A member of staff at the University of Edinburgh has been awarded the Design and Creativity Award, in the 2016 Converge Challenge.
Dr Alexander Enoch developed Marty the Robot during his PhD studies at the University’s School of Informatics, with his spin-off company, Robotical Ltd.
The award consisted of £24,500, made up of £10,000 cash prize and £14,500 in business support.
Marty is a “fully programmable, WiFi enabled walking robot for kids, makers [and] educators”, describes Enoch on the crowdfunding platform indiegogo.com, where he raised £64,826 for his innovative robot.
The pint-sized robot was designed to make learning about programming, electronics and mechanical engineering easier.
It can be customised and expanded with 3D printable parts and a variety of programming languages such as Python, C++ and Scratch, an easy programming tool for children.
Speaking to The Student, Dr Olga Kozlova, director of the Converge Challenge Scotland, said that Dr Enoch won the Design and Creativity Award because of the “combination of a really exciting, fun product with significant market potential and the passion and dedication of its Founder.
“People are a huge part of any successful business and [Enoch] has demonstrated persistence and perseverance in developing a product with clear competitive advantage and making sure he has engaged with some key potential customers”, Kozlova continued.
After winning the prize, Enoch told the University in a press release: “Winning the Design and Creativity Award means a lot! Marty the Robot is designed to help people get hands on with programming and robotics, but that all starts with an appealing design that people actually want to engage with.
“We’re also hoping to spur creativity too, as it’s such an important skill to foster. I’m really grateful to the University for all the support I’ve had whilst starting up Robotical [Ltd], from the early meetings with Launch.ed, to hosting me during my Enterprise Fellowship.”
Dr Kozlova added that she hopes for “many more founders like Enoch with great products like Marty”, for 2017.
“It does not matter if the current idea is not perfect, many of our winners have been part of Converge in the past with a different proposition and benefited from judges feedback,” Kozlova told The Student.
“Converge is all about helping create a new generation of entrepreneurs in Scotland […] [and] works very closely with Launch.Ed, Enterprise Campus, and others. Collectively we want to make as many people consider starting a company as a viable option for their careers.”
Image: Robotics Ltd.