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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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.

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Manufacturing boost for North West as WiSAR showcase revolutionary scanning technology

The WiSAR Technology Gateway, at LYIT, has today unveiled a new €170,000 state of the art, 8-axis portable CMM (coordinate measuring machine) arm, equipped with an ultra-high precision scanner and related software, following a successful submission to last year’s Enterprise Ireland, Capital Equipment Fund. The advanced technology will see the LYIT Department of Electronic and Mechanical Engineering research facility, significantly expand upon current test and prototyping capacity for industry in the North West region and beyond.

The revolutionary scanning device, typically adopted in the manufacturing sector, utilises both contact, via ruby tipped probes, and non-contact measuring technology, via the latest cutting-edge blue-laser 3D scanner, to convert physical objects into digital 3D models, with ultra-high accuracy down to 0.020mm. The equipment is designed for inspection, dimensional analysis, Computer Aided Design comparison, tool certifications and reverse engineering applications on parts and assemblies across a wide range of engineering businesses including automotive, marine, agritech and medtech.

Derek Thornton, of LYIT’s Department of Electronic and Mechanical Engineering explains that the acquisition of this pioneering suite of equipment will enable the Institute to harness and accelerate the digital capabilities of a wide range of industry partners. “The speed of technological advancement coupled with the challenge to maintain competitiveness in a dynamic and demanding business environment, has driven a new industrial revolution, particularly in the manufacturing industry.”

“This new state-of-the-art, high-resolution scanner can quickly and accurately capture exact specifications of physical objects, from prototype design phase, right through to inspection and verification stage. These capabilities are fundamental for many engineering businesses to leverage unique design and rigorous quality control processes, particularly in the context of the growing consumer demand for personalisation, customisation and shorter lead times.”

LYIT’s Department of Mechanical and Electronic Engineering Technician, Johnny Morrow, highlighted that the cutting-edge equipment will complement the strong manufacturing cluster in the North West. “In this digital age, advanced manufacturing technologies such as 3D scanning, are key to industrial competitiveness and market growth. However, there are various barriers for businesses in accessing and adopting innovative processes which require significant financial and human capital commitments. High spec technologies, such as these scanning capabilities, are not readily accessible to most companies.”

“LYIT has seen a growing demand among industry partners for high resolution scanning equipment in the North West where we have an abundance of globally renowned manufacturing businesses. This pioneering new scanning facility, which is portable and can be transported directly to client sites, will be a key resource for companies in unlocking the full potential of Industry 4.0.”

Dr Jim Morrison, Principal Investigator at the WiSAR Lab and Technology Gateway, highlighted how the new scanning facility will significantly bolster LYIT’s responsiveness in tackling industry challenges through applied R&D. “At the WiSAR lab, we have a renowned track record in industry engagement, providing real world solutions and direct access to new, emerging technologies and academic expertise for dozens of companies since our inception.

“With so many challenges facing the manufacturing industry, in the global business environment, such as Brexit, the Covid-19 pandemic and the ever-increasing pressure to accelerate automation, access to this world class scanning technology can be a game changer in improving supply chain efficiencies.”

“As LYIT looks towards Technological University status, under the Connaught-Ulster Alliance, the commercialisation of research and innovation, will be key to driving regional economic prosperity.”

WiSAR Technology Gateway Manager, Dr Stephen Seawright concluded by saying “The manufacturing sector is a significant contributor to the local economy in the North West, with a high calibre of both indigenous and multinational businesses, and we are delighted to showcase this ground-breaking technology, which will enable businesses to validate their processes against international standards.”

“This vital funding injection, which is one of several capital investments from Enterprise Ireland in recent years, will ensure that we remain responsive and proactive in meeting the evolving needs of our industry partners through our continued industry-centric research activities.”

Photo: L-R Johnny Morrow, Dr Jim Morrison, Derek Thornton, LYIT
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Technology Insights Webinar – Blockchain meets AI

‘Technology Insights’ brings together a range of relevant and exciting industry topics highlighting current, new and emerging technologies in sectors such as MedTech, Software, Biotechnology, Food and Manufacturing. The series aims to provide Irish industry with a platform for interesting and engaging discussion on a wide range of current and future technologies, presented by industry experts.

Webinar:

The next webinar in the series takes place on Thursday 7th october 2021 and will focus on “Blockchain meets AI: How distributed ledger technology can support AI through a shared and trusted data model”

Blockchain and distributed ledger technologies offer a solution in scenarios where data needs to be shared between different parties, who may not necessarily trust each other, but who need to trust the validity and integrity of the shared data. Examples include supply chains and traceability, the secure sharing of sensitive data such as medical records, and of course digital assets and cryptocurrencies. Applications of Artificial Intelligence (AI) also rely on access to trusted and valid data. Oisín Boydell, Principal Data Scientist at CeADAR, gives an overview of blockchain and discusses how distributed ledger technology can also support AI through a shared and trusted data model.

