Engineer behind novel sepsis sensor takes RAEng prize

George Winfield has been awarded the Royal Academy of Engineering’s JC Gammon award for his paper-based sensor that detects sepsis via respiration.

George Winfield founder and CEO of SPYRAS

The 25-year-old’s company SPYRAS is developing prototype sensors that continuously monitor respiratory rate, inhalation and exhalation periods, and depth of breathing. Respiratory rate is closely linked to the early signs of sepsis, and machine learning will be applied to the sensor data to detect the onset of the condition. Globally, sepsis kills someone every 3.5 seconds. Early detection could save as many as 14,000 lives per year in the UK alone.

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The Gammon Award is presented to the winner of the Royal Academy’s Launchpad Competition, which is now in its sixth year. As well as prize money of £15,000, George will receive a year of personalised training and mentoring via the RAEng’s Enterprise Hub to help put his product on a path to commercialisation.

“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,” said George Winfield, founder and CEO of SPYRAS.

“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.”

Bella Trang Ngo co-founder and CEO of Brarista

The event also saw a Highly Commended Award presented to Bella Trang Ngo, whose company Brarista uses AI to replicate a professional bra fitting process online. She will now receive membership of the Enterprise Hub, which will give her access to expert mentoring and training support to further develop her business.

“This year’s line-up was one of the strongest and most varied that we’ve seen; it was a real pleasure to see such brilliant young minds share their innovative businesses and growth strategies,” said Elspeth Finch MBE, head judge for the Launchpad Competition.

“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.”