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MyGug: From WiSAR to Harvard Innovation Labs

WiSAR Client Company, MyGug, has today been announced as one of 28 global startups selected for the prestigious Harvard Climate Entrepreneur’s Circle programme, an incubation program for high-potential ventures working to address climate change.

The Harvard Climate Circle aims to cultivate the next generation of climate entrepreneurs who are actively uncovering new, unexpected ways to take on climate change. Climate Circle participants have access to world-class 1:1 coaching, pro bono legal counsel, warm connections to industry leaders, negotiations advising, and a peer group of ventures that are all working on innovative solutions to tackle climate change. The program is spearheaded by the Harvard Innovation Labs, HBS’s Business and Environment Initiative (BEI) and Harvard Alumni for Climate and the Environment.

Cork based startup MyGug, offer a complete food waste treatment system that operates in all weather and climate conditions, to turn food waste into biogas and liquid fertiliser.

MyGug founder, Kieran Coffey, approached WiSAR Lab to develop and refine the MyGug prototype, an innovative micro-scale anaerobic digester that improves food waste management in domestic and small business settings, by turning organic matter into renewable fuel. Prior to engagement with WiSAR, an initial MyGug prototype had been operational for 18 months however the controls of the initial MyGug prototype utilised a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) which was prohibitively expensive for the target sector.

Working with the company through the Enterprise Ireland Innovation Voucher programme, WiSAR researchers redefined the hardware and firmware of the MyGug anaerobic digester prototype, and developed a database and web interface through an open source IOT platform to generate performance data. The system is fully automated and insulated, providing a convenient and efficient food waste disposal solution, which is environmentally friendly, produces no odour and has no vermin issues. The work carried out by WiSAR provided MyGug with a more cost-efficient PCB prototype, better meeting the needs of the target end user.

“The Harvard Climate Circle is helping ventures with fantastic climate innovations get to scale faster,” says Rebekah Emanuel, director of social entrepreneurship at the Harvard Innovation Labs, and Chair of the Climate Circle. “We are redoubling our commitment to accelerating ventures that are addressing climate head on, and look forward to seeing the incredibly important work that the second annual Climate Circle cohort accomplishes.

About Harvard Innovation Labs

The Harvard Innovation Labs is a vibrant, cross-disciplinary ecosystem for the Harvard community to explore innovation and entrepreneurship while building deeper connections.

This article was first published on the WiSAR website.

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Innovation Voucher Clinics now available across the West/NorthWest

Companies across the West and North West can avail of a range of Innovation Voucher clinics in March run by our regional Technology Gateways. PEM (IT Sligo), WiSAR (LyIT) and MET (GMIT) provides Irish Industry with a wealth of knowledge, expertise and experience in areas such as MedTech, Precision Engineering, Manufacturing, Hardware, software and IoT, among many others. Each Gateway works in conjunction with industry to aid the research and development of innovative products and services.

The Enterprise Ireland Innovation Voucher Programme is an ideal opportunity for companies currently looking for help or guidance with research and innovation. By availing of an Innovation Voucher, you will have the opportunity to collaborate with expert regional Knowledge Providers on your innovation product or problem.

Technology Gateways can assist in creating an environment of Research, Development and innovation for companies and projects of all shapes and sizes.

Free one-to-one consultations are now available to take you through the Innovation Voucher process from start to finish. Further information and registration details of March Innovation Voucher clinics are below:

PEM & WiSAR Technology Gateways (InPerson clinics)
28th – 31st March

PEM Technology Gateway, IT Sligo and WiSAR Technology Gateway, LYIT are registered knowledge providers and have completed numerous projects for SMEs in the region. 

The Contract Research Unit (CRU), Precision Engineering and Manufacturing Technology Gateway (PEM) & Wireless Sensor and Applied Research Gateway (WiSAR) are here to help companies carry out R&D activities and aid in the development of new products or services. 

The Innovation Clinics are for companies to avail of a one-to-one review with the CRU, PEM and WiSAR. Follow up appointments can also be arranged where appropriate, to assist you with an Innovation Voucher application.

