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Cohort G Projects

On this page you will find details of all of the projects that we currently supporting on Cohort G of the Midlands ICURe programme 2021 / 2022

If you would like to make contact with any of the cohort or have any questions for them, please do contact us via email : icure@warwick.ac.uk

or by phone: 07385 083391

Herman Aguirre

The global mining industry is valued at $1.85T and the mining cost of an operation is 40% of the total operating expenditure of an extractive producer, of which movement of material within operations makes up 50–60% of cost. Operations and power account for 1% of total Greenhouse gas emissions globally.

As such there is a significant need to optimise and control operational fleet (shovels, loaders, haul trucks) of a mine to impact profitability and CO2 emissions.

Some fleet management information solutions exist but are expensive, require highly skilled staff to run and are tied to a single manufacturer of equipment. For these reasons little or no smart fleet management information solution exists within medium and small-scale mining operations which make up $1.16T of the market.

Our solution; OMG Fleet is 1/1000th of the cost to install compared to existing approaches, delivers results in a user-friendly format on any internet connected device from servers in the cloud and provides full interoperability on machinery from any manufacturer. It does not require expensive communication infrastructure, higher level technical skills to operate, and works without GPS coverage, unlocking important “digital blind spots” such as underground mines.

Designed by mining engineers to deliver the type of information that miners need it enables 10% cost improvement in load and haul and 2.5% improvement overall that makes the difference between profit and loss for marginal mines.


Nicola Fenu

A key advantage of robotic surgery is found in its use of wristed, multi-degree of freedom energy instruments that alter the tissue media with which they interact, e.g., cutting, coagulation, biopsies. Human-operated ultrasonic surgical tools have shown several advantages to conventional tools such as cutting precision, coagulation speed, and almost zero blood loss. However, to date, a dexterous ultrasonic energy instrument for robotic surgery does not exist. This is due to the difficulty in downscaling conventional ultrasonic devices while maintaining the same surgical performance. Scale is derived from the operational frequency, which in turn conventionally depends on device length. With available technology, the active transducer is too large to fit through a surgical port. Hence existing robotic ultrasonic tools have an axially constrained rigid waveguide to conduct the acoustic energy from the transducer outside the body to the interior of the body. This makes manipulation difficult and has led to patient injury due to the lack of manoeuvrability. I have proposed a novel solution to miniaturise the ultrasonic transducer without loss of surgical performance to allow it to be mounted directly at the end of a wristed robotic arm. The technology is based on the incorporation of metastructures into the transducer. These affect its stiffness and therefore reduce the resonant frequency and required length of the transducer. Crucially, it is possible to reduce the total length .


Zhao (Daniel) Hao

Our novel idea is to bring affordable and reliable space autonomy to the nascent small and micro spacecraft market. For example, the AISat system can help spacecraft like Starlink communication satellite constellation to navigate and control intelligently to avoid potential collisions with other space objects in the similar orbits. We use modular hardware and in-house developed AI software to cut the cost of the expensive space autonomy subsystems. Our product adds the state-of-the-art AI technologies to the existing, via minimal design modification, and future small and micro satellites. The product is a package including both hardware and software with training and maintenance services. This product gives the small satellite unique ability to be smarter, safer, and faster and improve their reusability.

Our product provides the following core aspects:

  1. A hardware (An AI computer with space camera) to support in-space smart autonomous guidance and navigation which are usually the key of successfully missions
  2. Ground-support, hardware design, and old hardware upgrade/integration services
  3. Simulation software for AI programming with training support
  4. In-space software maintenance

The satellites with AISat system can be innovated to be automatically and intelligently adapted to different space missions, identify other satellites, avoid collisions, and are on-orbit services ready to extensively increase operation lifetime.


John Humphreys

The idea is to commercialise our newly identified ionic conducting materials to be used as electrolyte for fuel cells, for robust and low-cost fuel cells for large scale applications.

The high cost of existing hydrogen fuel cells based on acidic Nafion membrane electrolyte and the poor durability of the hydrogen fuel cells based on alkaline membrane electrolyte have limited the large scale application of hydrogen fuel cell powered electric vehicles (EVs).

