Artificial Intelligence to help prevent 14,000 UK deaths each year

A young inventor has been awarded a £15,000 prize for developing a paper-based AI-driven sensor to help identify sepsis in hospital patients by accurately monitoring their respiratory rate.

Someone in the world dies from sepsis every 3.5 seconds and an early diagnosis of the condition could save an estimated 14,000 lives a year in the UK alone, according to the Global Sepsis Alliance.

Superbugs Hospital corridor Healthcare InnovationSepsis occurs when the body’s response to an infection injures its own tissues and organs.

The life-threatening condition is reportedly the leading cause of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) admissions from lower dependency hospital wards.

A new low-cost breathing monitoring system using AI to detect the early signs of patient deterioration from sepsis triggered by infection could be a game changer.

Developed by George Winfield, founder and CEO of SPYRAS, the prototype paper sensors continuously monitor a patient’s respiratory rate and depth of breathing, which enables AI to accurately predict when their conditions is beginning to worsen, triggering an alert for hospital staff.

Winfield, 25, recently won the JC Gammon award and was named ‘the UK’s most promising young entrepreneur in technology and engineering’ at the Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Hub annual Launchpad Competition.

It’s expected that the £15,000 Enterprise Hub grant will be used to further develop and refine the technology, with Winfield also benefiting from a year of bespoke training and mentoring from industry leaders to help him scale up his business.


Cam Gammon presenting the JC Gammon Award to George Winfield – image courtesy of RAEng.


His invention was selected from four finalists by a panel of UK engineering experts and business leaders, including Elspeth Finch MBE, CEO and founder of digital platform IAND, and Josh Valman, creator of manufacturing business RPD International.

Runners up included Brarista, an AI-enabled bra-fitting software replicating the process of professional fitting online; Protolaunch, a cost and energy-efficient alternative for launching small satellites into orbit; and WASE, a wastewater treatment system for developing communities.

“I cannot wait to get going”

SPYRAS paper based sensor to help identify sepsis
George Winfield’s paper-based AI-driven sensor – image courtesy of RAEng.

Commenting on his success, Winfield 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 entirely another getting industry backing.

“The 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.”

For more information on the Launchpad programme, visit: https://www.raeng.org.uk/grants-and-prizes/support-for-entrepreneurs/launchpad-competition

By Rory Butler, Staff Journalist