Presenter bio:

Dr Oisín Boydell is Principal Data Scientist at CeADAR, the Enterprise Ireland and IDA supported Technology Centre for applied AI based at UCD. His primary interests include deep learning and machine learning, as well as a specific focus on blockchain technology. Oisín leads CeADAR’s Applied Research Group which delivers industry focussed, applied research projects in collaboration with industry partners across a broad range of AI and related technology areas.

CeADAR Technology Centre:

CeADAR is Ireland’s national centre for Applied AI. CeADAR is a market-focused technology centre that drives the accelerated research, development, and deployment of AI and data analytics technology and innovation into businesses.  The Centre is the bridge between the worlds of applied research in AI and data analytics and their commercial deployment.

CeADAR is funded by Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland, is headquartered in University College Dublin and is a partnership with the Technological University Dublin (formerly DIT).

The Centre’s work focuses on developing tools, techniques and technologies that enable more people, organisations and industries to use analytics and AI for better decision making, unlocking hidden insights and sustained competitive advantage.

Date: Thursday 7th October 2021

Time: 11.00am – 11.45am

For further details and registration please see here.

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SME’s can now avail of a maximum of four Innovation Vouchers

Are you a small and medium-sized limited company registered in Ireland? Are you currently looking for assistance with research and innovation solutions? Or perhaps your product, service or process requires some expertise which is currently outside of your existing R&D capacity?.  

The Innovation Voucher scheme run by Enterprise Ireland could provide you with a pathway to solving innovation problems. Innovation Vouchers worth €5,000 are available to assist a company to explore a business opportunity, problem or solution with a registered knowledge provider. 

SMEs throughout Ireland now have the opportunity to apply for up to a maximum of four Innovation Vouchers, one of which must be a 50-50 co-funded voucher. Applications are open on a continuous call throughout the year via the Enterprise Ireland Online Application System.  

There are two types of voucher available. A fully funded €5,000 standard voucher and the 50-50 co-funded Fast Track voucher (to a maximum value of €10,000). You can get more information on each voucher here.  A company may only have one ‘active’ voucher at any point in time. 

The Innovation Vouchers scheme is open to all small and medium-sized limited companies registered with the CRO in Ireland. You do not have to be a client of Enterprise Ireland to apply. Vouchers are valid for 12 months from the date of issue. 

Please note: Innovation Vouchers are subject to VAT. You will be invoiced for the VAT by the knowledge provider and this cost must be settled separately by the company. 

More information on the Innovation Voucher scheme can be found here.  

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Satellite Communications Research and Innovation at Walton Institute

Walton Institute has been awarded funding in the 2020 Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway and Technology Centre programme for new Capital Equipment.

Walton Institute won funding for Satellite Communications equipment which aims to support sectors using high precision tracking and monitoring for autonomous vehicles and robotics in Agri, Automotive, Geo Surveying, Navigation, GIS and any location based services.

The equipment comprises:

  1. A High-Performance Signal Generator
  2. A Satellite Link Simulator
  3. Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) specific receivers

The 3 items in combination will create a complete, end-to-end, satellite application simulator and validation suite – currently for GNSS. This translates to a comprehensive testing environment for industry to validate hardware, software and use case applications.

High performance signal generator

The high performance signal generator is a compact multi-channel high performance platform for complex and versatile testing in one device, with the ability to generate up to 31 virtual signals at once. This allows one to simulate a test environment with multiple sources without the need of extensive setups. This enables a broad range of additional applications such as testing receivers at multiple frequencies or superimposing an interferer moving over a large frequency span and multichannel functionality.

Satellite Link Simulator

The Satellite Link Simulator is a wideband channel emulator that allows for repeatable simulations of the uplink, payload and downlink in RF link tests. The equipment emulates the effects of the ionosphere and propagation through the atmosphere. Applications include satellite (LEO, GEO, MEO) and aircraft RF link testing, UAV testing, modem, transmitter and receiver testing, telemetry tracking systems, range verification as well as training and education. These applications are possible due to the specifications which supports instantaneous bandwidths up to 100 MHz, which allows it to communicate with a wide variety of devices.

Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS)

The Global Navigation Satellite System Receivers protect against interference, noise, multipath and other environmental effects with ultra-precise time synchronization for time transfer applications. The high-precision, low noise measurements provide 544 hardware channels which are assigned automatically and on-the-fly to all visible satellites.

The growing global demand for precise location information, in combination with the ongoing evolution of GNSS technology, means that demand is ever increasing. The global installed base of GNSS devices in use is forecast to increase from 6.4 billion in 2019 to 9.6 billion in 2029 with Asia-Pacific continuing to account for more than half of the global GNSS market. However, the European GNSS Industry accounts for more than a quarter of the global market share according to the EUSPA, ( European Union Agency for the Space Programme.) In terms of global annual GNSS receiver shipments, the market is forecasted to increase from 1.8 billion units in 2019 to 2.8 billion units in 2029.

