Page 1

CENSIS Review 2013 – 2016


Welcome Bob Downes CENSIS Chairman

“A great deal has been accomplished and this review showcases the many ways in which we are helping businesses with their sensor and imaging systems challenges.” Bob Downes CENSIS Chairman

I am pleased to introduce this overview of some of the activities that have taken place at CENSIS since the Innovation Centre was founded in 2013 with the support of the Scottish Funding Council, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise. A great deal has been accomplished and this review showcases the many ways in which we are helping businesses with their sensor and imaging systems challenges. Mirage, our largest strategic research project to date is a £6M private-public sector investment in the development of compound semiconductor platform technologies that will see key skilled jobs and technologies being created in Scotland. Other highlights include the IoT Centre, formed in response to industry requests to support the rapid development of end-to-end sensor systems solutions using IoT technologies. You will also read about our latest large-scale initiative, the LoRa™ IoT network, developed in conjunction with industry partners and public sector organisations across Scotland to help generate even wider business growth. This review features highlights of innovative projects that have been generated with the support and knowhow of the CENSIS team. The projects are extremely diverse, covering everything from environmental risk monitoring and management to rail track maintenance; and from subsea systems to pharmaceuticals. However, the common element they all share is that CENSIS is helping to overcome the significant practical challenges involved in taking innovation to the marketplace. One of our key strengths is our ability to deliver Technology Readiness Level (TRL) uplift with our collaborative projects and we work very hard to help companies and their academic partners tackle the ‘valley of death technology gap’. At CENSIS, I am very proud to say that the majority of projects we support bridge this gap, with most starting at TRL 3 and finishing at TRL 6. As an industry-led innovation hub for intelligent sensor systems, CENSIS has at its heart the values, expertise and experience needed to support business growth and strengthen economic development in Scotland. Our knowledge of the technical and research landscape continues to grow and our developing strengths have helped us to break new ground and strengthen existing Scottish supply chains. I want to especially thank all of our stakeholders and partners for their support and I look forward to bringing you all further updates on our progress in the years to come.

Page 2

CENSIS Review 2013 – 2016

“It is fantastic to see how CENSIS is succeeding in gaining mindshare in Scotland. Your ventures into IoT are an exciting area of collaboration and I look forward to this continuing and building on the relationships that we’ve developed with the CENSIS team to date.” Douglas McGarrie CTO IBM Scotland

Contents Sensing Opportunities for Scotland ......................... 4 Project and Activity Highlights ................................. 8 Making an Impact ................................................... 14

Page 3

IoT Centre “We had great help from the IoT Centre team with selecting the technology and providing proof of concept code. Being able to hot desk for one or two days a week in CENSIS is very useful to allow development work to be carried out away from dayto-day interruptions. We believe that there could be significant gains to be had with get-togethers with other like-minded companies – using CENSIS as a hub to promote knowledge transfer and to encourage innovation.” John Ashley Technical Services Manager, FUELlink Systems

Mirage “This project is an excellent example of how collaborative working can support the development of advanced manufacturing technologies, boosting productivity and driving growth. Innovation Centres have a unique role to play in engaging with businesses to identify new solutions and we would like to see more of these types of projects develop in the future.” John Swinney MSP Deputy First Minister of Scotland

Page 4

Sensing Opportunities for Scotland Fast-tracking IoT solutions: the IoT Centre The IoT Centre is a facility within CENSIS to help businesses overcome many of the challenges they face in product development around the Internet of Things (IoT) and is designed to help businesses – normally SMEs – take an IoT product from concept to prototype in a fraction of the time normally required. There are different levels of engagement available depending on the individual need: n

Access to a complete suite of development devices and software from world-leading vendors; everything from hardware to cloud storage


Stress testing and validation of ideas


Hot desk space


Mentoring and support from a skilled industry-experienced team of hardware, software and firmware engineers with 50+ years’ collective experience



IoT Centre ‘graduates’ already include: n

The Urban Farming Company

Connection to CENSIS’ professional networks


OBrand Communications


FUELlink Systems

A professional, high spec demonstration area to showcase products to potential investors.




