UK innovation is leading advanced manufacturing & immersive technology

Simon Edmonds reports on a revolutionary mobility device and the opportunities immersive technology offers as a dominant driver for future global growth.

Immersive tech impact on manufacturing and engineering

The Immersive Economy Report in the UK 2019 highlights sectors that are driving the development of immersive technologies.

Immersive Technology - The Immersive Economy in the UK Report 2019 - Front CoverResearch in the report reveals that immersive technology in enterprise – particularly engineering, manufacturing and security – will be a dominant driver for future global growth in the immersive technology market.

The publication, produced by Immerse UK and Digital Catapult, examines current developments in a number of high-value UK sectors, including manufacturing, engineering and defence. Click here to download the report.

From global operations such as Rolls- Royce and BAE Systems to government departments and SMEs, UK companies are using immersive technologies to drive efficiencies, reporting a strong return on investment.

In addition, the expansion of enterprise XR is being aided by significant investment from key players in the digital space, such as Facebook and Microsoft.

Another key driver cited is the support and access offered by UK bodies such as Immerse UK and the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, as well as the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre and the Manufacturing Technology Centre.

Teams of experts are supporting a diverse range of sectors in the ecosystem to unlock new productivity strands, reduce costs and upgrade processes for greater efficiencies.

Reports show there has been a major uptake of immersive technologies in enterprise in the past three to five years, as improved hardware enters the market.

This article first appeared in the March/April issue of The Manufacturer magazine. Click here to subscribe

Afghanistan veteran hails ‘game-changing’ mobility device

The impact that manufacturing can make on people’s lives is highlighted in an inspiring project at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), part of the High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult.

A disabled former Royal Marine Commando has hailed a sleek, space-age mobility device, designed and prototyped at the AMR, as a ‘game changer for users the world over’.


‘Victor’, a space-age mobility device, is the brainchild of Paralympian Capt Phil Eaglesham. Designed and prototyped at the AMR, this ‘game changer’ is now certified as a wheelchair that could go to market.

‘Victor’, a space-age mobility device, is the brainchild of Paralympian Capt Phil Eaglesham. Designed and prototyped at the AMR, this ‘game changer’ is now certified as a wheelchair that could go to market.


A fully functioning prototype has been manufactured by AMRC engineers. It boasts an electrically actuated arm to raise users to a ‘social height’, multi-directional all-terrain wheels, can turn on the spot and sports an eye-catching ‘Star Wars‘-inspired design.

Called ‘Victor’, it is the brainchild of Capt Phil Eaglesham who contracted Q Fever during active service in Afghanistan in October 2010. The disease quickly progressed to mean the father-of-three, a competitor for Team Ireland at the Rio 2016 Paralympics, is now completely reliant on a wheelchair.

The mobility device is now certified as a wheelchair that could go to market, the project has now moved to production phase, and it could be ready to launch to the public late next year.

Click here to find out more about this fascinating project.

Funding opportunities

Innovate UK Smart Grants

There is an opportunity to apply for a share of up to £25m to deliver ambitious or disruptive R&D innovations that can make a significant impact on the UK economy.

The deadline for applications is Wednesday, 22 April. Click here for more information.

Smart sustainable plastic packaging

UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £1m for early-stage projects in smart and sustainable plastic packaging. This funding is from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

The deadline is Wednesday, 1 April 2020. Click here for more information.

Innovate UK

Simon Edmonds, director - manufacturing, materials & future of mobility, Innovate UK.

Simon Edmonds is  Innovate UK’s Deputy Executive Chair and Chief Business Officer.

All feedback gratefully received – I blog here, and can also be found on Twitter: @SJSEdmonds

For more information on any of Innovate UK’s funding opportunities, please contact
the customer support service:

0300 321 4357 | support@innovateuk.gov.uk | www.innovateuk.gov.uk