NEWS

11 November 2020

The pleasures of the patent application process

The pleasures of the patent application process

Joining a start-up innovation project, I was well aware I would need to roll up my sleeves and have the initiative to work on whatever challenges would appear. This goes well with my personality and, if anything, made the role even more attractive.

However, little did I know that I would come across the opportunity to propose relevant innovation and to actually protect such innovation via a patent application.

Preparing a patent application is an exhilarating experience, especially if you have never gone through this process before.

Joining a start-up innovation project, I was well aware I would need to roll up my sleeves and have the initiative to work on whatever challenges would appear. This goes well with my personality and, if anything, made the role even more attractive. However, little did I know that I would come across the opportunity to propose relevant innovation and to actually protect such innovation via a patent application. Preparing a patent application is an exhilarating experience, especially if you have never gone through this process before. It is one thing to have a great insight for innovation; it is another thing to think through every minute detail and articulate your ideas in a way clear enough for an intellectual property lawyer to translate them into the legal jargon typical of a patent application. As you prepare the detailed background and context needed to explain the innovation, there is a need to dig deep into specific aspects that had only been considered at a high level before. At points you will yearn to discuss the more intricate details with someone else, but you cannot really do it too openly as talking too much can give the innovation away. It does feel lonely at times and it will occasionally get the question ‘Can I really get this done?’ into your head. It is also quite incredible how focused you become on your research and how much you are able to learn in a very short space of time. Then, when you are satisfied with your articulation of the innovation, you need to think objectively about the innovation claims you will make. If you followed a structured path to explain the innovation, the specific claims are a natural byproduct. However, there is the challenge of how broad or how narrow you make the claims. If they are too narrow, there will only be a very limited set of scenarios where the innovation is protected. If they are too broad, they might lose meaning and might be challenged by numerous other parties. Finally, it is time to liaise with the IP lawyers. It is quite impressive how clever and fast to learn these professionals are. You need to take them through your description of the innovation and make sure they understand even the most subtle of the aspects. Things you take for granted are not always obvious, and these professionals will make sure they fully understand what they need to process. Then, at the very end, you get all your ideas, descriptions and claims played back to you in the form of the draft patent application. A few rounds of review and it is all ready for submission. It is an experience I recommend to any fellow technologist and, to be honest, I am already itching to work on the next patent application for the DARWIN project. Rodrigo Barreto, Darwin Lead Architect Darwin Innovation Group is an Oxfordshire-based R&D company focusing on autonomous vehicles and communications, both terrestrial and satellite. If you’d like to keep up with our articles, you can follow us on LinkedIn or Twitter. If you’re interested in working with us, take a look at our careers page.
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1 October 2020

Darwin SatCom Lab launched

Darwin SatCom Lab launched

Businesses are now able to use the Darwin SatCom Lab to explore and trial next-gen connectivity solutions for connected and autonomous vehicles.