Sansible Wearables

Mirage: Enhancing Scotland’s global sensor capabilities This groundbreaking project will place Scotland at the forefront of the £7 billion global sensors and imaging systems market, deliver significant economic growth and onshore 41 highly skilled research and manufacturing jobs from Asia. The project is expected to deliver £56 million to the Scottish economy over the next 10 years and will give the companies involved a critical competitive edge in the global mid-IR sensors market. The project, backed by Scottish Enterprise and CENSIS, will provide the organisations involved with unique access to III-V semiconductors, allowing them to create cutting-edge, quality mid-IR sensors in high volumes with greater sensitivity, lower cost, reduced energy use and a longer lifespan than existing products. These can be employed in a wealth of applications including: thermal imagers, building management, vehicle safety (CO2) and pollution expertise.

Bringing significant production capability back to the UK allows us to innovate much more quickly. Access to these materials and the technology used to produce them will develop Scotland’s technical skills in advanced sensors and imaging systems. Further innovation and engineering breakthroughs are expected via continuing collaborative research and sharing of expertise.

CENSIS Review 2013 – 2016

LoRa™: Paving the way for the Internet of Things boston networks

By 2020, it is estimated that there will be 20Bn connected devices in the world requiring IoT networks. The major growth sector in the IoT solutions market - valued in the trillions of dollars - will be small, autonomous devices servicing new business and information models and covering every area of our lives – from smart cities and smart homes (think street lights to refuse collection to home appliances), to precision agriculture and food production, industrial automation, asset tracking and wearable devices. LoRa™ is an embedded wireless networking standard to support IoT. The technology addresses the demands presented by ever increasing numbers of connected devices by offering long-range connectivity and low power operation, with a low cost that avoids the need for complex installations and supports high volume deployment. This combination will be transformative in enabling IoT connectivity to new types of devices and applications as well as enabling and delivering new business solutions. CENSIS is a member of the LoRa™ Alliance, a non-profit organisation focused on standardising LoRa™ and creating a strong ecosystem to scale the technology, and began a roll out of LoRa™ projects across Scotland in the summer of 2016 that include:

Glasgow: across City Centre, Merchant City, West End CENSIS, Stream Technologies, Semtech, Boston Networks In conjunction with the University of Glasgow, University of Strathclyde and Glasgow Caledonian University, the network enables the development and use of devices such as building and indoor environmental monitors, pollution sensors, tags for tracking valuable assets and social care devices designed to support independent living.

Features of the Glasgow city network are: n

Ubiquitous connection within the city


5-year battery life potential


Location determination without power drain

In addition to its attractiveness for use case development, Glasgow was selected as the development location for LoRa™ technology because of its similarities to many major metropolitan areas worldwide. Glasgow includes a grid system like major US conurbations, older historic spaces and a mix of urban and extra-urban environments – all of which are ideal for testing lowpower radio network performance.

LoRa™ “This has the potential to be as disruptive to businesses as the internet has been already to daily life – and Scotland is at the forefront of making that happen.” Dr Mark Begbie Business Development Director, CENSIS

Inverness: An Lòchran campus CENSIS, Stream Technologies, SPICA Technologies The partners have installed 50 LoRa™ connected sensors as part of An Lòchran, a new £13-million business hub shared by Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the University of the Highlands and Islands, and Scotland’s Rural University College. The devices will monitor temperature, humidity, noise, CO2 and light with the aim of delivering greater efficiencies and energy savings in the building and optimise the working environment. By generating a new innovation flow in the Highlands, LoRa™ will also give businesses access to emerging IoT technologies and can support companies in developing new products and services. Additionally, the system shows the art of the possible and acts as a bridgehead for CENSIS support and is part of our future geographical inclusion model.

Page 5

IoTUK Boost

Feedback from participants

Sensing Opportunities for Scotland

“Genuinely the last two days were the most useful I have had in the last six months.” Dane Ralston Losstek “Congratulations on a fabulous IoT UK Boost event. It was intense... as they say. A job well done – please pass on my thanks to the rest of your team. Really enjoyed the networking, the sessions and yes, even the pitching. It certainly generated a great ‘community’ and supportive atmosphere and from my side, it was great to catch up with some familiar faces, meet new ones and make some really useful connections.” Michael Groves Topolytics “I wanted to say that this particular format is by far the best, in my opinion. I think the areas the speakers covered, and the Innovation Centres being present, it adds good value to starting SMEs. Thanks for giving us the opportunity to be part of it.” Trias Gkikopoulos Eaglei Systems