For more information on individual CRU/PEM/WiSAR clinics see below:

MET Technology Gateway (Online)  
29th – 30th March  

Located in Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology’s Galway campus, the Enterprise Ireland Medical and Engineering Technologies (MET) Gateway is an interdisciplinary applied research centre, dedicated to supporting Research, Development and Innovation activities in the MedTech, LifeSciences and Engineering sectors across five technology themes:  

  • Medical Imaging Technologies 
  • Anatomical Modelling & Physiological Replication 
  • Data Analytics & Visualisation 
  • Design Engineering & Verification 
  • Medicinal Nutrition & Sport Technologies 

Offering cutting-edge, industry focused solutions for Start-Up’s, SMEs and larger organisations across the MedTech, Engineering and Lifesciences sectors.  MET has expertise in a range of applied technologies relevant to companies in the product engineering and design application phase. 

See below to learn more about MET’s capabilities and book a slot: 

MET Online Clinics (29th – 30th March)
Registration

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Pioneering supercomputer at WiSAR will facilitate fundamental research for industry

Following a successful submission to a recent Enterprise Ireland, Capital Equipment Fund, LYIT & WiSAR Technology Gateway secured €250,000 for a pioneering supercomputer. The funding will be used to secure a new state-of-the-art high-performance computer (HPC) Data Ingestion and Artificial Intelligence (AI) platform.

Dr Michael McCann, of LYIT Department of Computing, explains that “Supercomputing allows for the concurrent processing of enormous volumes of data at exceptionally high speeds and is a key resource for scientists, engineers and technologists in the digital age, in solving a wide array of highly complex problems.”

“Data-driven business solutions present substantial opportunity for industry, driving next generation product innovation, reducing production costs, streamlining processes, increasing profits, and accelerating speed to market. However, there are many challenges inhibiting businesses, particularly SME’s, from fully capitalising on the data economy, including a lack of in-house competence and high infrastructure costs. These barriers have led to a growing demand for high performance computing services among our industry clients.”

“This data ingestion and AI HPC platform will facilitate fundamental research and a wide range of collaborative industry projects at LYIT, as data analysis and AI continues to underpin and inform decision-making across many sectors including healthcare, Fintech and industry 4.0.”

“This test bed will also be a critical resource under the impending Atlantic Technological University, being the first such supercomputing facility within the three partner institutions.”

Dr Gertie Taggart, Head of Faculty of Engineering and Technology at LYIT, welcomed the announcement. “We are delighted that the delivery of this state-of-the-art supercomputing system will enable our scientific community, student base, and industry partners to pursue cutting-edge research on a broad range of topics.”

“High performance computing is at the core of advancement in the digital age, having transformed many sectors. This high-spec facility will allow us to perform cutting-edge simulations and become a pioneer in data-intensive critical applications using AI, data analytics and machine learning. “

“The investment aligns not only with the strategic vision of the new Atlantic Technological University in becoming a leading research institution, but also with the policy objectives set out in the Governments new national AI strategy.”

“Ireland boasts a vibrant and globally recognised AI ecosystem. A recent report found that we had the highest share of businesses using AI applications among EU member states. The next generation of AI applications demand highly sophisticated computational ability and investment in supercomputing infrastructure like this, will be an important enabler in sustaining Ireland’s competitive advantage.”

“This investment in research-intensive, world-class equipment will not only bolster our capacity to deliver industry responsive research at LYIT but will also be an important resource in building an agile knowledge economy in the North West region.”

Dr Stephen Seawright, the WiSAR Technology Gateway manager in LYIT, outlined that “This state-of-the-art computing architecture will complement the existing capital investments made by Enterprise Ireland recently.”

“We will be working with our academic colleagues in the Faculty of Engineering and Technology to launch a flagship technical training programme for industry in utilising the new facility.”

“As more and more businesses seek to leverage the commercial value of data in the digital age, continued investment in transformative technologies is pivotal in ensuring indigenous businesses can compete on the global stage. We are looking forward to showcasing our HPC platform which will enrich our research offering at LYIT and position us at the forefront of technical innovation.”