In Ireland, there is a growing and thriving space industry and research community, facilitated through Ireland’s membership of the European Space Agency (ESA). As there are numerous possibilities for technology spin-offs and transfer and together with high technology contract opportunities this will serve to be a dramatic showcase for Irish Industry. GNSS has become a ubiquitous technology and will increasingly become more in demand. Regulations are coming down the line which provide the need for high precision GNSS. Examples include E-Call solutions for Automotive and Public Safety. Regulation is going to be required in any operation that requires precision, including autonomous driving, robotics, marine management, tracking, agriculture, manufacturing etc.

At Walton Institute we support Irish Industries in keeping ahead of the curve with research and facilitate their growth and development through R&D services through the Enterprise Technology Gateway.

Walton Institute and the team are dedicated to the growth and sustainability of the Space Industry in Ireland and globally. We share the vision that Ireland can perform on the European stage as well as compete globally and we are agents to the investment by Enterprise Ireland to fulfil this vision.

Contact the TSSG Technology Gateway team at Walton today to see how they can help your business grow and prosper: tssgtechgateway@waltoninstitute.ie

This article was first published on the Walton Institute website.

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Industry complete 5000th project with the Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway Network

Ministers Troy and English announce landmark 5,000th project – Sligo based company, Tekrasport and their collaboration with the WiSAR Gateway in Letterkenny IT on Tekralite, a 100% waterproof, wireless, rechargeable, LED strobe light for swimming in low light conditions.

Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, Robert Troy and Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English today announced Tekrasport and their collaboration with the WiSAR Technology Gateway in Letterkenny IT as the 5,000th industry project completed by the Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway Network.

In operation since 2013, the Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway Network provides a range of innovation solutions and supports to companies throughout the island of Ireland. Run by Enterprise Ireland, in partnership with Institutes of Technology and Technological Universities, the network has 16 Technology Gateways located nationwide. Each providing services and supports, across a range of technologies, to Irish companies in the areas such as Food, Pharma, ICT and Materials amongst others.

Companies from across the country have benefited from the expertise and experience available within the network to assist in the delivery of near-to-market solutions. The Technology Gateway Network and the funding supports offered by Enterprise Ireland are fundamental in promoting the ongoing development of research, development and innovation (RD&I) within companies who may lack the facilitates, equipment, personnel or expertise to do so otherwise.

The network offers support and assistance to a wide range of companies such as, High Potential Start-Ups, Small and Medium Enterprises, Large Indigenous and Multinationals. To date, the Gateways has collaborated with over 3,560 Irish companies, assisting in 5,000 projects worth €45million, of which over €22.5million is cash from industry.

Speaking of the achievement, Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, Robert Troy said “Reaching the 5,000th project so quickly is a fantastic achievement that all the Technology Gateway staff should be proud of. Growing from 200 projects in 2013 to over 850 annually in 2020 is evidence of the huge demand from industry that exists and the willingness of the companies to return on multiple occasions to their local Gateways to carry out R&D. I am sure that the journey to project 10,000 will be even quicker and that the growth of the Technology Gateways will continue at pace due to the outstanding commitment of the Institutes of Technologies and Technological Universities in supporting their individual Technology Gateways.”

Speaking about the announcement Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English TD said “Tekrasport Ltd are a prime example of the extremely high standard of innovative products designed or in production by Irish industry today. The Tekrasport story is one of inspiration which no doubt will resonate with many. The growth of the Technology Gateways also highlights the world class talent available in the Institutes of Technology and Technological Universities and the value of local access for industry to this knowledge. I would encourage any companies who haven’t done so already to contact their local Technology Gateway to see what support is available to help them deal with challenges such as BREXIT and the COVID 19 pandemic.”

Enterprise Ireland’s Gearoid Mooney said, “Enterprise Ireland is proud to support the Technology Gateway network across Ireland. It plays a vital role in opening up access to research expertise on a regional level through our Institutes of Technology and our Technological Universities. The commencement of the 5000th project is a great achievement and I want to acknowledge the role that all partners have played in making this a real success story and we look forward to future collaboration in the years to come.”

Tekrasport / WiSAR Partnership

The partnership with WiSAR Lab, enabled Tekrasport to increase the functionality and improve the power consumption of their innovative Tekralite, the only 100% waterproof rechargeable light on the market. By working with WiSAR researchers, Tekrasport Ltd were able to improve the end-user experience and the battery life of their innovative light, for multi-purpose use in many recreational sporting activities including running, cycling and kayaking.

These improvements to the Tekralite have increased the devices potential to be a game changer in the recreational sport industry.

Speaking of the recent collaboration John Hanley, founder of Tekrasport said:

“We were delighted to team up with WiSAR, through the Enterprise Ireland Innovation Voucher Programme, to develop the functionality of our innovative Tekralite. Through this collaboration with WiSAR researchers, Tekrasport were able to incorporate a number of significant improvements to our swimmers’ light, making the product even more competitive and attractive for the global market. Going forward, we believe that this added value will increase our capacity to grow and penetrate new markets.”