Page 6

Supporting Scotland’s IoT innovators IoTUK Boost Competition Workshop CENSIS was selected as one of four regional partners for the IoTUK Boost initiative, a programme designed to convene and amplify the UK’s IoT industry to help business and economic growth. Hosted by CENSIS in conjunction with The Data Lab and Informatics Ventures, 18 SMEs were selected to attend a workshop in February 2016. At the end of two days, participants pitched their business plan to a panel of expert judges. Five were selected to progress to a month’s worth of incubation support and mentoring to help them in the first stages of bringing their commercial idea to market. IoTUK Boost winners were: n

Sansible Wearables (also awarded ‘One to Watch’ award by IoTUK, allowing the company to pitch to investors at the international BLN IoT Forum 2016)


FUELlink Systems (product expected in market November 2016)


OBrand Communications


Rapport Network


The WindOP

CENSIS Review 2013 – 2016

A quiet revolution in a Scottish forest TV White Space (TVWS)

boston networks According to Ofcom’s latest data, most of the UK still only receives the lowest level of 3G coverage, and in a country with Scotland’s topography that can be a major challenge – particularly for tourist destinations which are often in remote locations. In May 2015, CENSIS carried out a successful pilot project to bring an emerging networking approach - TV White Space (TVWS) – to the Enduro World Series mountain biking competition at Glentress in the Scottish Borders, allowing the event organisers to provide and make use of live video streaming, increased access to data and enhanced automation for its staff and spectators. This breakthrough for connectivity gave the project partners a unique opportunity to gain an early lead with the technology, which is on the cusp of widespread adoption. Significant progress is now being made on introducing this technology across the world, in both mature and emerging markets, thanks in part to such demonstrator projects.

TV White Space “The results of this quiet revolution could have incredible consequences for many of the country’s remote tourist attractions – TV White Space could connect them with the rest of the world for the first time.” Ian Reid CEO, CENSIS

Sensing the city Low-cost mobile sensor network for air quality

Organisations responsible for monitoring urban air quality currently gather most of their data from fixed monitoring stations. While these are very accurate, they are expensive, costly to maintain, and do not provide a detailed picture of what is happening across the city, e.g., what is the air quality like a few streets away from the fixed station? Currently, modelling techniques have to be used to build the bigger picture. In partnership with the University of Strathclyde’s Institute for Future Cities, CENSIS has developed a flexible low cost and low power mobile sensor system designed to supplement – and complement – these static base stations. A pilot project in spring 2016 saw the system installed on some of the University of Strathclyde’s fleet of vans, providing near real-time air quality data from wherever the vehicle was located. An interactive web-based user dashboard visualised the data, allowing interaction with the cloud services and supporting the capabiliity to embed data processing and analytics outputs as these are developed. The system is also capable of gathering data in the volume and with the rapidity required to support model comparison and to identify trends. Future plans for the project are to grow coverage, introduce analytics, extend communication protocols and optimise sensor detection sensitivity. The project is also moving to trial with Transport Scotland.

Modern farming: the Agricultural Engineering Precision Innovation (Agri-EPI) Centre

Science of Sensor Systems Software (S4) The Universities of Glasgow and St Andrews, along with Liverpool University and Imperial College London, are to share £4.2M from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to investigate the delivery of more reliable sensor-based systems and the decisions they support, for example: the development of water networks, air quality monitoring, autonomous driving and advanced manufacturing. CENSIS, in its support of the programme, will work with the universities and the sensor systems community to identify challenges, develop collaborative projects, and provide access to expertise and resources.

By 2020, precision agriculture is set to be worth £2.3 billion globally. Amidst this revolution, the Agri-EPI Centre has been established to ensure the UK increases its status as one of the world leaders in the sector. Initial areas of interest for the Centre include automated vehicles, unmanned aerial vehicles, instrumentation to monitor operations and performance of cropping systems, as well as sensing and imaging technologies to monitor crop and livestock production. As Agri-EPI members, CENSIS will deliver LoRa™ LPWAN connectivity to a number of farms initially, with extension to aquaculture sites in the longer term. We will use this to support the development, deployment and evaluation of new sensing and monitoring approaches. These will increase yield, support lowered costs and improve husbandry standards.

Page 7

Project and Activity Highlights Aecom

With UK Astronomy Technology Centre

Hyperspectral imaging (HSI) data from satellites is routinely used to monitor oceans and large bodies of inland water. It is as yet unproven however in the field of shallow and narrow waterways. AECOM and UK ATC worked together to lay the basis for the development of next generation compact and portable HSI imagers and data analytics tailored to monitoring confined water bodies.

