RBSA Photographic Prize 2017 Exhibition

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Very pleased a landscape from my series in Patagonia has been selected by jurors for this years Royal Birmingham Society of Artists (RBSA) Photographic Prize 2017 Exhibition. The exhibition runs from 16th Feb – 11th March at the RBSA gallery located just off St Paul’s square in Birmingham’s historic Jewellery Quarter.  Print sales are available through the gallery www.rbsa.org.uk

Silicon Gorge – Audiogum

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Steve Robbins (Co-Founder and CTO) & Mark Wheatley (Co-Founder and Head of Product Design) – Audiogum

Aboard the legendary music venue Thekla, I was joined by Steve Robbins and Mark Wheatley, co-founders of new start up Audiogum. In between us exploring the boat and chatting music and bands, I learned about the guys backgrounds and they enlightened me on their new companies mission to change the shape of connected audio experiences.

Tell us about what your company does? 

MW: We’re making a platform that allows connected devices to access streaming music in new and interesting ways. We haven’t launched yet and can’t say too much but we are really excited about where we are going and can’t wait to get our work out there.

Why Bristol?

MW: We met when working at one of Peter Gabriel’s old tech startups. He was based in the area and so Bristol it was. Now we are here, I don’t think either one of us would want to live and work anywhere else. The energy and creativity in this city is unbelievable.

What makes you most proud about Audiogum?

SR: We assembled a great team that had largely worked together before and were able to be very productive from the start. We’ve all learnt a lot from previous jobs and have reduced meetings and other overheads to an absolute minimum.

What do you love the most about technology?

SR: What I love about technology is its ability to simplify and create new things. MW: I love the endless possible futures it points towards. I love the fact it has the potential to make peoples lives better. Of course, it can also make peoples lives worse!

What piece of advice would you give to a new start up?

SR I would say trust and openness are essential. MW: Yes, absolutely. Make sure you are working with people you really like. It can be a high pressure environment so it’s going to test those relationships to the max. And it’s got to be fun. If it’s not fun, what’s the point?

Thanks guys, good luck with the new venture.

Thanks also to the Thekla crew.

To feature in this project or to contact me with any licensing requests please email jim@jimjohnston.co.uk



Silicon Gorge – Ultrahaptics

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Tom Carter (Founder) & Steve Cliffe (CEO)  – Ultrahaptics,

Tom Carter and Steve Cliffe are Founder and CEO respectively of Ultrahaptics, a technology company that uses algorithms and an array of ultrasound emitters to allow people to feel and manipulate virtual objects. Upon signing a non-disclosure agreement and passing security, I was welcomed through the company’s sleek Temple Quarter head office and into the Ultrahaptics engineering lab. Tom and Steve enlightened me on the possibilities of haptic feedback technology and why they chose Bristol.

What does your company do?

SC:  Ultrahaptics lets you feel things in mid-air that are not really there. Anything from virtual shapes, buttons, switches and dials can be created. Paired with a VR headset, these sensations can allow you to feel virtual worlds, or you can use the sensations to make invisible buttons in mid-air to control everything from your TV to your car radio. To do this, Ultrahaptics uses ultrasound. We use a matrix of tiny ultrasound speakers that produce sound at a frequency too high to hear, but when we combine the soundwaves together, we can create a force that vibrates the surface of your skin so it feels like you are touching something.

What really inspires you about living and working in Bristol?

TC:  The combination of creativity and technology in Bristol is hard to beat anywhere in the world. With a massively active grass roots music and arts scene, and a legacy of engineering and technology, Bristol is home to real ecosystem of technology companies who have a creative approach to problem solving. Perhaps ecosystem isn’t the right word, community would more accurately describe Bristol’s attitude to collaboration and supporting one another. I love living in a city in which I can easily cycle from one side to the other, but if I want to, Cornwall is only a couple of hours away and London’s a hop on a train.

What do you love the most about technology? 

SC:  Its endless ability to adapt and develop. Just when you think something isn’t possible, BAM, somebody goes and does it. We walk around now with everybody having a world full of information at their fingertips and we swipe on glass to get at it. 20 years ago, that was a pipe dream. I’m excited to see what we’ll have 20 years from now.

What piece of advice would you give to a new start up?

TC: Find a network that suits your business. We went into the SetSquared Incubator out of the University where we were able to get the support to grow quickly. We’ll be over 100 people next year thanks to the support they gave us in the early days, helping us with legals, marketing, building a board and everything in between.

Thanks to Tom, Steve, Heather, Victoria and David @ Ultrahaptics.

To feature in this project or to contact me with any licensing requests please email jim@jimjohnston.co.uk


Silicon Gorge – Sonny Masero

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Sonny Masero – Chairman – Demand Logic

What does your company do? How does it help businesses?

Demand Logic helps companies reduce the cost of running their buildings, particularly energy & maintenance, and makes them more comfortable for the building occupants. We do this by analysing data about the performance of the building and then providing recommendations, a bit like a Fitbit does for your body, just for buildings.

