications, from the fun – enabling joggers to change their music on the move, to the more serious – helping to make life easier for those with disabilities, for whom even the simplest of tasks can be a challenge.
Through their work, Davide Valeriani and Ana Matran-Fernandez are working on brain-computer interfaces, a technology that allows users to control external devices with their brain. They came up with the idea of EyeWink and soon built a working prototype which was showcased at the London Science Museum and appeared on ITV News.
Now, thanks to the grant from the Knowledge Gateway Innovation Fund, they hope to produce their first batch of EyeWink devices.
The Start-up Hub, which opened earlier this year, provides practical help and support, as well as hot-desk space, to budding entrepreneurs. It is currently home to 14 businesses.
Incubation Manager, Simon Mead, explained: “For some time we have been providing business advice to our students – over 400 have benefitted from our programmes, covering everything from financial planning, to registering a business and building a website.
“In January, we opened the start-up hub, which also provides them with office space. Now through the innovation fund, we are able to offer much-needed funding, to help them move their businesses to the next stage.”
The other businesses to be awarded funding were:
Martyn Hinson and Johnathan Fisher are both computer games designers, who have been supported by the Games Hub programme, based on the Knowledge Gateway. They’ll be using the funding to market their latest products.