Newry start-up company Machine Eye secures £75,000 in funding

Machine Eye founder Brendan Digney (foreground) with (form left) Trevor Anderson (business transformation and infrastructure director at Belfast Harbour), Mark Gibson (business development director at BT in Northern Ireland) and Kathleen Garrett from Techstart. Picture: Kelvin Boyes/PressEye

AN early-stage tech business from Newry has secured a £75,000 proof of concept grant as the winner of a new competition from Techstart Ventures and Belfast Harbour.

Machine Eye will receive £75,000 of grant funding from Techstart, with Belfast Harbour providing an environment to develop, refine and test their innovations and BT also offering a package of support, including expert support and access to the 5G private network being developed in partnership with Belfast Harbour.

The winning start-up provides an intelligent safety system for agricultural and industrial machinery, which harnesses the power of artificial intelligence and computer vision to create safer workplaces.

Like an airbag on a car, its “human protection platform” is designed to intervene in the crucial seconds before an accident occurs in an outdoor, industrial setting in order to save lives.

The competition, which provided an opportunity for innovative thinkers to submit ideas for new technology solutions, aligns with Belfast Harbour's key strategic 'Smart Port' ambition to stimulate innovation and keep its employees, customers and visitors safe using innovative digital solutions.

Brendan Digney, founder of Machine Eye, said: “We aim to act as a safety net, providing protection for all those in primary industries, regardless of whether they are a worker or bystander.

“By analysing human and machine behaviour, Machine Eye acts ahead of time, identifying and preventing accidents before they've a chance to develop.

“We are really excited to have won the competition as it provides us with funding to deploy our proof-of-concept system, pilot hardware and develop capabilities further for practical commercial use. The opportunity to work alongside Belfast Harbour and BT, in the operational harbour environment will also be invaluable.”

Entries to the competition covered a number of innovations relating to lone working and industrial IoT, including worker biometrics, movement tracking, usage stats, productivity, maintenance and health and safety training.

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