What inspires you about where you live?

Living in the South West allows me to live somewhere naturally beautiful with my family as well as pursuing my business within a dynamic community. Ultimately my reason for being in business is reduce our impact on the environment so this area of the UK provides that combination.

What do you love the most about technology?

Technology’s ability to connect people with a common purpose has inspired my career and made me seek new ways in which green technology can be used at scale to reduce our impact on the planet. The fact that we are now seeing our economies embracing zero-carbon technologies, like electric vehicles, solar panels, wind turbines and intelligent software is very exciting as it is now the norm rather than the exception.

Thanks Sonny!

To feature in this project or to contact me with any licensing requests please email jim@jimjohnston.co.uk


Approaching 2017 in The Sprit of Osu!

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Starting 2017 exploring the art of Kyokushinkai (images here) and being so close to this small group of dedicated individuals in a a beautiful setting was such an energetic, inspiring and powerful way to start a New Year.

Kyokushinkai karate gives equal value to both the physical and fighting elements together with spiritual and etiquette elements. By approaching life in the spirit of Osu a person’s daily life and the responsibilities it holds, can help people live a more complete life. Waterfall training in the depths of a Welsh winter is well suited in developing this positive attitude to one’s life.

As we jogged through the edge of the Breacon Beacons National Park to the beautiful Sgwd yr Eira falls, there was no whinging or whining about the cold, mud, or physical work just an attitude of keeping going and pushing on. In fact, all the people I met and photographed were extremely inspiring, mature with a healthy respect for nature and the human spirit.

It really helped me reflect on my own strength of character and think about how I can achieve my own goals with the same determination, patience and positivity as these amazing Kyokushinkai fighters.

Persevere. Keep going.

Happy New Year & Osu!

Silicon Gorge – Yellowdog

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Gareth Williams – Founder – Yellowdog

What does your company do?

We’re effectively building the world’s fastest supercomputer.

We believe there is already enough computer power in the world. But there is an imbalance between supply and demand. Through our unique technology, we securely harness and monetise underutilised computer power, enabling organisations to save huge amounts of money, through leveraging this unlimited power on demand. Our first market is the computer generated imagery and 3D animation industry – providing them with outsourced cloud rendering. Our aims and objectives are to ultimately be acquired. However, before then we want to be the global market leader for outsourced cloud rendering.

What really inspires you about living and working in Bristol?

I love living and working in Bristol because of the vibrancy of the tech and creative cluster is second to none. There is also a distinct attitude to the people, the way they approach life and work.

What did you want to do when you grew up?

Design Lego.

What do you love about technology?

There’s two things for me: how it can solve intractable problems for people and how it works. Arthur C Clarke’s third law really resonates for me where any sufficiently advanced technology can be indistinguishable from magic.

Thanks to Gareth and The Engine Shed!

To feature in this project or to contact me with any licensing requests please email jim@jimjohnston.co.uk


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Sent out a limited number of promo posters in biodegradable sleeves to friends and clients. Nice job by Phil @ Hello Blue. Drop me an email at jim@jimjohnston.co.uk if you would like one.

Silicon Gorge – Marcin Bogdanski

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Marcin Bogdanski – Founder – Drone X

I met Marcin Bogdanski in a testing area for drones.

What does your company do?

We are a growing robotics systems consultancy, which means we design, build and program prototype robots. Our projects produce entirely unique machines that are customised for any imaginable need. That could be a multi-rotor, fixed wing, rovers, crawlers, underwater vehicles or surface vessels. We help build products that no-one has built before and we aim to put automation at the heart of future business and industries, proving eventually that no technical challenge is too farfetched to be solved by modern robotics.

What really inspires you about living and working in Bristol?

Rich history of engineering, creativity and innovation, I like the spirit of Bristol, its forward-thinking mentality and dynamism reflects the impressive growth of the region`s tech sector. There’s a lot going on here, so it’s an exciting place for entrepreneurs like us. Bristol is fertile ground for the robotics industry.  In some way, I see what we’re doing as a continuation of that history: a marriage of big ideas and modern technology.

Why robots?

I grew up on Japanese robot cartoons, Star Trek and many sci-fi/fantasy books. So tech and robots were always in the background. Then, not feeling challenged by university, I decided to build my own four-wheeled rover. It had four independent computer-controllable power rails and Wi-Fi. Later on, I added a second camera and simple stereo-vision. All electronics designed and build myself. This was before single board computers such as Arduino and Raspberry Pi made it all so easy. You could say it was my first proper robot.

What do you love about technology?

That it can improve people’s lives and allow humanity to progress toward a more enlightened future. Areas such as education and medicine are the most worthwhile frontiers, but really it’s the possibilities inherent in new technology that I love the most. By giving life to people’s big ideas through robotics, I can be a part of that future and it’s this that I find so exciting.

Thanks Marcin!

Please email jim@jimjohnston.co.uk with any licensing requests or to feature.