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600kN Universal Tensile Tester unveiled at PEM Technology Gateway

PEM Technology Gateway has recently commissioned an up to 600kN Universal Tensile Tester following a successful capital call submission to Enterprise Ireland. The installation of this capability was driven by the very limited commercial testing available in Ireland in the 400-600kN range and industry’s need to have easier access to such equipment.

The high-capacity universal tensile testing machine can perform tensile and compression testing, as well as shear, flexure, peel, tear, cyclic and bend tests. The addition of this equipment provides a unique service to Ireland’s industry in areas such as:

  • Construction equipment and machinery
  • Heavy equipment and machinery
  • Agricultural equipment and machinery
  • Marine engineering
  • Fishing
  • Automotive
  • Aerospace
  • Toolmaking

Dr Russell Macpherson, PEM Technology Gateway Manager highlighted the importance of this equipment to industry in the North-West and nationwide saying “we actively encourage businesses to use our specialised equipment and the addition of this state-of-the-art instrument enhances what we offer. We can help with one-off test pieces and for prototyping purposes, but we’re not limited to that, we are always looking for new ways to help businesses. Just give us a call.”

PEM can also help with technical, engineering and manufacturing questions and issues. For example:

  • Develop an initial design concept by taking your idea and bringing it to life using visuals such as CAD models and working drawings, or even a physical 3D print of the product
  • Advising and supporting with design for manufacture (DFM) considerations to help you get to the manufacturing phase of your product development which will save you time and money
  • Executing the physical machining or fabrication of your product resulting in either a prototype or the finished article
  • Improving or optimising existing products, utilising our onsite testing and simulation capabilities

Crucially, PEM are also available to assist companies navigate the various funding agencies and models that may be available to help fund any work they undertake for businesses.

Should you have any questions about testing capabilities or if you would like any further information contact the team at PEM.

TUS to Break Ground on €10M Polymer Centre of Excellence in Athlone

Photo: Dr Ian Major, R&D programme manager, TUS; TUS Governing Body Chair Josephine Feehily, Dr Noel Gately, APT centre manager; TUS President Professor Vincent Cunnane, Emer Bourke, project manager health and safety

The Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest (TUS) will shortly commence work on a new polymer centre of excellence, valued at €10 million, on its Athlone campus.

The two-phase project, which is due to break ground early next year and conclude in March 2023, will comprise a 1,330 square metre extension and refurbishment of existing facilities, including R&D and office space.

The new polymer centre will form part of the university’s STEM Quadrangle, which links TUS’s existing €36 million state-of-the-art engineering facility, its forthcoming STEM building, and its Applied Polymer Technologies (APT) Technology Gateway.

Artist’s impression of TUS’s new €10 million polymer centre of excellence in Athlone, which will see APT’s existing footprint doubled

APT, which is based in TUS’s Materials Research Institute, was recently awarded €4 million in HEA funding to renovate its existing polymer R&D facilities, which provides polymer technology solutions for companies in the medical, composite, sustainability, and pharmaceutical sectors.

A further €4 million in Enterprise Ireland capital equipment funding has been awarded to the technology gateway since 2019, with more than €1.8 million of that allocated in 2021 alone.

This coupled with donations of equipment from engineering and polymer suppliers, capital equipment investment by Enterprise Ireland into COMAND, TUS’s other technology gateway in Athlone, and the university’s own projected investment of €1.5 million brings the total value of the new polymer R&D centre to more than €10 million.

“We’re delighted to get this continued investment into our polymer research capabilities. Building on our strong heritage as a national polymer research centre of excellence, this new facility will further strengthen our offering to industry,” APT centre manager Dr Noel Gately explained.

“In addition to doubling our existing footprint, we are also enhancing our analytical capabilities in our contract services offering and enhancing our design and processing equipment right across the board.”

Among the leading-edge R&D equipment to be housed in the new facility is a crystallography suite, a scanning electron microscope with katana microtome, a circular plastics suite, an industry 4.0 lab and a suite of autonomous mobile robots.

According to Dr Declan Devine, director of the Materials Research Institute at TUS, the new facility will enable TUS to further unlock its latent research capacity and better reflect the world-class polymer research already underway at the technological university.

