21/03/2019

CRL's demo day, hardware start-ups for the love of making things

The evening of Thursday 14th of March was Central Research Laboratories demo day, once again held at U+I (one of the backer of CRL).

It was kicked off by an introduction from Matt Hunter of CRL and then Marcus Sheppard from U+I - really just the normal things about the accelerator and that applications would close shortly for the next cohort.

Then followed a panel discussion chaired by Matt with the Rob Nicoll founder of Chip[s]board (who was on the previous CRL cohort) and Arnold du Told CRL Investor in Residence.

Alice Johnson the CRL Programmes Manager then gave an introduction and to the start-ups themselves.

The first start-up up was Cosi Care and Lauren Bell who have a solution to treat eczema. It's a hardware device that has a cool surface and reduces the effects of the eczema while being easy to use.

Agile Planet presented their Bio Burner Bio which is a compost material made by processing waste wood in a special kiln. It actively removes C02 from the atmosphere, and has a range of benefits including improving plant growth. Agile Planet have created a new home burner that will enable anyone to create biochar in their own garden. Design to be released in 2019.

Nxsteps's Alecia Esson presented their Bluetooth enabled shoe inserts that can measure the pressure on various parts of the feet and with an accompanying app, analyse stresses while running and other sports.

Alex Strang presented Moment Pebble which is a stone that lights up and encourages the user to be mindful in the workplace as Mindfulness is now big business as well as helping people's mental states in the busy world.

Saving women everywhere is Y-Heels and Yaagni Patel allowing users to clip/slot off their heels so removing the discomfort without having to cary a second pair of shoes. Simple, yet sophisticated.

How do mountain biker's and other sports users protect themselves? With Hero Skin of course which is the next generation of body armour which is worn on the chest. It's flexible and comfortable and allows movement giving the user protection while they have the freedom to carry out their sport. As a mountain biker Dorota Grabkowska the Founder and CEO knows about the dangers of not using Hero Skin benefits that come with using it.

Last but certainly not least was Odin Ardagh from Brahman Design. They would have been a tough act to follow anyway. Previously they made the Høvel which is a brass pencil sharpener that uses standard pencil sharpener blades that can be replaced and rather than placing the pencil in the sharpener, it's used like a plane on pencil itself. This was made to be used by designers for designers and gifted for that bit of desk jewellery that every designer should have to show they appreciate design. The newest object is called the IRIS and it's just that, a circular brash ring with an inner iris that can be adjusted to make a small or large circle. Again it's functional, but actually just really pretty and it feels good to use.

So for once an accelerator that has start-ups that are not just IoT/blockchain/AI/etc companies - people doing hardware but things that are interesting and making beautiful things because they can