Fortunately, in our research, the Warwick Energy Materials group has discovered a family of composite materials which exhibit high OH- ionic conductivity and are also chemically compatible with CO2. Cost of the alkaline membrane fuel cells based on the Warwick membrane will be low, plus low running cost because ‘free’ air can be directly used as the oxidant at the cathode. Hopefully the new alkaline hydrogen fuel cells will replace the conventional proton exchange membrane fuel cells on the EV market, breaking the bottle neck of the fuel cell technologies, achieving large scale application in EVs.

This is an extremely good opportunity because the EV market is enormous with legislation being introduced worldwide to phase out petrol and diesel cars.

Our composite alkaline membrane can also be used as the electrolyte for electrolysers for green hydrogen production through electrolysis of water. The cost of these alkaline electrolyser will be low due to the use of low-cost catalysts at the electrodes.


Joshua Jones

This technology provides new, cross-linked extracellular matrix hydrogels with strength and flexibility. Extracellular matrix (ECM) biomaterials are derived from animal tissues by removing cells and antigenic components, leaving behind a scaffold that new cells can colonise. ECM derived biomaterials can also be ground into small particles, solubilised and polymerised to form hydrogels. These contain natural elements of the ECM including proteins, growth factors, matrix bound vesicles and more which promote cell migration, differentiation and remodelling in vivo.

Therefore there is huge interest in using ECM hydrogels to promote wound healing and regeneration of damaged tissues in patients. However, current ECM hydrogels (including those already on the market) lack strength, cannot support surrounding tissues and are rapidly degraded, limiting their use. This technology uses a bioactive cross-linking agent to provide naturally derived ECM hydrogels with 100-fold increase in strength, flexibility and resistance to degradation. These cross-linked gels retain the natural elements of the ECM and can influence cell behaviour and promote regeneration and the, strength and flexibility will expand the utility of ECM hydrogels well beyond the current market. The unique combination of biofunctionality, strength and degradation resistance means our materials have the capability to promote tissue repair and regeneration, including but not limited to nerves, tendons and wound care.


Leeanne Lindsay

AI has been used in many domains, but to a lesser extent for detection of criminal or fraudulent behaviour. Suspicious gambling behaviour is something that companies are constantly looking for. Surprisingly, it has been noted that online gambling techniques for fraud detection have advanced little in recent years focussing mainly on detection of fraudulent accounts and activities. Traditional methods to combat these accounts include rule-based fraud detection techniques using IP/device/location tracking or fingerprint-based verifications which fraudsters can learn to overcome. Some companies also analyse account activity at the withdrawal stage to determine whether they should pay out.

While these methods have had a great deal of success in the past, they fall short in more ways than one considering the evolving caliber of online fraudsters. Our novel deep-tech AI engine analyses in-game behaviour in real-time, looking for relationships, patterns, dependencies and hidden structures to reveal the tell-tale signs of fraud. SafeBet has the capability to learn and adapt to new behaviours over time, thus reducing the chances of a fraudster being able to overcome the technology. This allows companies to automatically detect fraudulent and suspicious behaviour before the withdrawal stage reducing company losses.


Mohamed Mohamed

We have been researching differences in ontological and knowledge structures between different software programming languages to understand how these differences create complexity in software linkages. This research has led to the development of a radical new approach to linking computer systems together. Instead of the traditional approach of hardwired links, we have developed a first-in-class piece of cloud-based middle-ware that radically simplifies the process of linking two IT systems together. This system is called MOFHS.

A significant issue in on-boarding new software into an organisation is to get the new software to work with existing IT systems. Each system needs to know how to communicate with the other, where the other keeps its data, how the other system presents arguments etc. The work to make the systems work together is called software integration. Modern computing languages are extremely complex and hence it can take an experienced software programmer a long time to knit the different systems together, making the process costly and time-consuming. Further, it can be difficult to remove new software – should it not work out – as the links between the systems can become deeply embedded due to changes made to existing software as well as the new software. This traps customers with outdated technology. Overall, our new approach radically simplifies the integration/decoupling process.


Mohamed Mohamed

Natural Products are structurally complex 3D metabolites and display superb biological activity and selectivity making them ideal starting points for disease treatment. However, their complex 3D structures are difficult to access and modify as needed to take bioactive molecules into viable pharmaceuticals. More linear and planar (2D) molecules are commonly employed in drug discovery programmes due to their accessibility, despite the problems commonly associated with them later on in the pharmaceutical development pipeline.