“Our mission is to train and produce highly skilled polymer and biomedical engineers and having the facilities and capabilities to do that through this new state-of-the-art facility and equipment will be a massive advantage.”

He continued, “It will also open up more industries to us – a wider client base, helping us attract more high calibre researchers and aiding us in developing strategic partnerships across the different sectors, ultimately leading to increased jobs and prosperity for the wider Midlands region.”

TUS President Professor Vincent Cunnane welcomed the continued investment and called polymer R&D an area of strategic importance to TUS.

“In our journey to becoming a technological university we doubled our number of research-active students, which is a fantastic achievement, and we want to continue increasing our numbers and our research output. This new state-of-the-art facility will allow us both the space for additional talent and for more R&D to be carried out,” he said.

“Polymer engineering is a key enabling technology – it’s hugely important in the MedTech, construction and clean energy sectors – and through the MRI and APT, TUS is providing research solutions to industrial-based problems, among them the development of recycling technologies and bio-based plastics. This additional investment into our capabilities will enable us to drive Ireland’s national polymer research agenda to the next level.”

APT has been at the forefront of delivering technology solutions to Irish industry since the inception of Enterprise Ireland’s technology gateway programme in 2013, helping companies develop new products and processes and assisting them in dealing with the dual impacts of Brexit and COVID-19.

“Since 2013, APT has completed over 825 projects with companies to a value of over €5.3 million. These levels of spending clearly demonstrate the value companies see from working with APT and gaining access to their vast knowledge base and state-of-the-art equipment suites,” explained Mark Whelan, manager of the Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway Network.

“The level of industry engagement was key in the awarding of significant capital equipment funding over the past three years to ensure both the APT and COMAND technology gateways in Athlone stay at the forefront of technology; TUS should be congratulated for its success in securing this €10 million, and I eagerly await my first visit to the centre of excellence.”

In addition to its research and development capabilities, TUS’s new polymer centre of excellence will act as a showcase facility for industry and will feature R&D equipment from leading injection moulding and polymer processing companies like Sumitomo Demag, TSM, Arburg, and Dynisco/EMC.

The construction works, which will commence on January 7, 2022, and span 14 months, will be undertaken by Bourke Builders Ltd of Ballina, Co. Mayo.

 

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CAPPA Receives €140,000 worth of Funding for New Equipment

The Centre for Advanced Photonics and Process Analysis (CAPPA) is delighted to announce the centre has received over €140,000 worth of funding for new equipment through the Enterprise Ireland Capital Equipment Fund. The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar TD, announced the 32 successful applicants of the Capital Equipment Fund administered by Enterprise Ireland through the Technology Gateway and Technology Centre Capital. CAPPA will purchase a scientific grade InfraRed (IR) thermography camera. The purpose of this fund is to increase interaction between the Technology Gateways and Technology Centres with industry in Ireland. The Capital Equipment Fund will enable more companies to engage in research and development and enhance the service offering to industry for each of the centres.

CAPPA received this funding under the second stream of the capital equipment call, which focuses on new and emerging technologies that are of interest to industry. The successful applications were selected by a rigorous evaluation process based on the eligibility criteria for the call, which included a strong track record of industry engagement and all applications, were reviewed by a panel that included external independent experts.

CAPPA acquired equipment funding for a scientific grade InfraRed (IR) thermography camera. The camera is capable of capturing images of the temperature of object surfaces from afar, creating what are known as thermogram images. The camera will have a resolution of below 0.02 °C and will measure temperatures between – 30 °C to 1500 °C. Sample industries which regularly employ thermal cameras for non-destructive diagnostics are; Electronic/Electrical (e.g. imaging hotspots in integrated circuits), Chemical (e.g. imaging heat flow in reactions), Plastics (e.g. imaging injection moulding), Automotive (e.g. assessing joints and welds), Energy (e.g. testing solar cells), Steel (e.g. steel and slag monitoring), safety (e.g. early fire detection) and Health (e.g. body temperature anomalies).

