Edinburgh University selects Artificial Intelligence innovators to address global issues

The new artificial intelligence (AI) Accelerator Programme at Edinburgh University has selected 15 ‘trailblazing’ entrepreneurs addressing a wide range of pressing global, business and health issues.

BioLiberty co-founder Rowan-Armstrong tests the glove hoping to restore grip strength to boost muscle grip (Photo: BioLiberty).
BioLiberty co-founder Rowan-Armstrong tests the glove hoping to restore grip strength to boost muscle grip (Photo: BioLiberty).

The Post-Covid AI Accelerator based at Edinburgh University’s Bayes Centre, aims to help pioneering AI start-ups scale globally so they can go on to become world-leading companies, bringing jobs and economic benefits to Edinburgh and the region.

AI-powered robotic gloves and personalised medicines are just some of the 15 selected entrepreneurial projects for the AI Accelerator programme in partnership with Scale Space.

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Entrepreneurs will each receive a £7,500 grant from the Scottish Funding Council through the Data Driven Innovation (DDI) scheme and the six-month AI Accelerator Programme starts on 18 February and runs until 15 July 2021.

Participants will benefit from specific and tailored advice as well as group working sessions and conferences to help their businesses grow.

The cohort has been selected from 86 applicants worldwide and follows three previous Bayes accelerators cohorts, which saw 29 companies raise significant investment in the Capital.

Mark Sanders, Executive Chairman, Scale Space who has been appointed as the new Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) at Edinburgh University said: “These successful companies are all bringing innovative thinking and technology to solve problems.

"The strength of the applicants is a testament to the burgeoning AI industry in Scotland and the University of Edinburgh’s role as a global leader in this area.

"Scale Space’s track record of helping businesses to scale complements the academic strengths at the University of Edinburgh and together we look forward to supporting the growth of the Accelerator participants.

"I look forward to helping them to get the most from the Accelerator programme and their engagement with Scale Space.”

Projects include an AI-powered robotic glove designed by BioLiberty to strengthen a person’s grip.

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Ross O'Hanlon came up with the idea after seeing his aunt, who has multiple sclerosis, struggle to do tasks such as drink water or change the TV channel.

The glove hopes to help restore the independence of millions of people worldwide whose grip strength has weakend.

A personalised home-based digital therapeutics programmes developed by Neeuro will utilise Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) technology that incorporates machine learning to help ADHD children improve their attention span.

The technology also has the potential to be applicable to other brain health conditions.

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Jim Ashe, Director of Innovation, Bayes Centre, College of Science and Engineering said: “In the lead up to COP26, Scotland has the opportunity to take its global focus anddemonstrate its leadership in AI, to deliver solutions to climate change, and economic challenges created by the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Scottish Government Finance Secretary Kate Forbes MSP said: “A key enabler of Scotland’s recovery from COVID-19 is digital and technology, so it’s great to see the University of Edinburgh’s Post-COVID AI Accelerator support companies exploring how AI can be developed and used in many areas, such as health, and helping to tackle the climate emergency.

"With Scotland’s AI Strategy due to be launched on 22 March, this is an encouragingdemonstration of some of the wealth of AI talent already in Scotland, budding international collaborations, and how AI can be used for good. I look forward to following the progress of the Accelerator going forward.”

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