The IET Innovation Awards 2016 (image)

16 November 2016 | The Brewery, London, UK


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Other IET awards

Horizontal Innovation


Horizontal Innovation Award Winner 2016


Horizontal 2016 winner (photo)  


Supermarket fridges become more energy efficient thanks to F1 aerodynamics

Williams has collaborated with Aerofoil Energy Ltd to create a new Formula One inspired retrofittable aerofoil device that clips on to the front of supermarket refrigerators to significantly reduce energy consumption by better channelling the flow of cold air and stop it spilling out in to the aisle.

Williams Advanced Engineering and Aerofoil Energy Ltd

HI shortlist (image)  

The judging panel commented:

“The innovation has a significant potential to reduce impact and increase cost savings to supermarkets, which demonstrated a focussed approach to delivery at scale with real life examples shown. The panel felt this was an excellent example of Horizontal Innovation to promote this important area of engineering.”


Also shortlisted:


Using space aged engineering to create a better medical device revolutionising surgical procedures

Triteq & Fourth State Medicine (4SM) are developing a hand-held medical device for application in both non-invasive cosmetic surgery and chronic wound care. Fourth State Medicine was founded by plasma physicists and engineers innovating space technology and are horizontally translating those space engineering principles into the medical device industry.

Fourth State Medicine and Triteq

HI shortlist (image)  

Biodegradable cellulose aerogels from sol gel technique using paper wastes

Our invented cellulose aerogels from paper waste serve as an attractive alternative to current methods of oil spill cleaning, which has a potential market size of US$143.5 billion. The novel material with several great applications is commercialised, biodegradable, non-toxic, much cheaper and four times more absorbent than materials currently used.

National University of Singapore

HI shortlist (image)  

User-friendly control and navigation systems for powered-wheelchairs

Research at the University of Portsmouth and Chailey heritage has created new user-friendly control and navigation systems for powered-wheelchairs that have made a significant and positive impact on the lives of users. These have given many disabled children and adults an opportunity for independent mobility, some for the first time.

University of Portsmouth and Chailey Heritage

HI shortlist (image)   

Innovation transfer from contactless vehicle charging to subsea pinless connectors

Torden, the innovation, is a pin less subsea connector allowing high power and high speed data to be connected and transferred without physical contacts. Overcoming the short falls of reliability and alignment tolerance required by legacy pinned subsea wet-mate connectors.


HI shortlist (image)  


Horizontal Innovation information


Category scope

Horizontal Innovation is the effective transfer of knowledge and technology from one sector to another based upon pre-existing technologies and processes, and delivering huge potential benefits in terms of scale, time to market and relative costs.


For instance, horizontal innovation can:

  • Ease the burden imposed on public resources through research and development (R&D) by adapting technologies, systems and know-how developed in one sector to uses and applications in others
  • Maximise the return on investment from scientific research
  • Minimise the duplication of research between academic and industrial sectors
  • Provide cross-disciplinary opportunities for researchers to collaborate with other organisations
  • Provide economic potential and motivation for both technology donors and technology receivers where the social impact is high and the potential market is large


Entries to the IET Horizontal Innovation Award category are welcomed from all sectors and can range from research concepts and ideas to technical issues and industrial applications.


Current examples of Horizontal Innovation include:

  • A retrofit aerofoil system keeping cool air inside a commercial refrigerator cabinet, to reduce the energy consumed by refrigerators in supermarkets and convenience stores
  • The electronic measurement, logging and data display systems used for mammal tracking and elite sports performance measurement to assist in the safe transportation of premature babies
  • The design and manufacture of composite flywheel-based energy storage systems to reduce fuel consumption and emissions of inner city buses and other mass transit and heavy vehicles
  • The effective transferred expertise and technology in carbon fibre lightweight structures to an automated large format digital printing production line in the Industrial Inkjet sector designing and supplying a carbon fibre ‘mono structure’ for an industrial automation application
  • Utilised high power energy recovery and energy storage systems for rail and power grid applications, originally developed for Formula 1. The technology delivers reduced investment and operating costs, CO2 savings and increased security and performance
  • Engineers developing a drill for probing Mars, the Moon and asteroids have created the world’s first portable charger to power up electric cars anywhere, anytime. Drawing on the same voltage as a vacuum cleaner, the charger can be plugged into any household socket without blowing a fuse