CAPPA plan to create more applications for the camera, by pairing it with MIR laser and LED sources, creating MIR chemical sensors. The strong interaction of MIR light with molecules has resulted in the MIR to be known as the molecular fingerprint region, as slight changes in molecular structure can result in significant changes in the fingerprint, and subsequently, the region is a powerful tool for determining the chemical composition of samples. The MIR is a fast-evolving market, with light sources covering far more of the IR, with decreasing cost, coming available habitually. While the evolution in the sensing market has mainly been in gas sensing, we believe the same evolution is expected in the chemical imaging sector. CAPPA will provide MIR chemical imaging capabilities, not yet available in the commercial market, to Irish industry, shaping companies for the near future chemical imagining systems.

This new piece of equipment will extend the existing service offering at CAPPA. The new equipment will enable CAPPA to increase its engagement with companies in the pharmaceutical, medical device, photonics, and food and beverage sectors and will provide a modernized offering to their current industry partners. It will also allow for the development and execution of fundamental research on which future applied and industrially led projects will be built.

This was the second Capital Equipment Call awarded in 2021. The previous call, the outcome of which was announced in July 2021, focused on equipment that has a well-establishing industrial need and is commonly used for specific applications. CAPPA received funding for a benchtop UV Raman and a benchtop nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometer in the previous call. You can learn more about previous capital equipment calls here and more about the research and facilities available at CAPPA here.

This article was first published on the CAPPA website.

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MET Gateway offers free online €5K Innovation Voucher consultations

Have an idea for a new product or service? Need support to develop it? The Medical and Engineering Technology Gateway (MET), based in Galway Mayo Institute of Technology, are here to advise and support you in developing your idea.

On Wednesday 24th and Thursday 25th November, MET Technology Gateway are offering FREE online one-to-one consultations on the Enterprise Ireland €5k Innovation Voucher. The consultation will take you through the process from start to finish.

Who should attend?

If you are an entrepreneur or company with an innovative idea, product or process that requires assistance with making it market ready, this 1-to-1 consultation will greatly assist you in this process. The team at the Medical and Engineering Technology Gateway, Galway are here to advise and support you in developing your idea. MET Gateway are part of a nationwide network of technology gateways, each with their own set of expertise and can help you find the right partner to support your needs.

MET Technology Gateway

Located in Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology’s Galway campus, the Enterprise Ireland Medical and Engineering Technologies (MET) Gateway is an interdisciplinary applied research centre, dedicated to supporting Research, Development and Innovation activities in the MedTech, LifeSciences and Engineering sectors across five technology themes:

  • Medical Imaging Technologies that allow for prototype devices to be tested and evaluated under clinically relevant simulated use conditions.
  • Anatomical Modelling and Physiological Replication that translate medical data into engineering data and then into clinically relevant anatomical models with accompanying simulation systems.
  • Data Analytics and Visualisation: MET has expertise in data analytics and the visualisation of clinical data that inform the design of next generation medical device prototypes.
  • Design Engineering and Verification: offering services in prototyping and resign verification technologies such as CAD design; rapid prototyping, technical reviews and materials and product characterisation.
  • Medicinal Nutrition and Sport: with expertise in Nutrition and Sports Science, the research team assist the food industry in all aspects of novel food development including food analysis and testing, human intervention trials, product innovation, development and optimisation.

To learn more about our capabilities and how we can help you, see www.metcentre.ie or contact Sharon White at sharon.white@gmit.ie or 091 742329.

Date: 24th/25th November 2021

Time: 11am – 4pm

Registration

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CREDIT Gateway secures funding to support R&D needs of industry in Mobile – Waste Heat Recovery.

In the latest Enterprise Ireland Capital Call for Equipment, the CREDIT Technology Gateway at DkIT  has secured funding to support the research and development needs of Irish industry in the Mobile – Waste Heat Recovery (M-WHR) sector.

Mobile – Waste Heat Recovery unit

Recovery of the industrial waste heat is a cost-effective and environmentally sustainable approach for energy supply across industry and business. Using the waste heat from industrial processes to heat buildings or create electricity can dramatically reduce the amount of energy consumed by industry generally.

