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Mafic signs up for new SPRINT project to optimise power management of new Safeguard solution for industrial construction workplaces

NEWS: Leading UK construction technology company signs up to SPRINT for the third time

Mafic will continue to collaborate with University of Southampton with a focus on powering their new wearable technology

Mafic, a leading UK construction technology company, has signed up to the national SPRINT business support programme for the third time to optimise the energy management of its innovative Safeguard Internet of Things (IoT) solution. This will allow Mafic customers to be less reliant on a power source and deploy Safeguard into remote environments with minimal supporting infrastructure such as on-board commercial ships, in offshore environments, or in ‘not-spots’ or remote construction sites.

Safeguard is a wearable device that uses a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) sensor and captures location data from plant, materials and construction workers. It is aimed at enabling the real-time communication and analysis of data from remote locations to improve the productivity and industrial health of workforces.

Mafic will collaborate with SPRINT partner, the University of Southampton to design a suitable energy transfer and harvesting system for extending the battery life of the Safeguard solution. The project will exploit technology developed by the University of Southampton to increase the range at which the devices can be charged, reduce the power consumption of the Safeguard device, enhance wireless power transfer rate during charging and increase the alignment tolerance when being wirelessly charged.

The project will be funded by a grant from the £5 million SPRINT (SPace Research and Innovation Network for Technology) programme that provides unprecedented access to university space expertise and facilities. SPRINT helps businesses through the commercial exploitation of space data and technologies.

On the two previous SPRINT projects, Mafic collaborated with the University of Southampton on the development of the new machine learning Safeguard solution. As a result of the SPRINT projects, Mafic’s technology has now been incorporated into wearable devices worn by the workforce as well as positioned on vehicles and materials.

Will Woodhead, Managing Director at Mafic Limited said: “Whereas the first two SPRINT projects were developing the new technology, this new one considers the power management capabilities to round out the technology and enable us to deploy our IoT devices in remote, challenging environments.

“The ‘holy grail’ is to produce an autonomous device that measures and communicates from wherever it is, so the exploration of energy harvesting and wireless energy transfer takes us closer to that. This time, we’re working with the University’s Electronics and Computer Science team and the expansion of our network of talent is invaluable to us as a start-up.”

The SPRINT projects will further develop the innovative wearable Safeguard devices through implementation with workforces, on vehicles and in materials at key customer sites including Sir Robert McAlpine and Errigal Contracts.

Sir Ben Ainslie, Team Principle at Ineos Team UK commented: “The Mafic device is a game-changer for us, it allows us to look at our working practices and make changes to that to ensure everyone is as safe as possible.”

Dr Alex Weddell, Lecturer in the Smart Electronic Materials and Systems Research Group at the University of Southampton added: “The key objectives of this SPRINT project are reducing the power consumption of the Safeguard device, harvesting energy and optimising the charging of the hard hat. We have a long history of working in energy harvesting, including the design and development of power management subsystems for CubeSats.

“More recently, we have explored wireless power transfer technology – which also has applications in space. We are excited to explore how energy harvesting from light, movement, or temperature differences can be used to extend the battery life of Mafic’s Safeguard IoT device.

“It’s very useful to work with innovative start-ups such as Mafic to help us to build stronger links with companies and to further inform our research direction. By getting our hands dirty with real applications, this helps to test assumptions made in the lab and to identify fruitful areas for future investigation.”