Hats Off to some very cool tech on Innovation Alley

Posted on: 22/05/2023

With their hard hats and state-of-the-art technology, FC Labs stormed Made Smarter Innovation Alley at Smart Factory Expo in November 2022.

Founder Mathew Norbury and Head of Engineering David Moore had conversations with over 100 people across the two days from the innovation lead at Unilever to engineers at Tata Steel and Portakabin.

FC Labs‘ technology, CoreTech™ consists of two small, non-invasive sensors which measure blood flow and oxygenation levels in the pre-frontal cortex, tracking real-time fluctuations in mental attention. Real-time insights support supervisors’ decisions on mitigation, action or intervention and encourage behavioural change, ‘nudging’ the wearer to take breaks for example, reducing the risk of accidents and improving their overall health and wellbeing.

We caught up with Mathew Norbury to ask him about his technology and what were his thoughts on being an Alley cat in 2022.

Norbury said: “We know this technology could disrupt lots of different industries where accidents occur regularly including construction, oil and gas and manufacturing. Stats from the National Safety Council highlight that 90% of accidents, injuries and fatalities can be attributed to human error. Fatigue is often seen as the biggest underlying cause, but stress and anxiety, drug and alcohol use, boredom, dehydration, and countless others are all key factors. We wanted to get to the heart of the problem. Our mission was to create a low-cost, lightweight wearable device that can be incorporated into headwear, collecting data in real-time which helps us understand how hard the brain is working and the impact on risk of error.

“We found out about the opportunity to exhibit on Innovation Alley via Innovate UK KTN and thought it was too good an opportunity to miss as we wanted to get a foothold into the manufacturing sector. We were early into our commercialisation journey, but we needed to generate further validation of the product. Meeting the Head of Innovation from Unilever at 09.05 on day one was a fantastic start to the show, and a sign of things to come. We generated 40 good quality leads over the two days, some we are working with on a research basis, and others who are in our sales pipeline.

“Exhibitions and Trade Shows are excellent places for early-stage businesses to build a network of connections. Most of them are expensive to exhibit at, so having 100% funding from Innovate UK for Innovation Alley was extremely helpful. Putting all the innovative companies with disruptive technologies in one cluster area is a very clever idea from the show organisers, as it draws in the attendees who are seeking this type of tech and introduces them to a myriad of software, data and hardware opportunities.

“The attendees at this show were definitely the people we wanted to talk to. It was great to see so many decision makers and influencers together under one roof. We are hopeful to return in 2023 and are looking forward to being part of Smart Factory Expo as part of Manufacturing and Engineering Week in Birmingham in June.

“For any company considering whether Innovation Alley is worth doing, I can 100% say, absolutely. Whether it is to understand the industry better, build a network of collaborative partners for your business, generate sales leads or raise your brand profile, Innovation Alley is a fantastic opportunity and one not to be missed!”

You can watch the interview with Mathew at the show on YouTube below.

Matthew Wasley, Innovate UK KTN’s lead for Made Smarter Innovation Alley said: “It was great to see the buzz that FC Labs stand generated at the show. The technology offers so many potential opportunities to solve problems resulting from human error and that was apparent from the plethora of individuals who came by their stand over the two days. Technologies such as this are set to transform the global manufacturing industry. Join us on Innovation Alley this year and meet many more companies like FC Labs.”

We’re really looking forward to meeting some fantastic companies on the Alley at this year’s Smart Factory Expo. Make sure you register for the event here.

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