Amethyst Research With University of Dundee

New uses for infra-red spectroscopy and infra-red cameras were explored in this project, to identify biological and chemical deposits which otherwise could be difficult to see. The three month long project demonstrated the significant benefit infra-red imaging technology could bring within the field of crime scene investigation to identifying relevant evidence.


With University of Strathclyde

This project aims to develop a bio-imaging platform that can perform accurate, live, intracellular analysis of cells in 3D. The most prominent market segment where live intracellular imaging is key is stem cell research, which will impact areas such as tissue engineering and cell therapy. With a focus on monitoring stem cells, this platform can address the need for both improved cell-imaging capabilities, whilst ensuring the cells are grown in a tissue-like environment using sophisticated hydrogel technology.

Page 8

CENSIS Review 2013 – 2016

Cascade Technologies With University of Glasgow

The aim of this project was to address the high-level challenge of developing, safe, reliable and cost-effective technologies for the emerging shale gas market. The team developed and demonstrated a network of open path gas sensing platforms capable of continuous and remote operation to localise and monitor fugitive emissions of gases from unconventional extraction sites.

Findlay Irvine

With Heriot-Watt University

This collaboration explored a new sensor system to measure voids under railway sleepers as trains pass. Deploying wireless accelerometers directly to railway track infrastructure allows for the real time monitoring of railway track movements during train passage. Although signal processing challenges have previously prevented the development of such a commercial product, a new algorithm has the potential to overcome these and be expanded to measure railway voiding.

Gas Sensing Solutions With Glasgow Caledonian University

The investigation of intelligent sensor systems with applications for the built environment, telehealthcare and the oil and gas industries was the challenge for this project. The team investigated the possibilities of smart Sensors as embedded intelligent self-learning systems. This would allow sensors to anticipate and respond to changing conditions with minimal human intervention, helping to provide comfortable living environments, reduce power consumption and protect the environment.

Gas Sensing Solutions and Wideblue With the University of the West of Scotland

GSS also collaborated on a project with Wideblue and the University of the West of Scotland on the feasibility of a portable respiratory device for sports and exercise. The team aimed to establish measured and modelled performance data and provide a go/ no go decision as to feasibility for using the new Wideblue/GSS medical capnometers in exercise science and recreational sports applications.

Page 9

Hydrason Solutions With Heriot-Watt University

This project (WACEMM) investigated how the capabilities of Hydrason’s Wideband Sonar system (WBS) could be further enhanced to improve its performance. The WBS system can accurately locate an underwater object and identify its structure and composition without making any direct contact. This is useful in areas such as subsea or coastal surveying, asset and integrity management, and flow assurance. The project aimed to further improve underwater object recognition performance, allowing even greater environmental, seabed and structural detail.

ICT Innovation for Manufacturing SMEs (I4MS)

With the Advanced Forming Research Centre, part of the UK’s High Value Manufacturing Catapult and Scottish Enterprise

This EU initiative aims to build a network of Regional Digital Manufacturing Innovation (RDMI) hubs; helping companies plan and prepare for the introduction of advanced digital manufacturing processes (known as Industry 4.0). The partnership is supporting a six-month feasibility study to examine the business case for the establishment of a Scottish RDMI hub. CENSIS’s role involves developing the supply chain of SMEs in the SIS space that can bring expertise to the growing digital manufacturing ecosystem.

Innovent Technology

With University of Strathclyde and National Physical Laboratory (NPL)

This collaboration investigated the feasibility of a scanning technique to measure the depth of back fat on live animals. The developed instrument and methodology will enable more accurate indication for back fat, improving management and nutrition, lowering production costs and increasing the selection accuracy of animals for slaughter. The proposed new system could provide an alternative to existing ultrasound livestock back fat scanners that require direct contact with the skin to produce effective measurements.

Page 10

CENSIS Review 2013 – 2016


With University of Glasgow

Optos has carried out two CENSIS projects. The first explored the correction of optical aberrations for improved image quality in Optos scanning laser ophthalmoscopes. An additional project aimed to enhance the Optos QA process through the development and implementation of an automated image artefact detection scheme that will flag potential faults during the manufacturing process.

Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult This collaborative project with CENSIS delivered a review of the state-of-the-art sensors and imaging systems for detecting the presence of marine mammals in the vicinity of tidal turbines. The review identified current practice in tidal turbine collision risk technologies and explored where existing systems could be improved and further optimised.