Businesses are now able to use the ‘Darwin SatCom Lab’ to explore and trial next-gen connectivity solutions for connected and autonomous vehicles Using both 5G and satellite communications, the Lab is the latest innovation to be announced as part of Project DARWIN, supported by the European Space Agency and O2 O2-customised autonomous vehicles are available to test proofs of concept Today, O2 announces the launch of the first commercial laboratory for 5G and satellite communications in the UK as part of Project Darwin, a four-year trial programme supported by O2 and the European Space Agency and based in the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire. The laboratory, named the Darwin SatCom Lab, is now open to companies looking to explore next generation connectivity solutions for connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) using both 5G and satellite communications. Companies are now able to test proofs of concept using two Renault TWIZY electric cars (pictured below), which O2 has converted into CAVs and fitted with LIDAR sensors to allow them to be controlled from the Lab and driven around the Harwell Campus. The two customised Renault TWIZY vehicles (left) and a digital twin version of one of the CAVs (right) Satellite communications will be able to play a crucial role in the extension of 5G networks to allow seamless connectivity to remote and harder-to-reach areas for trains and road vehicles, providing reliable access to the whole of the UK. Using 5G equipment provided by Nokia and geosynchronous communications satellites (GEOs) provided by Hispasat, the Spanish satellite operator, O2’s 5G Innovation team can remotely track the status of the CAVs, including their position, movement and speed. A digital twin version will also be broadcast to screens in O2’s laboratory at the University of Glasgow, unveiled in March,1 and at the company’s headquarters at Bath Road, Slough. Using 5G and satellite communications to revolutionise deliveries One of the proofs of concept already being tested at the Darwin SatCom Lab tracks the CO2 emissions of the vehicles using the LIDAR sensors. By using satellite imagery to see the areas the vehicles are travelling through and monitor local biodiversity, the laboratory team is able to calculate the emissions savings of taking different routes based on carbon capture from nearby trees. This research will inform how O2’s retail partners carry out last mile deliveries, bringing goods such as groceries directly to their customers. First announced in June 2019, Project Darwin brings together Oxford and Glasgow Universities, Hispasat, start-ups specialising in self-driving mobility solutions and Darwin Innovation Group Oxford, in order to test new technologies and end-to-end connectivity solutions with 5G and satellite communications. The Darwin SatCom Lab is open to companies who want to test the power of 5G and satellite communications connectivity by bringing their ideas to life. Businesses that would like to develop a proof of concept can book the Lab through this form. Derek McManus, COO at O2, said: “We’re delighted to announce that the Darwin SatCom Lab is now open for business at Harwell Campus, allowing companies to put theory into practice and test innovative ideas using our connected and autonomous vehicles. “The Lab is further proof that O2 is at the forefront of connectivity and accelerating Britain’s recovery by helping British businesses to harness the power of 5G and satellite communications in order to benefit their customers. It’s the next step in getting autonomous vehicles on the road and making the UK’s transport network greener.” Amanda Solloway MP, Minister for Science, Research and Innovation, said: “The UK’s space sector is applying pioneering technologies such as satellite and 5G to essential products and services that will help to transform our everyday lives. “I am incredibly excited that O2’s first of its kind driverless car lab will enable our most innovative businesses to test these technologies and bring us another step closer to putting self-driving vehicles safely on our roads.” Antonio Franchi, 5G Strategic Programme Manager at the European Space Agency, said: “We are excited to continue working on 5G projects with our partners, especially the Darwin SatCom Lab located on the Harwell Campus, which is also home to the ESA’s European Centre for Space Applications and Telecommunications. “The Lab, showcasing the integration of 5G and satellite communications for CAVs, is a great example of how next-gen 5G networks will enable new applications and services thanks to their ubiquity, security and resilience.” Inés Sanz, Head of Customer Engineering at Hispasat, said: “The Darwin SatCom Lab represents a valuable opportunity for companies to develop 5G applications for connected vehicles that will work on the most appropriate platform in terms of technical requirements and cost efficiency. Connected and autonomous vehicles represent a key segment in the 5G ecosystem – and satellites are the perfect solution to enable connectivity, even in remote areas.” Dr. Joanna Hart, Harwell Space Cluster Development Manager at Harwell Campus, said: “Having the Darwin SatCom Lab within the Harwell Space Cluster, which brings together expertise and capabilities from academia, industry and the public sector, offers forward-looking companies the opportunity to harness the power of 5G and satellite communications and make their ideas a commercial reality. We look forward to opening up the Lab to a national and international audience who want to put theory into practice using CAVs.” Rodrigo Barreto, Head of Enterprise Architecture at the Darwin Innovation Group, said: “We are very excited that the Darwin SatCom Lab, in partnership with Telefónica and Hispasat, offers companies a place where they can test innovative solutions and develop proof points to support new initiatives. The strength of the Lab lies in combining 5G and satellite communications, opening up the possibility of creating mobility services that can fall back on satellite communications in scenarios where 5G is not always available.” Darwin Innovation Group is an Oxfordshire-based R&D company focusing on autonomous vehicles and communications, both terrestrial and satellite. If you’d like to keep up with our articles, you can follow us on LinkedIn or Twitter. If you’re interested in working with us, take a look at our careers page.
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28 September 2020

Connected Britain 2020 Award – Darwin shortlisted

Connected Britain 2020 Award – Darwin shortlisted

We are thrilled to have been shortlisted for the Connected Britain 2020 Awards, in the 5G Initiative category.

We are thrilled to have been shortlisted for the Connected Britain 2020 Awards, in the 5G Initiative category. Darwin joins some big, household names in this category, placing us in very good company. We congratulate the overall winner of our category, Cisco, and we look forward to 2021! Darwin Innovation Group is an Oxfordshire-based R&D company focusing on autonomous vehicles and communications, both terrestrial and satellite. If you’d like to keep up with our articles, you can follow us on LinkedIn or Twitter. If you’re interested in working with us, take a look at our careers page.
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15 September 2020

Darwin Summer Photo Competition 2020

Darwin Summer Photo Competition 2020

Over the summer, we had a photo competition for the Darwin staff! Take a look at these beautiful landscape photographs.

Over the summer, we had a photo competition for the Darwin staff! We had some incredible entries. The photographs were anonymised and shared with the team, who voted for their favourites. The winner was this stunning shot of a beach through trees, taken by Zoran: It was up against strong competition, though! You can see all the other excellent entries below. Thank you to everyone who participated! It was great to see your entries. Keep up the photography! Darwin Innovation Group is an Oxfordshire-based R&D company focusing on autonomous vehicles and communications, both terrestrial and satellite. If you’d like to keep up with our articles, you can follow us on LinkedIn or Twitter. If you’re interested in working with us, take a look at our careers page.
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16 July 2020

Announcing our Connected Mobile Health Clinic

Announcing our Connected Mobile Health Clinic

Today we announce the launch of a pilot trial of a fully connected COVID-19 testing clinic-on-wheels, supported by O2’s 5G mobile network, which is designed to provide remote testing and tracking of care home residents and workers in Glasgow, as well as the delivery of essential medical supplies.

