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UK's Space Launchpad initiative selects Interasight's food technology

FBR Staff Writer Published 03 July 2013

UK's Space Launchpad initiative, a competition which rewards innovative early stage companies, has selected Interasight, which uses space technology to detect contaminants in food.

The Space Launchpad competition is being run by the UK Technology Strategy Board and is aimed at individual companies or collaborations between small and medium enterprises (SMEs). About 11 companies have been shortlisted for their innovative R&D projects connected to the Harwell space cluster in Oxfordshire.

Interasight's space technology competes with traditional x-ray and metal detection systems to identify contaminants in food. The company's equipment uses a terahertz solution that can simultaneously detect the types of physical contamination that other scanners cannot identify. It can also detect other materials such as soft plastics and cartilage, which are currently not detected by most systems in the market.

The system is expected to replace costly sample testing processes and provide a cost-effective solution over the existing systems on the market for food quality monitoring.

Space Launchpad initiative is part of the 2010 Space Innovation and Growth Strategy, which seeks to grow the UK space sector from £7bn today to £40bn by 2030. This Launchpad competition provides SMEs with funding for R&D projects and also supports the growth of their businesses through connections with mentors and expert advisers, as well as increasing access to the investor community and ecosystem around Harwell.

The competition seeks to draw companies, investment and people into the Harwell space cluster, and encourage networking, cooperation and business support services to strengthen it.