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Innovate UK awards £75k grant to Bristol business pioneering fever screening technology

11 March 2021
The Business Magazine article image for: Innovate UK awards £75k grant to Bristol business pioneering fever screening technology

A Bristol-based business has been awarded a £75,000 Innovate UK grant to pivot its thermal imaging technology and develop a fever screening kiosk.

The product, Harlequin, detects the main symptom of COVID-19 – a high temperature or fever – in 50 milliseconds and is precise to within 0.25°C.

Unlike forehead scanners, this kiosk-based technology can be used while maintaining social distancing and is highly effective when testing larger numbers of people that have congregated together, for example in shopping centres or airports.

Harlequin has begun to see high sales in the Middle East and Asia – regions that have not only experienced the challenges of COVID but have suffered previous outbreaks of SARS and MERS, and understand the importance of effective, safe and speedy fever screening.

The kiosk is being rolled out to the travel and entertainment sectors, large employers, Local and National Government, airports etc.

Spookfish Innovations was founded by two engineers who met when working at Hawk-Eye Innovations – the sports technology provider used extensively at Wimbledon and in the Premier League.

When the pandemic struck, the UK Government called on industry to help provide novel solutions or pivot their existing technologies to help address the COVID challenge.

Spookfish responded, working closely with Innovate UK EDGE to pivot its thermal imaging R&D – initially focused on monitoring product defects in production lines – to create its fever screening kiosk.

Funding was deemed critical and Innovate UK EDGE South West’s Access to Funding and Finance Manager, Dr Ben Masheder, identified Innovate UK’s COVID FastTrack funding competition and supported Spookfish’s application.

“We knew we had great tech and knew we could write well but knowing how to actually win a grant is a completely different ball game. Ben’s input was invaluable.”

“Ultimately, the funding meant that we didn’t have to furlough anyone last year and could get this technology off the ground quickly.”

Spookfish is now working with EUROCAE, (European leader in the development of worldwide recognised industry standards for aviation), to help create a standard for fever screening  passengers when boarding commercial aircraft.

Nicky Godding is editor of The Business Magazine. Before her journalism career, she worked mainly in public relations moving into writing when she was invited to launch Retail Watch, a publication covering retail and real estate across Europe.

After some years of constant travelling, she tucked away her passport and concentrated on business writing, co-founding a successful regional business magazine. She has interviewed some of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs who have built multi-million-pound businesses and reported on many science and technology firsts.

She reports on the region’s thriving business economy from start-ups, family businesses and multi-million-pound corporations, to the professionals that support their growth and the institutions that educate the next generation of business leaders.

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