With Heriot-Watt University

Using Low Temperature Co-fired Ceramic (LTCC) technology, this project aimed to design, manufacture and test a cutting edge yet robust magnetic transducer system. Today’s magnetic transducers of this type are largely based on planar 2D sensing coils. This project investigated the development of a 3D transducer using low-cost LTCC technology.

SMS Oilfield

With Robert Gordon University

Many of the world’s oil and gas reserves are contained in sandstone reservoirs. Sand’s abrasive impact can erode flow lines and lead to clogged production equipment. By exploring improved data analytics and algorithms for sand monitoring, this activity is looking at ways in which to enable real-time intelligent management of sand in production flow, with the aim of improving safety and overall equipment effectiveness, improving the productivity of onshore and offshore operations and reducing intervention costs.

Page 11

Scottish Water

With University of Strathclyde

Scottish Water holds and gathers vast data sets relating to water and wastewater pumping stations and their related operating environments. Pumps are often deployed in remote and demanding environments, where failure can impact quality of service and repairs can be costly and time consuming. By investigating techniques to identify key signatures within large volumes of sensor-derived data, the project aimed to allow the organisation to optimise the performance of its equipment in the field.

Thales UK Glasgow

With University of the West of Scotland

The challenge of this collaboration was to develop an algorithm that can process lowresolution infrared imagery to recognise vehicles and humans, and identify the vehicle’s type in real time with limited processing hardware. The developed algorithm contains two key elements: (i) advanced image restoration and (ii) automatic detection and recognition.


With University of St Andrews TM

This is a collaborative pilot project with Topolytics, the University of St Andrews, CalaChem, Air Monitors Ltd and the Scottish Government. Incorporating the university’s statistical models into Topolytics software will help identify and eliminate many of the false positives that can crop up. This will enhance decisionmaking by allowing users to better understand and have more confidence in data produced by environmental sensors.

Page 12

CENSIS Review 2013 – 2016

A review of CENSIS activity 2013-2016 Project portfolio: maturing TRLs 16

Current project portfolio

Project Start TRL



Project Finish TRL

No. of projects

12 10 8 6

Current GVA up to


4 2 0 -2











TRL Level

Project sectors

Industrial and Manufacturing

Natural and Built Environment

Subsea, Offshore and Marine

Health, Wellbeing and Life Sciences

Defence CBNRE

CENSIS assets

IoT Centre

CENSIS international reach Germany Berlin


Spain Barcelona Madrid


Digital Subsea /Offshore



CENSIS community Japan







We have over 1350 followers on Twitter @CENSIS121

There are over 3500 companies, universities and research groups in our database.

Events attended or organised by CENSIS staff.

Page 13

Making an Impact

The Innovation Centres in Scotland As part of 2016’s Year of Innovation Architecture and Design, Scotland’s eight Innovation Centres came together to celebrate Scottish innovation. Activity centred around a showcase event in June, TEDxGlasgow. Exploring the theme of ‘A disruptive world’ and attracting over 1000 delegates, TEDxGlasgow was one of a worldwide group of conferences in the TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) family that offers ‘Ideas worth spreading’. On the day, delegates were introduced to ‘Innovation Avenue’, the ICs’ tailor made interactive exhibition that explored a range of technologies associated with the different Centres. This was supplemented by exploratory workshops around the subject of the future of Scottish innovation. TEDx also saw the launch of the Centres’ joint website www.innovationcentres.scot featuring the new IC video.

Page 14

CENSIS Review 2013 – 2016

Meeting future innovators As well as our annual Technology Summit and Conference which has taken place in both Edinburgh and Glasgow, the CENSIS team organises events, attends exhibitions and also speaks at relevant seminars throughout Scotland.

Page 15

Contact details: CENSIS The Inovo Building 121 George Street Glasgow G1 1RD Tel: 0141 330 3876 Email: info@censis.org.uk

Join the CENSIS mailing list at www.censis.org.uk Follow us on Twitter CENSIS121

Profile for CENSIS

CENSIS Review 2013-2016  

Highlights of CENSIS activity from its launch in 2013 until summer 2016. CENSIS is the Innovation Centre for Sensor and Imaging Systems and...

CENSIS Review 2013-2016  

Highlights of CENSIS activity from its launch in 2013 until summer 2016. CENSIS is the Innovation Centre for Sensor and Imaging Systems and...

Profile for censis