In the field of technology, there are new discoveries and advances happening pretty much every day. However, who is really pushing the boundaries and shaping the world of tomorrow? Who is creating the tech that will define the way we live, work and communicate in years to come?
That’s what The TechTalk Show wanted to find out. So, earlier this year, the team behind the weekly radio programme set about the task of finding the most innovative, exciting and mould-breaking SMEs in the UK. Next, they invited an expert panel of industry judges on board to help whittle the long list down to just 22 homegrown businesses that truly are top of the techs – and the results are out today.
Every week The TechTalk Show meets British inventors, techies and talents who are breaking new ground in tech. Now, these 22 heroes that made the cut will also be invited to appear on the show, to tell presenter Sue Nelson and her listeners about how and why they’re changing the world.
“The innovation that’s going on in this country is just mind-blowing and we’re always really excited to meet the brilliant – and occasionally slightly bonkers – people behind it,” said Nelson, who is also CEO of R&D tax consultancy Breakthrough Funding. “I founded the radio show to help spread the word about these geniuses, so putting together TechTalk 22 seemed like a great way to draw further attention to how these companies are changing our world.
“When our team came to drawing up the long list, the choice of innovators was incredible, so we needed some top industry minds to help us choose the all-important 22. We were lucky to get some fabulous judges involved and we feel that this list represents some of the most important and promising work going on in UK innovation today.”
Joining Nelson on the judging panel were robotics expert Rich Walker, MD of the Shadow Robot Company; Holly Brockwell, award-winning tech journalist and founder of Gadgette.com; and Sarah Luxford, founder of Tech London Advocates’ Women in Tech working group.
Looking for creativity, innovation and potential for future development, the judges chose a selection of SMEs that they feel represent the cream of the sector’s crop. You can see the list published in full below.
“With Brexit looming, this country needs all the brainy, creative and ambitious tech talents it can get,” Nelson said. “TechTalk 22 illustrates that with the right support from Government, consumers and industry at large, the UK is and can remain at the cutting edge of global technology development.”
You can find out more about The TechTalk Show, listen to new episodes at 1.00pm every Thursday and catch up with past shows at www.techtalkshow.co.uk The podcast is available from iTunes and all major directories.
THE TECHTALK 22 LIST IN FULL
Here, in no particular order, are the very first TechTalk 22…
Animal Dynamics is a spinout company from the Department of Zoology at Oxford University. They use deep science to understand natural movement in the animal world to develop new products.
What the judges said: “We’re very excited by the team’s approach to understanding evolutionary adaptations in flight, swimming and walking. Companies developing robots and high performance machines will be looking more to nature to inspire their design decisions.”
CheckRecipient use Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning to analyse historical email data for use in cyber security applications.
What the judges said: “This next generation email security technology prevents users from accidentally committing one of the key data security breaches. Employee behaviour is currently the weak spot for company security and solutions that can predict or spot real time abnormal behaviour patterns will be in demand.”
Smartplug (Smart Driver Club)
www.smartdriverclub.co.ukThe Smartplug app from Smart Driver Club reads your car’s on-board data and provides features to monitor and improve your driving and check performance.
What the judges said: “A textbook example of how to develop a huge range of features and ensure they’re totally integrated, while making the user experience deceptively simple. A company that knows how to achieve profitable longevity, with a set of must-have features that are cleverly monetised.”
Slick Revolution (Pin Feather Trading)
Slick Revolution’s mission is to create the best electric street transport at a price point accessible to everyone.
What the judges said: “The team has created a sleek, lightweight electric skateboard with a high top speed and long range capability. This team is designing ever-more features and gizmos to target this growing market sector.”
Machines With Vision
Machines With Vision develops innovative technology that covers every point of a road surface so it can be measured and mapped.
What the judges said: “Clever new technology that allows companies to enhance the road positioning of their driverless cars and autonomous vehicles. This soon-to-be booming sector will need suppliers of associated technology to make self-driving practical and safe.”
The PASSsystem (EveryLIFE Technologies)
The PASSsystem eliminates time consuming paperwork and dramatically reduces the risk of medicines mismanagement.
What the judges said: “Healthcare delivery at home is set to explode, with an ageing population requiring health checks and medicines management in a domestic setting. The PASSsystem is driving up quality of care and service compliance.”
Robotical is a fully programmable, WiFi-enabled, customisable and upgradable low cost walking robot.
