Back in the 1960s, many Americans and many other folks outside the UK became aware, for the first time, of England’s fifth largest city. Liverpool, UK blipped on everyone’s radar screen big time, thanks to four musicians/songwriters who called themselves The Beatles.
Today, Liverpool, in addition to having a great soccer team, is again becoming internationally known for something big. This time, it’s technology. A plethora of businesses focused on driving innovation in sports technology, tele-rehabilitation, and cloud platforms have signed up as tenants at Liverpool’s new center for sensor technology development, dubbed Sensor City.
Sensor City’s mission is to create a global hub for sensor technologies and tenants include regional and internationally based businesses. It is a joint venture between the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University and one of four flagship University Enterprise Zones
One noted innovator setting up shop at the Sensor City site is entrepreneur Terry Nelson, a former Liverpool FC player and paratrooper. Having overcome some serious health issues, he developed the Aqua Running body suit. This is a special rubber suit that enable users run in water, providing an effective, no impact workout with beneficial resistance. Said to be the only fitness aid of its type, the suit is endorsed by Santas Real Madrid Medical Services and uses a patented hydro buoyancy system to maximize no impact training. Terry is now using Sensor City’s state-of-the-art facilities, which include a technology development zone and open innovations lab, to evolve the Aqua Running product further by building sensors into the suit that will provide medical staff with valuable training and performance data.
Uplec Industries Ltd., a North Wales business focusing on the design and development of a range of specialist electronics products is also taking up residency at Sensor City. The company will use Sensor City facilities to work on its remote physiotherapy technologies for the UK’s healthcare markets. The project involves the development of sensor technology that will enable physiotherapy patients to be treated remotely, through the provision of trackable and monitored exercise regimes done in the home. This technology is expected to launch in 2018, following medical evaluation.
A third Sensor City tenant, Zaiku Group Ltd. specializes in cloud and distributed systems. Nanosai, a Zaiku Group and Jenkov Aps startup will be based at Sensor City to develop back-end technologies for a better and more intelligent Internet experience.
Alison Mitchell, Executive Director for Sensor City reports, “Sensor City has been designed and built to establish and support commercially viable high-tech businesses by offering technical expertise, business support and an international platform for collaboration. It is fantastic to see businesses like Aqua Running, Uplec and Zaiku engaging with everything the center has to offer and we look forward to seeing many more innovative companies and entrepreneurs doing so in future.”
Analysts forecast Sensor City creating 1,000 jobs in the region over the next decade and nurturing 300 start-up tech businesses. Laboratory, office and hot desking spaces are now available. Who knows, the next Beatles may launch from Sensor City in either virtual or augmented reality form. ~MD