Dr Alexandre Pechev, a Lecturer in Control Engineering from the Surrey Space Centre at the University of Surrey has received The Royal Academy of Engineering’s ERA Foundation Entrepreneurs Award 2010.

As a result of Alexandre’s research into the control of space satellites it is now possible to have for the first-time, truly interactive, real-time, full body animation of many characters and different user generated creatures in a computer game.

Games currently use motion capture and animation libraries with little or no real-time full body character animation because there is not enough processing power to run the calculations. This results in poor realism and 'wooden' characters with limited interaction with the player, or with the scenery. The new algorithm vastly reduces the time taken to calculate animation so this can now be done in real time and results in much more ‘organic’ and natural movement of characters.

Games will feel much more realistic and many players' characters can truly interact with each other and with the scenery in real time. It can be used on any platform from mobile phones to high-end gaming consoles and it is also ideally suited to web -based downloadable games, and could enable high-end games to be played on lower specification platforms.

Professor Chris Snowden FREng, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Surrey, said: “The University of Surrey is very pleased that The Royal Academy of Engineering and the ERA Foundation have recognised the quality of Dr Pechev’s academic work and his significant entrepreneurial abilities with this prestigious award. Dr Pechev’s original research, at the Surrey Space Centre at the University, was on satellite control systems but it has the potential, recognised in this award, for unexpected and far reaching impacts on robotics and computer games and therefore more widely on the UK economy.”

The ERA Foundation Entrepreneurs award looks to recognise the collaboration of research with entrepreneurial promise in the field of electro-technology. The award and £40,000 cash prize is made possible by the support of the ERA Foundation.

Alexandre comments, “IKinema is yet another example of research carried out in our Universities which will have world-wide impact far beyond its original concept and I hope this award will inspire others to undertake similar commercialisation steps.”

Notes for editors

  1. The Royal Academy of Engineering ERA Foundation Entrepreneurs Award is the latest award in the Academy's awards portfolio. Made possible with the generous support of the ERA Foundation, the annual Award is open to both individuals and small teams. It seeks to identify and reward engineering researchers who exhibit a combination of business awareness, entrepreneurial potential and complimentary personal qualities in the field of electro-technology (which includes electrical and electronic engineering, aspects of biomedical engineering, electro-mechanical engineering, optics and optical engineering, instrumentation IT, software and hardware and materials related to these areas).
  2. Founded in 1976, The Royal Academy of Engineering promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the country. Our fellowship - comprising the UK's most eminent engineers - provides the leadership and expertise for our activities, which focus on the relationships between engineering, technology, and the quality of life. As a national academy, we provide independent and impartial advice to Government; work to secure the next generation of engineers; and provide a voice for Britain's engineering community.
  3. The ERA Foundation supports activities that help bridge the gap between research and exploitation in the broad field of electrotechnology. Activities include support of projects at the early stages of commercialisation, investment in start-up and young technology companies, raising the profile of engineering to young people and promoting the importance of high quality research and development to government, industry and academia.

For more information please contact

Tonia Page, PR Consultant, The Royal Academy of Engineering on 07770 845984