What the judges said: “Allows children, makers and educators to interact and programme their own robotic solutions and ensure the next generation can capitalise on robotic technology. Definitely more than a toy.”
Streetbees uses the power of AI and geolocation functionality – it is where market research meets technology.
What the judges said: “We were impressed by Streetbees’ ability to literally collect data from anyone, anywhere in the world. Understanding culture, preferences and buying behaviour at a global level will be the key to success for many companies.”
Elvie (Chiaro Technology)
Elvie is the world’s smallest and smartest pelvic floor exerciser, made from medical grade silicone.
What the judges said: “A taboo-fighting wearable that goes inside the body, to monitor pelvic floor health and encourage the patient to keep up their exercises. Wearables will become increasingly invisible and will begin to be ‘worn’ inside the body, not just outside.”
SAM Labs are innovation kits for families to teach them coding, engineering and DIY.
What the judges said: “The team has developed an intelligent chatbot solution and impressive DIY kits for families, making technology accessible in a truly fun way. Games that involve the whole family but can teach programming and technical skills are a win-win.”
Action Artificial Intelligence
action.aiAction Artificial Intelligence is an off-the-shelf commercial intelligent chatbot that understands users’ requests to enable humanlike responses.
What the judges said: “Companies that deal directly with customers will need to embrace chatbot technology to remain competitive. This solution gives functionality at a fraction of the cost of in-house development and allows them to respond using everyday natural language.”
Reach Robotics are using monster robots controlled by mobile devices for use with video games.
What the judges said: “Gaming is being embraced by an ever-widening demographic and this is a really exciting company in the gaming sector – a great UK rising star.”
MadeWithGlove is a wearable technology company designing heated gloves for women.
What the judges said: “A really beneficial wearable, designed and developed for women (for once!) and with a clear focus on practicality. Women will be seeking out truly female-centric products, not those adapted from designs for men and they have the consumer power to shape new markets.”
Roto VR have developed a Virtual Reality (VR) experience seat designed for all head mounted displays.
What the judges said: “Consumers are looking for an even better immersive experience and this takes the experience of virtual reality far beyond the home headset.”
Consequential Robotics is developing the next generation consumer robot, focussing on companionship and enhancing the quality of human life.
What the judges said: “We all wanted to take one of these home! A programmable dog-like robot being developed specifically for therapeutic purposes. An underdeveloped but much-needed product area.”
Active Needle Technology
Active Needle Technology is an ultrasound-guided needle device to enable precision injection targeting for clinicians.
What the judges said: “It’s great to see something that helps healthcare professionals to improve medical outcomes and patient safety, which will be a real focus in the coming years. It’s also reassuring potential needlephobes!”
Blaze Laserlight (SMIDSY)
The Blaze technology company is on a mission to make urban cycling safer, by combining a white light and laser image to beam out of blind spots and junctions.
What the judges said:
“The Laserlight projection product has completely changed the way cyclists are seen by other road users. We see the product everywhere and despite imitations, it’s still leading its field and we expect them to lead the category for years to come.”
Generic Robotics is an innovative company developing interactive computer-based simulation combining virtual reality and haptics.
What the judges said: “They are experts in the field of haptics, which is still relatively young but has exciting potential. They are improving the quality of touch interaction with machines, particularly in the medical and dental world.”
Metail offers e-commerce model photography allowing the capture of human body size and shape and 3D garment digitisation.
What the judges said: “A clever patented technology that allows the user to buy clothes that suit and fit them. The system is also tackling issues about body perception and size. Both retailers and consumers will be looking at technologies that will reduce the number of product returns.”
Armour Communications is a government-grade encryption for secure communications, including voice, messaging, video and data.
What the judges said: “Cyber security is big. This development allows businesses to go to the next level of security through everyday devices such as smartphones and tablets. Armour not only protect the content of communications but can hide the fact that you are communicating at all.”
The Q-Bot is a tiny four-wheeled robot that goes through air vents armed with a 3D scanner, to survey the underside of floorboards and apply insulating foam as required.
What the judges said: “Not very glamorous but a much-needed use of robotics in the construction sector. The industry is ripe for disruption and will be looking at solutions that help house-building or renovation work become quicker, more cost-effective and safe.”
Ai Build are using AI and robotic technologies to make large scale one-off manufacturing easier.
What the judges said: “This team is shifting the focus from small scale 3D printing to large scale affordable 3D manufacture, with huge potential.”