Innovate UK awards £75k grant to Bristol business pioneering fever screening technology



Spookfish Innovations, a Bristol-based business has been awarded a £75,000 Innovate UK grant to pivot its thermal imaging technology, developing a fever screening kiosk.

The product, Harlequin, detects the main symptom of COVID-19 – a high temperature or fever – in 50 milliseconds and is precise to within 0.25°C.

Unlike forehead scanners, this kiosk-based technology can be used while maintaining social distancing and is highly effective when testing larger numbers of people that have congregated together, for example in shopping centres or airports.

Harlequin has begun to see high sales in the Middle East and Asia – regions that have not only experienced the challenges of COVID but have suffered previous outbreaks of SARS and MERS, and understand the importance of effective, safe and speedy fever screening.

The kiosk is being rolled out to the travel and entertainment sectors, large employers, Local and National Government, airports etc.

Spookfish Innovations was founded by two engineers who met when working at Hawk-Eye Innovations – the familiar sports technology provider used extensively at Wimbledon and in the Premier League.

When the pandemic struck, the UK Government called on industry to help provide novel solutions or pivot their existing technologies to help address the COVID challenge.

Spookfish responded, working closely with Innovate UK EDGE to pivot its thermal imaging R&D – initially focused on monitoring product defects in production lines – to create its fever screening kiosk.

Funding was deemed critical and Innovate UK EDGE South West’s Access to Funding and Finance Manager, Dr Ben Masheder, identified Innovate UK’s COVID FastTrack funding competition and supported Spookfish’s application.

He said: “We knew we had great tech and knew we could write well but knowing how to actually win a grant is a completely different ball game. Ben’s input was invaluable. Ultimately, the funding meant that we didn’t have to furlough anyone last year and could get this technology off the ground quickly.”

Spookfish is now working with EUROCAE, (a developer of globally-recognised industry standards for aviation), to help create a standard for fever screening passengers when boarding commercial aircraft.