5 examples of world-class innovation happening in Scotland right now

Touch Bionics are creating world-class work in Scotland
Touch Bionics are creating world-class work in Scotland
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Promoted by Scottish Development International

Fintech, LiFi and AI are the new buzzwords of business innovation, and Scottish entrepreneurs are speaking that language.

Innovation is at the very heart of the Scottish psyche – whether it’s Alexander Graham Bell with the telephone, John Logie Baird with the mechanical television or Sir Robert Watson­Watt with radar, Scots have changed the way we live our lives through their inventions.

Scotland’s creative streak isn’t confined to the 19th or 20th centuries though – Scots continue to come up with innovations and inventions across a broad range of sectors, from life sciences and oil and gas through to big data and financial technology or “fintech”.

pure LiFi

Since demonstrating “LiFi” – or “light fidelity” – during a TED talk in 2011, Professor Harald Haas has shown how LiFi can turn any light-emitting diode (LED) into an access point for securely sending and receiving data at high speed.

The following year, [2012] he co-founded pure LiFi as a spin-out from the University of Edinburgh. In 2013, the company launched the first commercial LiFi product, with the first LiFi-integrated light fitting following in 2016.

LiFi alters light’s intensity, which cannot be detected by the human eye but which allows unprecedented “bandwidth” or how much data can be sent and received at once.

MindMate

After caring for his grandfather for seven years, Rogelio Arellano teamed up with Patrick Renner and Susanne Mitschke to create MindMate, an online platform for people with early-stage memory loss to promote and help with healthy and independent ageing.

The trio of Glasgow and Strathclyde university graduates set up their business at Enterprise Campus, a joint initiative from Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Strathclyde universities, and last year won a place on the Techstars accelerator programme in New York.

The app already has more than 100,000 monthly active users and is ranked in 17 countries as the number one health app in Apple’s app store.

ZoneFox

ZoneFox’s started out as Jamie Graves’ doctorate project at Edinburgh Napier University but has since morphed into a spin-out company that’s using “augmented intelligence” (AI) to help businesses protect their data.

The company’s AI involves software monitoring who is accessing data in real time and spotting patterns, removing the need for security staff to trawl back through log files.

The cyber security software specialist speeds up the time it takes to detect and deal with threats – including staff who are planning to steal data from their company – and monitors a range of devices, from desktop computers to mobile phones and tablets.

Aridhia

Aridhia was launched by software entrepreneur David Sibbald to put innovative data and analytics tools into the hands of clinical research collaborations, with Chris Roche joining as chief executive in 2014.

The developing field of precision medicine involves delivering the right treatment to the right patient at the right time by analysing individual patient’s genetics, environment, and lifestyle and aligning this to treatment and prevention.

These techniques produce vast amounts of data, which Aridhia helps clinicians and researchers analyse through AnalytiXagility, its self-service, cloud computing platform.

Aridhia recently moved into the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow, the largest in Western Europe.

Touch Bionics

Livingston-based Touch Bionics was spun-out from the National Health Service in 2003 and in 2007 launched its revolutionary i-limb, the first powered prosthetic hand to incorporate articulating fingers.

Over the past decade, the company has continued to deliver a series of world-leading advances, from individual prosthetic fingers through to upper limbs that can change their grips using just a simple gesture.

Last year the company was acquired for £27.5 million by Nasdaq-listed Icelandic peer Ossur.

Ian Stevens, Touch Bionics’ chief executive, won the life science business leadership prize at this month’s Scottish Enterprise Life Sciences Awards.

Find out more about technology innovation in Scotland here.