Engineering company to tackle spread of Covid in shared work spaces

A Barnsley business developing technology to help prevent coughs and sneezes spreading diseases in the workplace has gained a funding boost.

Twin Dynamics, based at Barnsley’s Digital Media Centre, has received a £91,633 grant from Innovate UK to invest in an intelligent airflow analysis system, which will predict how respiratory droplets travel through the air and settle on surfaces.

The Covid-focused innovation is designed to give building managers vital information which will help them adjust office lay-outs, ventilation systems and working practices to reduce the risks of airborne virus transmission amongst workers, and to support track and trace monitoring.

Innovate UK has backed Twin Dynamics’ development as it focuses on enabling the co-working spaces market to re-open safely.

The investment, provided through the Government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, will enable the company to create two new jobs.

Director and co-founder of Twin Dynamics, Dr Noukhez Ahmed, said: “We are very pleased to gain this funding which will accelerate our R&D work on this scientific tool to help create optimal Covid-secure workspaces and public buildings.”

Twin Dynamics’ virus control innovation builds on its Multi-Fidelity Building Model (MF-BM). This was developed to provide an insight into air flow and heat transfer within a building, helping managers deliver optimal comfort for workers while cutting energy costs and carbon footprint.

Ahmed said: “We can now build on this model but focus on the behaviour of respiratory droplets in the air.

“The information gained by this analysis will help facilities managers dramatically reduce the risk of cross infection.”

The new Covid-19-focused prototype MF-BM is being developed at the Diamond Building at Sheffield University and Barnsley College to help them create a safe environment for students. Ahmed hopes this will be the first of many field trials to gather more active data.

DMC manager, Tracey Johnson, said: “The global co-working spaces market is set to become increasingly important as we come out of the pandemic with more companies supporting remote working and making use of co-working spaces for occasional working, collaboration and meet-ups.

“Whatever happens next, we will continue to need to protect against the spread of coronavirus. This smart, digital health and safety solution from Twin Dynamics could really help to make workspaces, like our own Digital Media Centres, exemplars of well-managed Covid-secure environments.”

Twin Dynamics moved to Barnsley’s Digital Media Centre, from Dewsbury in March 2019, when the company took part in the IoT Tribe North accelerator which helps start-ups grow quickly.

Its MF-BM technology was developed with the support of the IoT Tribe programme and in partnership with Cambridge and Sheffield universities.

Ahmed said: “The DMC’s Enterprising Barnsley team and IoT Tribe have supported us every step of our journey providing us with business support, introductions to key partners such as the universities and gaining opportunities to showcase our technology such as Barnsley College.”