Imperial graduate named UK’s most promising young engineering entrepreneur

Paper based sensor to help identify sepsis

Paper based sensor to help identify sepsis

George Winfield founded Spyras and is developing a paper-based sensor to identify sepsis in patients by accurately monitoring their breathing rate.

George Winfield, Founder and CEO of SPYRAS has been announced as the UK’s most promising young entrepreneur in technology and engineering by the Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Hub.

SPYRAS is developing a low-cost, paper-based sensor to help identify sepsis in hospital patients by accurately monitoring their breathing rate.

Early signs

Patient deterioration due to infections that develop into sepsis is the primary cause of Intensive Care Unit admissions from lower dependency hospital wards. A raised respiratory rate is well known to be one of the earliest signs of sepsis.

The prototype paper sensors being developed by SPYRAS will provide continuous monitoring of respiratory rate, inhalation and exhalation periods and depth of breathing. Machine learning will help to predict when a patient is beginning to deteriorate and alert clinicians early.

Every 3.5 seconds someone in the world dies from sepsis and in the UK alone, 52,000 people lose their lives to sepsis every year. Earlier identification of the condition could save up to 14,000 lives a year in the UK.

George won the JC Gammon award, receiving a 15,000 prize and a year of bespoke training and mentoring from the Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Hub to help him kickstart his entrepreneurial career. The award is supported by the Gammon family in memory of John Gammon, a civil engineer who benefitted from a scholarship and bursary to fund his initial education.

Industry backing

Speaking about his win, George said: “I’m so pleased to be this year’s Launchpad Competition winner; it is one thing having an initial idea about how to solve a specific challenge, and it is another entirely getting industry backing.

“The Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Hub will prove invaluable in helping me turn my innovation into a commercially successful, scalable business. It is a great financial boost but the training, mentorship and access to world-class engineers and business experts will also be invaluable. I cannot wait to get going.”

George, who has an MRes in Medical Device Design & Entrepreneurship from Imperial, also won the 2018 White City Innovators’ Programme.

Forefront of UK engineering

He was chosen by a panel of experts and business leaders at the forefront of UK engineering, including Elspeth Finch MBE, CEO and Founder of digital platform IAND, and Josh Valman, founder of manufacturing business RPD International.

Congratulating George, Elspeth Finch MBE said: “Congratulations to George, I wish him the very best of luck as he expands his business. It’s with the support of the Gammon family that we can provide entrepreneurs like George with the platform to help them accelerate their growth in this critical next stage of their business journey.”

The awards event marked the Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Hub’s sixth annual Launchpad competition, an initiative set up to encourage more young people to start their own businesses. Photos and graphics subject to third party copyright used with permission or Imperial College London.

Joanna Wilson
Communications and Public Affairs

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