Dutch Technology Foundation STW has awarded three Valorisation Grants (phase 1) to entrepreneurial researchers of the Centre for Telematics and Information Technology (CTIT). Aim of the grant is to help researchers to further develop scientific inventions towards application. The three grants are part of the six grants awarded to University of Twente and twenty-four grants awarded in total (nineteen phase 1, five phase 2).
Mindplay by Danny Plass-Oude Bos en Boris Reuderink
Together the current (Danny) and former (Boris) researchers of the Human Media Interaction group wrote a proposal on MindPlay: Enabling brain-computer interfaces for gaming. Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) is an emerging technology that allows us to control devices directly with our brains — not unlike speech recognition for brain activity. While BCIs offers completely novel interaction paradigms, its widespread application has been hindered by the need of extensive expertise in the fields of signal processing, psychology and neuroscience for development and design of BCIs, and long calibration times that are required to make the BCI work for a specific user. Commercial headsets that measure the electrical (EEG) activity are already on the market, and games are being developed with these headsets — though it is generally acknowledged that that these BCIs are quite limited, and often not based on real brain signals. Despite the fact that people are willing to believe that the BCIs work, general disappointment is imminent if the technology does not improve in the near future.
With Mindplay the researchers are aiming to provide game developers with software that allows them to use either prefabricated detectors of brain activity, or allows them to design new detectors for novel tasks defined in the context of their game, without the need of a degree in neuroscience, computer science or signal processing. Recently, they have developed a method that allows for knowledge-free generation of new detectors for arbitrary brain activity.
StructWeb by Wim Korevaar
Wim Korevaar of the Computer Architectures for Embedded Systems group was awarded a grant for his proposal on structuring the web for organizations. Many company-pages on the web contain a wealth of information. But how often are employees and customers drowned by the amount of information and navigation options, and how much time is lost?
In recent years an information system has been developed, called StructWeb: based on a unique combination of category-browsing, search-technology and filters. StructWeb has an intuitive user interface optimized for touch-screens and desktops. The current technology enables companies to structure their information and make it easily accessible for customers and employees.
Spatial-Based SALOC by Bram Dil
Researcher Bram Dil from the Pervasive Systems group received a valorisation grant for his proposal on a novel real-time localization system. Real-Time Localization Systems (RTLS) track assets and people in real-time. The most renowned RTLS is probably GPS, which can only be used in outdoor environments. Even though the need for indoor RTLS is evident and several commercial RTLS exist, the penetration in various market areas is severely hampered by excessive costs, relative inaccurate positioning in harsh environments and the large efforts needed for deployment and maintenance. In his proposal Dil presents a novel Real-Time Localization System that is cost effective, provides superior accuracy in the harshest environments, is easy to deploy and requires little to no maintenance. Thereby, competing with existing solutions and opening various new application domains that were not feasible before.
About the STW Valorisation Grants
The valorisation grant is an individual grant for researchers to develop innovative high-tech businesses based within an university or research institute developed knowledge. The grant was set up by STW in 2004 and is based on the American Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) programme. In practice, researchers find it difficult to acquire funding for the further development of an idea that has emerged from scientific research: they have demonstrated that the idea can work (proof-of-principle), but there is no prototype yet. Standard research funding often provides too little space for the development and additional research that is so vitally needed at this stage. The Valorisation Grant is intended to bridge this 'financial gap'.
The Valorisation Grant programme has two types of funding: phase 1 and phase 2. Phase 1 is the feasibility study with a maximum of 25,000 euros for six months, during which the applicant carries out research into the technological and commercial feasibility of the proposal. Phase 2 is the valorisation phase with a maximum grant of 200,000 euro for two years. In this phase, the first steps in the valorisation process are taken, such as developing a product portfolio, attracting a launching customer and negotiating with private funders. The aim of this phase is to reach a point at which private financiers will assume responsibility for funding the further commercial development. A condition for receiving phase 2 funding is the successful completion of phase 1. Proposals are judged by a jury on their technological innovation, commercial potential, approach and motivation.