Mobile energy storage systems transported by vehicular means may bridge the gap between heat source and demand site in cases where a pipeline-bound connection cannot be realised cost effectively. For the transportable heat storage unit, phase change materials (PCMs) or sorption materials have shown strong potential due to their high energy storage capacity.

The mobile energy storage vehicle which utilises innovative Phase Change Materials (PCMs) is more flexible in matching the supply and demand and has no geographical or major infrastructural constraints. It also has various form to release the stored energy and can avoid the potential issues caused by the energy inhomogeneity.

M-WHR technology can significantly reduce the initial investment in the distribution network and recovery infrastructure. Also, the distribution becomes more flexible and adaptive to the dynamic needs of clients. The waste heat can be collected from wastewater, waste steam, waste flue gas, and other industrial residuals. The recovered waste heat is usually regarded as clean, sustainable and renewable energy as it does not require additional resources and cause negligible effect on the environment. Therefore, the reuse, recycling, and final disposal cost of the whole life cycle of recovery, storage, transportation, and distribution of industrial waste heat are optimised using M-WHR to achieve the effect of energy conservation and emission reduction from the perspective of supply chain optimisation.

A dedicated location for storage calibration has been identified within the CREDIT Technology Gateway DkIT campus where the proposed M-WHR testbed can be parked while awaiting deployment off site to customer industrial premises. It is envisaged that the storage testbed will spend most of its time on industrial partner sites and so short periods should be spent on campus.

To access this equipment outlined above contact info@creditgateway.ie for more information.

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New Extension to GMIT iHUB and MET Medical Imaging Suite Formally Opened

An Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar visited GMIT Galway on Friday, 5 November 2021 to formally open the new extension to GMIT’s Enterprise Ireland funded Innovation Hub (iHub) and new MET Medical Imaging Suite at the Galway (Dublin Road) campus.

Mr Varadkar was welcomed to the campus by GMIT President Dr Orla Flynn, the Mayor of Galway City Councillor Colette Connolly, and GMIT VP Research & Innovation Dr Rick Officer, together with invited guests from the business community and MedTech industry.

GMIT’s iHub has doubled in size to 2,400 m2, accommodating hi-tech incubation space for eleven dedicated MedTech R&D units; seven incubation units for start-ups in the Software, Digital Tech, Connected Health sectors; a co-working space; an events space; social hubs and breakout meeting and networking areas. It provides a dedicated entrepreneur hub space for GMIT researchers, staff, undergraduate and postgraduate students and industry to work collaboratively on the creation and development of innovative ideas for new products and services that can compete on a global scale. It supports Enterprise Ireland’s New Frontiers programme and the dedicated women’s entrepreneurship EMPOWER programme implemented in collaboration with CUA partners IT Sligo and Letterkenny IT and funded by the European Social Fund as part of the Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning.

Inside the building is GMIT’s new Medical Imaging Suite operated by the Enterprise Ireland Medical and Engineering Technology Gateway (MET). Representing a significant investment by Enterprise Ireland, and supported by GMIT, the new Philips Azurion 7 M20 fluoroscope provides state of the art imaging capabilities to industry, research and academic partners. This facility, providing 3D augmented digital fluoroscopy, can be used for device demonstration, evaluation and testing and will also be used to provide training on new technologies and devices for clinicians and staff.

Commenting on the new iHub and Medical Imaging Suite, Minister Leo Varadkar says: “This expansion is a real boost for both current and future entrepreneurs in Galway and the surrounding area. This new space will provide start-ups with the space and network to develop new ideas and collaborate with industry and their peers. I think it’s a really exciting opportunity and I look forward to hearing about the success of companies who originated from here in the future.”

“These last two years have highlighted the importance and value of having such a thriving MedTech sector in Ireland. We want to grow the industry further here and are providing the investment and infrastructure to make it happen. This new Medical Imaging Suite is a state of the art piece of equipment and will be a great resource for researchers and industry alike.”

“I wish GMIT the very best of luck with this expansion and to any entrepreneurs with an idea in the MedTech space, this facility and the expert network around it is here for you. Take a chance on your idea and the Government will back you.”