Partnering with NHS to create a 5G-powered COVID-19 testing unit for Scottish care homes Today we announce the launch of a pilot trial of a fully connected COVID-19 testing clinic-on-wheels, supported by O2’s 5G mobile network, which is designed to provide remote testing and tracking of care home residents and workers in Glasgow, as well as the delivery of essential medical supplies. The University of Glasgow’s Adam Smith Business School and James Watt School of Engineering, and O2’s Darwin Innovation Group have been working in collaboration to create a proof-of-concept COVID-19 Connected Mobile Health Clinic (CMHC) that can be used in the trial. Starting this summer, the trial will track COVID-19 at six care homes in Glasgow, capturing the data of 550 residents and care home workers over three months. The trial has been created to assess the area that one mobile testing unit can cover, in order to roll it out across the West of Scotland Region, where there are around 2.7 million patients that the mobile clinic could assist. The CMHC will share the number of COVID-19 tests performed and the results to a secure cloud server via O2’s mobile network, which covers almost 99% of Scottish premises, 95% of which through 4G. The testing unit will then provide a dashboard of real-time epidemiological analysis to the NHS, the Scottish Government and public health organisations. The project management team will also be able to track the vehicle’s position and behaviour and monitor the number of tests it’s carrying in its inventory to keep it running effectively. The CMHC is designed to minimise exposure of care home residents and staff to COVID-19, thereby ensuring greater efficiency for healthcare workers and enhancing the testing capability of the NHS. The project was created in response to an open request for help from the Scottish Government in March to fight COVID-19. With healthcare professionals currently overstretched, the CMHC aims to provide an innovative solution that factors in the distinctiveness of care homes in managing this outbreak. The project will be used by the NHS to develop policy implementations and social business models to support its COVID-19 epidemic strategy. The scaled model will also be useful in future for remote diagnostics, health management and tele-consultation for the NHS, since vehicles will be equipped for both terrestrial and satellite communication, allowing for testing in the remotest areas of Scotland. The project is co-funded by O2’s Darwin Innovation Group and the University of Glasgow’s EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account. It is part of Project Darwin, a four-year trial programme and partnership between O2 and the European Space Agency designed to develop and validate the next generation of connectivity solutions for connected and autonomous vehicles. In March, O2 officially opened a new Darwin laboratory at the University of Glasgow alongside the European Space Agency. The laboratory is designed to develop proof of concepts for the next generation technology convergence needed for connected autonomous vehicles. Derek McManus, Chief Operating Officer at O2 said: “We’re delighted to be supporting this project with our 4G and 5G network to help the Scottish Government and NHS tackle and manage COVID-19. The Darwin laboratory in Glasgow was only officially opened at the start of this year and it’s exciting to be able to show so quickly how we can use innovations in 5G technology to unlock crucial solutions for society and revolutionise the way we use mobile connectivity. “O2 is at the forefront of connectivity which is now one of the UK’s most valued services. As we look to rebuild Britain, we are constantly looking at how our customer-centric networks can help support this country.” Professor Nuran Acur, University of Glasgow Adam Smith Business School said: ‘’Resilience will become the new buzzword for care homes during COVID-19 epidemic. Our project will enhance care homes resilience for COVID-19-related cases by designing the interface of proven digital technology, Connected Mobile Health Clinics and a new, social business model for linking key players such as the NHS, care homes and technology providers in the health ecosystem.” Professor Muhammad Imran, University of Glasgow James Watt School of Engineering said: “The utility and scope of a mobile health clinic goes beyond this current pandemic. Engineering a fleet of connected healthcare response mobile units can provide services at the doorsteps of fragile and constrained patients all over the country even after the pandemic is over.” Janice Allan, Clinical Director at Pacific Care said: “We are currently carrying out staff tests weekly and the process can be arduous, since we are dependent on scheduling of deliveries and collections, packaging and labelling – this is all valuable time away from resident care. For Pacific Care a mobile testing centre could streamline this process, and when antibody screening is available it will be a helpful diagnostic tool to enable us to test our staff and prepare in case there is a second wave in the winter.” Darwin Innovation Group is an Oxfordshire-based R&D company focusing on autonomous vehicles and communications, both terrestrial and satellite. If you’d like to keep up with our articles, you can follow us on LinkedIn or Twitter. If you’re interested in working with us, take a look at our careers page.
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