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Project nautilUS member - TWI interview


As part of our ongoing feature on Project nautliUS we followed up with TWI to ask about their involvement on the project. 


1) What is it the TWI has contributed to project nautilUS?

TWI was tasked with developing an algorithm to improve the signal to noise ratio of return signals sent through different liquids.

To do this TWI first designed and developed a prototype circuit board to produce controlled ultrasonic pulses for subsequent testing and, when this was shown to work, manufactured a final experimental board.

Signal assessment, both in the near and far-field, in attenuating fluids including Diesel, Petrol, Oils, Castrol 10/40, Castrol 15/40, Helix Ultra 0/30, TQX Premium 10/40 were performed to assess the effects of the liquids on the signal.

TWI developed the ultrasonic pulses along with the decoding algorithms to extract an ultrasonic A-scan from the return signal transmitted through the highly attenuating mediums above.

TWI have a 7m deep dive pool at their Middlesbrough facility and provided the access to the consortium to test the robot components and the final robot at depth. Additionally, at their Cambridge site, TWI has a steel container tank that was made available for the consortium to test the final Nautilus robot.


2) How has this been used within the project/final solution?

The signal processing algorithm developed was used to help clean the signals received from the Nautilus robot.

The experiments in the TWI dive tank proved the components were watertight.

The complete Nautilus system was tested and then demonstrated in the TWI steel container tank at Cambridge.

3) What areas do you see for advanced exploitation /R&D

There are opportunities to develop the signal processing algorithm further to improve the signal to noise ratio.

4) What is the route to access to this input in the event of commercialisation?

TWI could license the signal processing algorithm to the project partners.


5) What is the cost of access to this input?

This would need to be negotiated with the partners.

6) What arrangements would they see operating under / licence /one sale /subscription?

Yes, the IP could be used under license.

7) What cost/royalty for use of the existing contribution do you see if the existing system is utilised commercially?

This would need to be negotiated with each of the partners.

8) What restrictions would be in place for commercialisation of the input – e.g source code restricted – design protection?

This needs to be negotiated with the partners.

9) Would they see any ongoing input to any commercial entity that was created /required to commercialise e.g. part of a board/financial input?

This needs to be negotiated with the partners.

10) What do see going forward from the consortium/project output.

Inclusion in further communication and development opportunities to further develop outputs, with a view to potential direct or indirect commercial uses.

11) Was/are there any preconditions for access to project material e.g. TWI has the right to use the material for further research?

The only preconditions relate to any licensing agreements and negotiations be subject to fair and reasonable terms.

12) Lastly, what are the thoughts on the establishment of a commercial vehicle for a route to market?

With TWI and LSBU being “not for profit and academic” it would make sense to have an arrangement between RS/Sonamatics /Innotek to form a commercial entirety to use to exploit the outputs.

TWI is a not for profit organisation working for its members. If it makes a profit there is no payout to shareholders rather the money is invested into further R and D for the benefit of its members. TWI could invest in a spin-out company from which they could commercialise the Nautilus algorithm but it is preferable to come to a licensing agreement for the software.

TWI performs on-site inspections, it is possible that we could increase our range of services by incorporating the Nautilus equipment.

To obtain more information on services offered please visit the TWI home page.

Favourite things are Family, Music and Judo. Also, I have the ability to retain and quote useless facts, something that pleases me but can annoy others. My engineering hero - Isambard Kingdom Brunel
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