Dr Rick Officer, GMIT VP Research and Innovation, says: “The official opening of GMIT’s stunning iHub extension and the Medical Imaging Suite is a really proud day for GMIT. It culminates years of hard work by many staff in GMIT, which has been well recognised by Enterprise Ireland’s generous support. These superb new facilities demonstrate GMIT’s ongoing commitment to our institutional mission of education, research, and innovation. The impact of these investments for the people and enterprises we support will be phenomenal.”

Stephen Creaner, Executive Director, Enterprise Ireland, says: “Surrounded by the formidable multinational medical device sector in Galway, the GMIT iHub plays a key role in supporting the increasing number of Irish-owned MedTech companies set up by local MedTech professionals and by third-level researchers funded under the Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Fund and BioInnovate Programmes.”

George McCourt, Head of Innovation & Enterprise, GMIT, says: “This new extension provides additional expertise & capability for start-ups in the west region to drive regional job creation with a particular focus on export markets. I would like to thank Enterprise Ireland for their iHub extension funding and critical support programmes for our client companies.”

Manager of the Medical Imaging Suite Sharon White says: “MET is an applied research centre, dedicated to supporting Research, Development and Innovation activities in the MedTech, Life Sciences and Engineering sectors. This new facility perfectly complements our existing expertise in medical imaging, anatomical modelling and physiological replication. Additionally, it provides our industry partners with access to facilities not readily available outside of the clinical environment and will serve to drive innovation in the development of new medical devices and technologies.” 

For further information please contact George McCourt at GMIT’s Innovation Hub, email:  george.mccourt@gmit.ie or see www.gmitihubs.ie or Sharon White at the MET Technology Gateway, Sharon.white@gmit.ie or see www.metcentre.ie

At the official opening of the GMIT iHub extension and medical imaging suite on Friday (5 November 2021), L to R: Dr Orla Flynn, President of GMIT, An Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar, Sharon White, Manager Medical Imaging Suite, MET Gateway, GMIT iHub, George McCourt, GMIT Head of Innovation & Enterprise, Stephen Creaner, Executive Director, Enterprise Ireland. [Photo Mike Shaughnessy].
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Quantum Security Testbed & Spectrum Analyser the latest additions at TSSG

In the latest Enterprise Ireland Capital Call for Equipment, the TSSG Technology Gateway at Walton Institute acquired funding to assist with research and development and will provide industry access to two new exciting areas.

One new testbed, a ‘Quantum Security Testbed’ and a Portable RF Spectrum Monitor will be housed at the Walton Institute data centre and will be fully accessible to industry for whatever their need.

Quantum Security Testbed:

Currently, up until now, no Quantum Security Testbed has existed in Ireland. This new Quantum Security testbed will provide a security model in mission critical industries where trust is paramount, particularly in  applications such as those deployed for e-Health, finance, food production and energy.

The ability to download now and decrypt later means that, even if they are only available in several years, quantum computers pose a genuine threat to data security today. This is especially true for the archiving and long-term storage of digital assets, such as Intellectual Property, blockchain/crypto-assets – such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), financial or medical records; essentially anything that might traditionally be stored in a vault. The Quantum Security Testbed creates an environment where technology solutions providers can develop innovative solutions for their clients.

The Quantum Security Testbed will consist of multiple banking grade security systems leveraging quantum technologies that industry can utilise and manipulate to create novel identity and data protection solutions. These include:

  • Quantum Random Number Generators (QRNGs),
  • Firewalls with VPN capabilities (encryptors),
  • Hardware Security Modules (HSMs),
  • Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) systems.

The QRNGs lay the first building blocks to providing high quality, truly random entropy to generate encryption keys. The keys (or crypto-assets) will then be stored in HSMs, providing a tamper proof, reliable, and highly secure repository for the keys that end devices will use. The keys will never be stored on the end devices and therefore cannot be lost or leaked through theft or remote access. The encryptors will use the keys stored in the HSMs to create site-to-site VPNs. Lastly, a QKD system when deployed between two sites (data centres) ensures non-refutably secure transmission of keys or other crypto-assets between two locations, for backup or digital asset custody.

