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National Award for University Support that Helped Coventry Company Achieve 700% Increase in Sales

Originally published 18 Decmber 2001

The University of Warwick has won the national best TCS programme award for its work with Coventry company Improvision which has helped that company increase sales by 700%, profits by 300%, and grow its number of employees from 12 to 45.

The University of Warwick's Computer Science Department supplied two TCS (TCS originally stood for Teaching Company Scheme) associates (or researchers) with an academic supervisor to help the business develop a highly innovative new software for 2D and 3D image processing for optical microscopes.

The Academic Supervisor Tim Atherton, and the two Associates Robert Morrey and Benjohn Barnes (both of whom are PhD researchers in the University of Warwick's Computer Science Department), were given the aim of collaborating with the company to produce innovative 3D imaging products that would make Improvision a global market leader. On the technical side Robert Morrey was able to help the company by finding ways to remove the out of focus haze from fluoresence microscope images. If you focus at one depth everything above and below appears in the image but out of focus. By taking a series of images at increasing depths into a microscope's sample, he was able to mathematically remove the out of focus haze and get a 3D image. Benjohn Barnes found a way to "Visualise" the resulting 3D data on normal 2D screens which allowed real-time interaction with microscope data and also allows a researcher to view the sample from any angle, not just looking down from the top as the microscope allows.

As well as receiving this TCS award for the success of their work the company itself was also awarded the Queen's Award for Enterprise last year (for exports - about 60% of Improvision's sales are exports). Improvision is now a global market leader in imaging systems for conventional optical fluorescence microscopy.

Collaborations between the University of Warwick and Improvision continue with a second TCS Programme and a sponsored Graduate Assistant who has just been awarded his PhD.

For further information contact:

Tim Atherton
Dept of Computer Science
University of Warwick
Tel: 024 76 523647
07967 126 418

Nicky Walker,
024 7669 2229

Further information about the above press release and all other media services at the University of Warwick can be obtained from:

Peter Dunn, Press Officer
University of Warwick
Coventry, CV4 7AL
West Midlands
Tel: 024 76 523708