Blown away by weather monitoring technology

£15,000 has been awarded to entrepreneurial academic, Dr Lee Chapman, from the School of Geography at the University of Birmingham.

Dr Chapman has developed an exciting suite of tools to monitor road temperature (to plan for ice and snow), rail temperature (to plan for heat related delays due to buckling of track) and rail moisture levels (to plan for issues around ‘leaves in the line’).

This innovative technology under the brand name ‘ALTASense’ will minimise the disruption to commuters and the cost to companies caused by the impacts of weather and climate on our infrastructure. The technology has already generated a lot of interest from potential industry partners.

Dr Chapman’s technology was recognised at the recent Enterprising Birmingham Showcase which took place at the University’s Business School. The Showcase was the culmination of a competition open to all staff researchers and academics at the University.

The seeds of ‘ALTASense’ were borne out of the research carried out through a KTP with Birmingham City Council, 2009-2011 on the ‘urban heat island effect’.
On winning the award, Dr Chapman said,

“I am equally shocked and delighted at winning this prestigious competition, especially in light of the quality of the other entries I was up against. However, I am most grateful for the opportunity to gain more exposure to my business idea, altasense, especially to such a well-connected audience of venture capitalists, business angels and other commercialisation experts. The competition has been an enormous confidence booster and I now feel fully prepared to take my ideas to the next level.”

An award for the ‘Most Successful Business Collaboration' was also made at the Showcase to Dr Karl Dearn from the University’s School of Mechanical Engineering. Dr Dearn has been working with Truflo Marine Ltd on a KTP project to design a novel range of valves, using the latest technology. This will help Truflo to reach more diverse markets in the oil and gas sector and thereby strengthen their offer to business.
Dr Karl Dearn said,

“I am very pleased that our collaboration with IMI Truflo Marine Ltd has been recognised with the most successful business collaboration award. Our engagement through the KTP programme is driving innovation that will result in significant benefits to the organisation, but is also providing invaluable experiences for the School and our undergraduates. The prize will provide an exciting platform for us to develop further research and development opportunities as we widen our engagement activities.

The competition highlights the game changing technologies that are developed at the University of Birmingham and exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit of its researchers.
The Showcase event attracted over 120 attendees from the University, local organisations and businesses keen to see the way that research can benefit the economy and society especially when universities work closely with business partners.

For further information about the competition please contact Catherine Mansell on +44 (0)121 414 4905