Staffordshire Connected and Intelligent Mobility Innovation Accelerator (SCIMIA) is a project available to SMEs through the University’s Innovation Enterprise Zone. It gives local businesses practical help to develop innovative solutions for the intelligent mobility market and this is the final opportunity for interested businesses to apply for the dedicated support on offer.
Among businesses signed up to the scheme and displaying their projects at the recent IEZ Expo 2022 were Longton-based training company V-Prep and technology company Sensor Magic.
SCIMIA has enabled local company V-Prep to add a VR experience specific to the A320 Airbus to its range of visual training aids for pilots. The VR experience has been developed by Games Development student Harry Reader who has been able to work on the project using Epic Games’ Unreal Engine, as part of his placement year.
Harriet Judge, production manager for V-Prep said: “This enables us to look at more of a B2B market. Working with the university, we’ve been able to do simple testing and the lecturer Jessica Lacombe has been really helpful and is opening doors to really useful contacts with Epic Games – the creators of the Unreal Engine computer programme - and the MOD.”
As well as refining the existing VR experience for the A320, Harry will now work on a second VR experience for a Boeing 737.
He said: “I’ve really enjoyed the placement and it’s given me time to think about what I want to do in my final year at university. The biggest thing for me was that I never wanted to limit my opportunities and I’ve found that the whole V-Prep team have been a delight to work with. It’s been an insane six months.”
Sensor Magic has worked with AI (Artificial Intelligence) and Robotics student Chris Mead to develop a smart mirror for potential use in public buildings and business lounges at airports.
Ann Wilcox explained: “We are still in the early stages but we're talking to facilities management companies about use of the smart mirrors not only as a source of information for things like weather and travel departure times but also for monitoring for water leaks.”
She also said they were exploring the low power sensor technology behind smart mirrors for use in remote rural locations like bus stops.
“We’ve been in business for 40 years developing hardware and software for companies but the help on offer through the SCIMIA project has made the world of difference and is a tremendous resource for businesses.”
Defined as the smarter, greener and more efﬁcient movement of people and goods around the world, Intelligent Mobility is a sector of the wider transport industry which is predicted to be worth around £900 billion a year by 2025 (Transport Systems Catapult).
This SCIMIA programme is open to all Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership SMEs who operate primarily on a B2B basis. The tailored support on offer through the University’s Enterprise Zone includes a student or graduate to act as an Innovation Consultant, a dedicated academic lead, access to innovative IEZ facilities and technical support.
- Staffordshire Connected & Intelligent Mobility Innovation Accelerator (SCIMIA) is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund 2014 -2020. Final acceptance onto the project is the end of January 2023.
- Details of other funded programmes available through the Innovation Enterprise Zone can be found here