The IET Innovation Awards 2014




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Start-up Award Winner 2014

PolyPhotonix and the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) (photo)

PolyPhotonix - Noctura 400® sleep mask

PolyPhotonix and the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI)

Founded in 2008, PolyPhotonix is a biophotonic research company developing light therapy treatments for macular eye disease. In just six years PolyPhotonix has grown from one employee with an idea, to manufacturing a phototherapy eye mask that will save the NHS in excess of £1 billion a year.


The judging panel commented:

"We were delighted to see more entrants than ever this year in the Startup category.

"All five finalists showed passion and innovation in addressing engineering challenges of real relevance to society, and the overall winner PolyPhotonix addresses a problem faced by many diabetics."


Also shortlisted:

Coflo DIY retrofit water efficient saving shower
Coflo Innovation Ltd

Every minute of every day, in millions of homes around the world quality fresh drinking water is lost to the drain due to inefficient showers. Water is wasted as we wait for our shower to warm up and when we adjust the taps whilst being splashed by cold water.


High-growth UK technology pioneer with world-class cyber security experts

Darktrace has achieved outstanding growth based on an innovative mathematical solution to cyber security. The expertise of its founders, from the machine learning and mathematics field and the government intelligence community, is unprecedented, allowing Darktrace to challenge outdated security models and address the new reality of pervasive, ever-changing cyber threat.


M-KOOL – Never be sweating again!

M-KOOL is a cooling technology based on phase change materials that does not require electrical energy, and is 200% more thermal conductive and 30% more effective in heat dissipation than conventional materials. It can be incorporated in cooling pads which can be used in clothing, green buildings and other applications.


Low-cost distributed sensing on power networks using existing fibre-optic infrastructure
Synaptec Ltd and University of Strathclyde

Synaptec has developed ground-breaking technology that converts standard telecommunications optical fibre that is incorporated in all new power transmission lines into a high-performance distributed sensing solution that provides measurements of multiple voltages, currents and environmental parameters. The technology has unique potential to drastically reduce costs by eliminating conventional infrastructure expenditure.


Start-up information

All the information about the Start-up category can be found here.


Category scope

Entries to the IET Start-up Innovation Award are welcomed from engineering start-ups which can demonstrate that they have solved a worthwhile problem and achieved early commercial traction.

We want to hear about the problem that you have addressed the technical novelty and innovation of your solution, and how this will significantly change the world for the better.

Please describe how your market is evolving, who your competitors are, significant technical challenges that you have overcome, and how your innovative start-up stands out from the crowd.

The judges particularly want to see evidence that you have got beyond the “idea” stage and have evidence demonstrating that the rest of the world sees value in what you are doing.

For clarification: What’s a start-up?

For this competition the key criteria are that the company:

  • Thinks of itself as a start-up
  • Is pursuing a business model which should be highly scalable, i.e. to grow fast
  • Is disruptive of the status-quo
  • Is still developing very rapidly - and probably its market is too
  • Is less than five years from inception
  • May or may not be profitable

Patent protection

"In order to obtain a patent in the UK, and most other countries, it is, with some limited exceptions, essential that the invention has not been disclosed to the public, or otherwise 'made available to the public', before a patent application has been filed.

"Under the terms and conditions of the IET Innovation Awards, Entrants to the Awards will be consenting to their ideas being made available to the public. Therefore, any entrants to the Awards that are considering patent protection for their ideas, but have not yet done so, are advised to take appropriate action, such as seeking professional advice, before submitting applications to the Awards."

Matthew Allen
BEng (Mech. Eng.), MSc in IP Management,
European Patent, Design, and Trademark Attorney &
Associate Member of Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA)
ALLEN IP Limited