Innovation news in brief: Construction; Philae lander; automotive propulsion

Intelligent technology is being used to assess the performance of modern buildings

Intelligent technology to improve the performance of buildings

A partnership between Whole Life Consultants (WLC) and the University of the West of Scotland is aiming to produce an easy and intelligent way of capturing the performance of modern buildings.

Funded by Innovate UK, WLC (a spin out company from the University of Dundee) and the University of the West of Scotland are collaborating to produce a prototype, web-based digital system that will streamline data collected throughout the lifecycle of a building from all those involved in its design, construction, operation and maintenance.

Prof Malcolm Horner, Chairman of WLC, said: “This exciting project will seek to create a comprehensive, integrated picture of the performance of buildings that will help designers, contractors, maintenance engineers and operators deliver best value for their clients.”

Work starts on £10 million Wolverhampton University building

Work has now started on the £10.1 million block of offices and research units at the University of Wolverhampton, reports the Express and Star.

The Science, Technology and Prototyping Centre is being built on land at the University of Wolverhampton Science Park.

The three-storey, 70ft tall block will have 32,000 sq ft of managed office space, together with some shared workspace and a laboratory and testing space for prototypes, as well as a café and space for parking.

Europe’s historic comet lander faces eternal hibernation

Silent since its last call to mothership Rosetta seven months ago, the Philae lander is facing conditions on Comet 67P from which it is unlikely to recover.

Rosetta, which continues its scientific investigations at the comet until September before its own comet-landing finale, has in recent months been balancing science observations with flying dedicated trajectories optimised to listen out for Philae. But the lander has remained silent since 9 July 2015.

“The chances for Philae to contact our team at our lander control centre are unfortunately getting close to zero,” said Stephan Ulamec, Philae project manager at the German Aerospace Centre, DLR.

He added: “We are not sending commands any more and it would be very surprising if we were to receive a signal again.”

Wanted: Green automotive propulsion technologies

The Advanced Propulsion Centre, in partnership with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and Innovate UK, is to invest up to £20 million per project in collaborative research and development funding to support the development of low carbon, low emission automotive propulsion technologies.

Projects must demonstrate technologies that:

  • Deliver significant reductions in vehicle CO2 or other emissions compared to current best-in-class technologies
  • Align with Automotive Council Technology Group Roadmaps with respect to the four sticky technologies in the APC remit
  • Develop the UK's supply chain in the field of low carbon vehicle technology.

Projects must be collaborative and business-led and include a vehicle manufacturer or a Tier 1 supplier.

Applicants must first register with Innovate UK by noon on 23rd March 2016 and the deadline for submission of full applications is at noon on 30th March 2016.

More details here

Expansion plans for sportswear company

A sportswear and equipment specialist based at Pool Innovation Centre (PIC) is preparing to expand its business nationwide.

AGAME Sports offers a range of bespoke sports kits and sportswear to clubs, colleges and universities throughout the UK. The company has already launched its successful brand in Devon, with plans to roll the company out across the South East in the coming months.

Adrian Noott, director of AGAME Sports, said: “We planned to be at the Innovation Centre for only a short time but fell in love with the place. It is great to be based here, and adds to the professional look and feel of our business and how we want to portray ourselves to customers.

“Being based at PIC fits around our vision for the business as it continues to grow, and the interaction between the innovation centre team and the companies working here is fantastic.”