We have developed a new way to make novel 3D molecules. This research provides a uniquely flexible, practical and modular access into natural-product like structures. Our approach builds upon novel methods for chemical synthesis developed in the Davies group and gives access to molecules with the characteristics and properties (chemical space) required for early stage drug discovery. It introduces a mix and match approach with readily prepared building blocks allowing fast access into structurally diverse systems. Its flexibility means it can be used to (a) access different volumes of chemical space relevant for drug discovery, and (b) explore the space immediately around desirable chemical structures. As a result this approach can enable both hit identification and hit optimisation stages of drug discovery.



Matthew Twigg

We have developed a procedure to manufacture natural biosurfactant compounds for healthcare applications, including prevention of gastrointestinal (GI) tract bleeding and skincare.


GI tract bleeding effects a high proportion of the population and is connected to conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease and colonic cancer. Morbidity/ mortality rates associated with GI tract bleeding are up to 10%. Biosurfactants are compounds produced by microbes with the ability to effect surface chemistry. They are currently used in a variety of industries, including the food, cosmetics, and pharmaceutical sectors. These natural compounds represent a more sustainable, less toxic alternative to synthetically derived surfactants. Antimicrobial and anticancer properties of biosurfactants have been documented. Our research has shown that certain types of biosurfactants significantly affect colonic tumour growth within cell lines, and GI tract bleeding in a mouse model. These compounds could be commercially exploited to provide preventative measures against GI tract bleeding. We also have preliminary results indicating their success in reducing skin melanomas.


Short term we foresee a route to market within the food or cosmetics sectors, incorporating these compounds into health foods / skin creams with possible marketing approval as medical food supplements. Long term there may be potential for a therapeutic intervention for GI Tract bleeding and skin cell cancer.


Kurtis Weir

The purpose of this iCURe application is to seek investment to accelerate the commercial exploitation of new virtual reality reading & viewing accessibility software. This software enables severely visually impaired people to be able to read virtual books and content with increased independence and provides options for tailored accessibility.

The ECR has developed a state-of-the-art assistive technology in the form of a prototype VR eBook reader and VR video viewer. The technology has been trialled and proven to enable people with visual disabilities to read and view content in a way that has previously been impossible.


The software primarily focuses on manipulating the following options, allowing for the user to fine tune how they would like to access the digital content available to them:

  • Book/Text Selection: The software allows for the translation of standard text into our application's format, including all the user’s chosen accessibility choices designed for VR.
  • Video Selection: The software allows for the translation of standard video formats into our application’s display, including all of the users chosen accessibility choices designed for VR.
  • Book and Video Size and Model: The size of each book read and video viewer can be manipulated freely by the user. Text sizes are scaled along with book sizes, although these can be independently or separately adjusted for additional control.

The technology is the first of its kind and meets an unmet need amongst 2m people.


Ibidapo Williams

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the 2nd leading cause of chronic disability and 4th leading cause of death worldwide. Patients have frequent exacerbations, which severely impair their lung function and quality of life, leading to inability to work, frequent GP visits and emergency hospital admissions. Early diagnosis and treatment of exacerbations can reduce their severity and limit lung damage, yet often treatment is delayed because early ‘worsening of symptoms’ goes unrecognised. The need exists for a simple portable monitor that allows patients to assess their condition at home and help them to spot exacerbations early.

Our team has developed a home diagnostic that measures multiple biomarkers in a patient’s saliva sample in the appropriate clinical range in under 5 minutes. The device uses a magneto-immunoassay to quantify each of the biomarkers; it measures micron-sized magnetic particles that are bound specifically to the target biomarkers in the sample. Biomarker levels indicate the severity of COPD inflammation, permitting prediction of the onset of an exacerbation. This technology would enable patients to detect if their symptoms are worsening and self-treat appropriately. COPDGuardian is a patient-supported solution that will be the first of its kind in COPD care. It will empower patients to self-manage their condition, helping them identify and treat exacerbations promptly, whilst also conserving expensive NHS resources.