A great blog by Visit Liverpool about Sensor City and Liverpool’s pioneering advances in sensor technology.
What do all of these situations have in common? That tricky reverse park, popping into Tesco, answering a phone-call, drying your hands and a quick half hour workout in the gym? Nope, it’s not that they’re all often avoided… it’s sensors.
And this is just a tiny excerpt from a 1,000 page novel. Sensors are everywhere, from daily tasks such as washing your hands (that automatic soap dispenser and tap) to medical breakthroughs – In 2013, Liverpool John Moores University developed sensors that can be woven into any piece of clothing. This meant that doctors could monitor a patients vital signs, such as heart rate, blood oxygen levels and temperature just through this wearable garment. Non-invasive, wireless and battery-free.
In September 2017, Liverpool became home to a purpose built, technical business and support centre, Sensor City. Sensor City is a technical innovation centre and University Enterprise Zone.
In layman’s terms, Sensor City is a collab between University of Liverpool and John Moores University. It provides a place for businesses across a range of sectors to come together and translate their innovative sensor concepts, into real-life commercially viable solutions.
They do this by offering support in terms of research, expertise and access to facilities that aim to speed up the process from concept to final product. Sensor City is not only for larger scale companies, but offers support for SMEs alongside larger companies, universities and partners of Sensor City.
Still not sure? Take a look at this video below, which may help bring the idea alive.
Liverpool City Region, leading sensor techs
Although a huge development for Liverpool and of national significance, Sensor City did not mark the start of sensor tech in Liverpool City Region. Nearby, at Sci-Tech Daresbury, the Hartree Centre has been working to transform the UK industry through high performance computing, ‘big data’ and cognitive technologies since 2012.
The Hartree centre works with huge names such as Unilever, IBM and the Open Data Institute.
But there’s more – take a look at these innovative sensor tech concepts, that began and evolved in Liverpool based companies.
In 2016, design and technology company, Red Ninja received a £222,000 grant from Innovate UK for its £688,000 Life First Emergency Traffic Control (LiFE) project. This funding helped Red Ninja to bolster its research capabilities and accelerate its engineering and data science teams.
This fund meant that Red Ninja had teams working on the research and development of the initiative, full time – without this, it could have taken another 10 years to get to where they were just a year later.
Red Ninja had found that ambulances that were using ‘fixed time plans’ were not hitting their response times, because of increasingly congested city centres, like Liverpool.
After some extensive research, that including obtaining and analysing ‘big data’ around the way that traffic lights are programmed to control congestion, it found that it could actually manipulate traffic in almost real time.
Red Ninja then employed artificial intelligence to develop an algorithm – an algorithm is a set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer i.e. Facebook’s News Feed will use an algorithm to determine what they show you in that feed – that could create a clear run through the traffic.
This means that they could influence the traffic lights, which meant that the ambulance could make its way through the city centre quicker and easier.