The main strength of this testbed lies in the strict separation between the three elements: key and asset generation, asset storage, and access to assets. By combining several cryptosystems (QRNG, HSM, and QKD) with cryptoprotocols (one time pad, secret sharing schemes), it ensures that the safe storage of private keys (the proof of a digital asset’s ownership) is “Information-Theoretically Secure” (ITS), meaning that such a system cannot be hacked by an external adversary even with unlimited computing power.

Many financial institutions and cyber security companies already use ‘Commodity components’ but using QKD’s will allow these companies to add a new quantum security layer to their existing systems. Furthermore the innovation process can be de-risked by bringing quantum communications and algorithms expertise to the testbed users. This will become a new offering by Walton Institute and collaborative linkage with MTU, which will bring Quantum Communications to the Space Cluster / Industry.

We are bound to see more future emerging applications as “Information Theoretically Secure” data services becomes more mainstream with this new equipment, and Ireland can lead the way with research and innovation using QKD’s and an extra layer of quantum-safe security on top of existing bank-grade custody solutions. This will also contribute to push tokenized finance and blockchain technologies forward. The equipment will be used to provide training and upskilling workshops in the areas of quantum communications systems and cybersecurity applications, helping to address the cybersecurity shortage and skills gap previously identified by Cyber Ireland.

Portable RF Spectrum Monitoring Receiver:

The second service offering provided by the Enterprise Capital Equipment is a Portable RF Spectrum Monitoring Receiver:

As is commonly known, wirelesss communications and increasingly with the emergence of more IoT applications, a mixture of licenced and unlicenced spectrums are becoming more and more crowded and subject to noise and interference as more radio links are polluting the networks being sought out.

While there is some protection offered to licenced links, being able to provide the communications Regulator (ComReg) with detailed information on interference to licenced links will reduce the time it takes to resolve interference issues (which could be causing an outage for one or many customers). Being able to find the source of interference to unlicenced links will in most cases help in finding a path towards a resolution, or at the very least identify where the issue is coming from so alternative arrangements can quickly be put in place.

Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs), which have been scaling since the Covid-19 pandemic, are serving a wider set of the domestic remote worker and new local business parks, which in turn is showing an increased potential for interference. For tech support, symptoms can range from low data throughput, customers being forced to re-login, pixelation of digital video signals, dropped audio on messaging platforms (Teams/Zoom etc.) This creates extra pressure on WISPs as more people are using the networks in new areas outdoors where the demand was not previously required. Also, there is new demand in the Tourism Sector for immersive technology and this adds extra pressure to the networks to provide seamless consistent services, especially in remote areas where 4/5G is not readily available. These new services require high speed, low-latency and no interference. There is also a crucial need to service new housing estates and apartments where Fibre Broadband is not available.

Wireless networks are set up to the nearest access point (Fibre or otherwise) and a monitoring receiver, designed for interference hunting, allows for the provision of internet services to these areas readily and quickly allowing networks to be assigned. By using this equipment, pre-installation, to check a site or a link between sites for interference this will give the WISP assurance at installation time that the link will perform as expected.

Having a portable monitoring receiver on the first site visit decreases the number of times a site needs to be revisited and dealt with by the technical support teams. Without the extra pressure on the customer service side, WISPs can focus more on expanding their networks and cater for new clients. Very often WISPs utilise fibre networks, paying for new fibre connections and creating wireless links to stretch the service to new customers providing there are licenced frequencies available which should be interference free.

In this way WISPs have been instrumental in facilitating the growth of the Fibre Broadband network in Ireland and helping more people to access the Internet.  This is where the portable monitoring receiver is serving this sector, and within the Space industry where the channel width may be anything from 100KHz through to 100-200MHZ. These surveys would be in ITU satellite bands from VHF up to Ka-Band (26.5 – 40Ghz) and possibly Q/V in the future.

To access any of the equipment outlined above contact the TSSGTechGateway@WaltonInstitute.ie for more information.

This article was first published on the Walton Institute website.