Immerse UK are delighted to hear that 7 of the 38 Women in Innovation Award winners utilise Immersive tech that promotes action in gender equality, disability, inclusion and education.
Through the Women in Innovation Awards, Innovate UK is offering at least 20 Women in Innovation Awards to female entrepreneurs across the UK. The winners will each receive a £50,000 grant and a bespoke package of mentoring, coaching and business support.
In recognition of these inspiring entrepreneurs and their success in the programme, we’re shining a light on their stories and innovations, including offering them a premium subscription to Immerse UK free of charge. Learn more about the companies below.
Claire Barnett – UN Women
Claire Barnett is the Executive Director of UN Women UK which is a company that campaigns to make gender equality a reality: from grassroots programmes serving the most marginalised women and girls to helping governments design more gender-equal policies.
Claire created the Safe Spaces Now project to transform the UK’s public spaces to be safer and more inclusive for women, girls and marginalised people. During the pandemic, she brought together 5,000 women and girls to co-design solutions to combat the sexual harassment that over seven in ten women in the UK have experienced.
Claire is developing immersive training experiences to change behaviour around sexual harassment and violence in public spaces. Learners can interact using virtual and mixed reality in their own space to learn about options for seeking help.
“This is a game-changing solution which brings existing technologies to bear in a new area – one of the most widespread human rights violations.”
Claire Buckle – Ability Consultancy
Retired GB Para-athlete Claire Buckle set up Ability Consultancy (NW) Ltd in 2019 to help break down the barriers and stigma of disability.
The app will use virtual, augmented and extended reality technology, enabling the user to experience disabilities such as visual and hearing impairments, as well as experiencing life as a wheelchair user.
She has developed the Ability App to give people the opportunity to experience disability and its impact on their own surroundings while providing practical support to encourage accessibility and inclusion.
“My passion is to ensure that future generations of disabled people have the chance to live, learn and learn like everyone else.”
Elodie Draperi – GiveVision
The GiveVision co-Founder and CEO is dedicated to creating a positive impact through social entrepreneurship and technology.
GiveVision was established in 2014 with the aim of developing wearables that could transform the lives of people diagnosed with untreatable sight loss. SightPlus is a medical device that improves sight for the visually impaired. The low vision aid helps them to engage with more daily activities independently.
“SightPlus is a headset with an easy-to-use interface, and with a range of features to adjust the image to their needs. Combined with SightPlus we are developing a remote eye monitoring platform that includes a scanner for retinal imaging that takes pictures of the back of your eyes.
“At GiveVision, we aim to become the global leader in remote eye monitoring and a clinical standard.”
Nina Salomons – AnomieXR
Using virtual reality software for mental health therapy is the brainchild of Nina Salomons, developed during the pandemic to help therapists and their clients who were struggling with remote sessions.
Her groundbreaking Anomie (I-know-me) software is aimed at therapy, coaching and teaching using virtual reality (VR). Anomie’s immersive technologies help users express and understand how they feel by drawing and creating scenes in a virtual environment. Mental health support can be accessed during VR therapy sessions with a live therapist.
Nina’s innovation originated from her VR therapy work in UK prisons to improve inmates’ wellbeing and help reduce reoffending rates.
“I realised this concept would not only help prisoners but also therapists struggling with 2D digital therapeutics. After testing it during the lockdown, I knew the world needed it.”
Leslie Gaston-Bird – Mix Messiah Productions
Leslie Gaston-Bird (CAS, MPSE, AMPS) started playing classical piano at a young age and excelled at maths and sciences. She combined her talents to become a re-recording mixer and sound editor specialising in Film and TV features as well as podcasts.
She is the author of Women in Audio (2019, Routledge), Math Fundamentals for Audio (2020, A-R Editions), a voting member of the Recording Academy (‘The Grammys’®) and was an Associate Professor of Recording Arts at the University of Colorado Denver (2005-2018).
Her experience as an audio engineer has given Leslie a desire to apply her skills as an educator and technician to provide access to the tools for immersive sound content creation to women and underrepresented groups.
“As we begin to see the growing popularity of immersive audio, and usually as the only woman or person of colour in the room, I would like to ensure that we have a seat at the table for this economically strong and burgeoning technology. It will create jobs in sound for film and television, video games, augmented and virtual reality, and podcasts.”
Vijayalakshmi Subramani – Kerckhoffs Ltd
Vijayalakshmi Subramani (VJ), Co-Founder and Director of the technologies company Kerckhoffs Ltd, is creating a little digital magic for children with her new innovation – TeenyWeenyVR.
The solution has a virtual magician, fun mascots and a friendly puppet that will enchant, entertain and inform young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) on the VR-based edutainment platform.
Learning will be made fun through exciting adventures using virtual reality tours of travel attractions around the world. The fully immersive VR experience will also help to reduce children’s phobias and anxiety with its calming content and can help children prepare for travel.
“I would further work on technological products that are needed in our day-to-day lives. I believe science and technology provide a level playing field for all.”
Ying Lia Li – Zero Point Motion
Company Founder and CEO Ying Lia Li knew there was a huge void in the current market where the sensors in your car or smartphone generate too much positioning error to be useful when global navigation satellite signals like GPS are weakened, preventing autonomous and indoor positioning. Although high-performance inertial sensors exist in aeroplanes or spacecraft, they cost over £10k and are too chunky for drones or consumer devices.
Her solution was for Zero Point Motion to redefine the limits of inertial sensors with photonics, based on research that led to the detection of gravitational waves.
“Our inertial sensors will be 100 times more sensitive than ones inside your phone. Imagine ultra-responsive AR/VR headsets and increased precision in robotics.”
About Women in Innovation
Innovate UK’s Women In Innovation programme consists of funding competitions and events that enable brilliant women to fully achieve their visions and change the world, while championing and celebrating gender diversity throughout UK innovation.