Innovation news in brief: eFOLDi; device detection; Enterprize Zones; machine learning

Sumi Wang and her father, Chinese engineer Jianmin Wang

Driving British innovation

A lightweight foldable scooter which the potential to make life easier for people with limited mobility has reached the final of a prestigious British inventors competition.

The eFOLDi is the creation of Surrey resident Sumi Wang. The innovative electric machine, designed by Sumi and her father, Chinese engineer Jianmin Wang, has been chosen as a finalist for the Gadget Show Live British Inventors’ Project.

In 2012, Jianmin Wang broke his leg and was unable to get around. This paved the way for the creation of eFOLDi, as managing director Sumi Wang explains:

“An inventor’s mind is always at work and when my father Jianmin broke his leg, he decided to design his own method of transport to get around.

“While there are a lot of electric scooters available, Jianmin realised that there were no effective folding scooters that could be easily packed away to take on public transport while also proving secure over rough ground.

“After some time in the workshop, the result is a scooter that weighs only 19kg, can carry an average-sized adult over 20km on a single charge and can be folded into an easily-transported piece of luggage. eFOLDi can be programmed with three different top speeds for different needs: 4mph if it is being used as an off road mobility aid, 8mph for mobility use on the road and 12.5mph for recreational use by normal road users.

“So far, feedback from the public has been overwhelming and we are looking forward to hearing from even more people!”

The mobility device, which will be launched globally later this year following a Kickstarter campaign, won the gold medal at the Beijing Invention Competition in 2015.

51Degrees granted EU patent for device detection technology

Reading-based web analytics specialist 51Degrees has been granted an EU patent for its device detection technology.

The patent is entitled Identifying properties of a communication device and covers 51Degrees’ method of extracting actionable device information from web traffic, native apps and mobile networks such as physical device screen size, price band and supported input methods.

The patented process analyses device ‘finger prints’ such as HTTP headers to identify the specific device, enabling the site or application to deliver a vastly improved user experience. 51Degrees’ patented process identifies false positives and achieves 99.9% or better accuracy. 51Degrees’ patented algorithm has been designed to accommodate data sets that increase near exponentially year on year as the popularity and importance of mobile devices grow.

51Degrees’ device detection solution currently recognises more than 32,371 different devices. The data analysis team works with manufacturer data sources to classify the characteristics of more than 170 devices each week. The adaptability of the patented algorithm allows for the rapid addition of new devices to the database to ensure accuracy is never compromised.

James Rosewell, founder and CEO of 51Degrees commented: “It was extremely important to us to secure a patent to protect our unique algorithm that can evolve in line with the telecommunication and consumer electronic industry’s rapid growth. The patent demonstrates that 51Degrees’ approach to device detection is superior to solutions from the previous decade.”

Enterprize Zones employment boost

Nearly 2,000 jobs have been attracted to England’s 24 Enterprise Zones in the three months to September last year alone –and  boosting employment to record levels – the government has announced.

Created four years ago, Enterprise Zones offer tax incentives and business rate discounts to companies who locate on them.

The government’s latest figures show that in the three months to September last year, Enterprise Zones reported the creation of 1,918 new jobs – a 9% increase on the previous quarter.

Northern Powerhouse minister James Wharton said: “Once again, we are seeing proof that Enterprise Zones are delivering real, tangible benefits, with jobs and companies showing significant growth.

In just four years, nearly 24,000 new jobs have been attracted to Enterprise Zones across the country – with jobs growth in the Northern Powerhouse even higher than the national average.”

Analytics startup Formisimo focuses on machine learning

The founders of Salford-based web analytics specialist Formisimo are launching a new product that will use machine learning to optimise website conversions, reports Prolific North.

Nudgr is being launched by founders Al Mackin and Tom New and will complement Formisimo as a sister product. Nudgr will monitor the behaviour of potential customers on a website, identifying visitors who are about to abandon, using machine learning. Nudgr works by installing two pieces of Javascript on to a website and then detecting patterns of customer behaviour, allowing it to predict abandonment.

Formisimo's current list of clients include Arsenal and Lexus.

Stem cell consortium receive funding

Cambridge-based Metrion Biosciences is leading a consortium in receipt of a €2.2 million funding award under the Eurostars SME programme.

Metrion, with partners Nanion Technologies and the stem cell cardiomyocyte group at Leiden University Medical Centre, will use the funding to develop improved human inducible pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived cardiomyocytes and screening platforms.

The goal of the project is to develop innovative phenotypic cardiac safety assays enabling improved evaluation of the proarrhythmic risk of novel therapeutics.

Dr Marc Rogers, CSO of Metrion Biosciences, commented: “We are delighted to be working alongside leading experts in stem cell cardiomyocytes and screening platform technologies to develop these new assay capabilities. This project supports Metrion’s goal of becoming a leading CRO provider in the cardiac safety screening market, enabling customers to access all three CiPA-related services through one provider.”