Bubble FLO® has created a fun, child friendly, visually engaging, and effective physiotherapy medical device the Bubble FLO® PEP (Positive Expiratory Pressure) Device for the treatment of chronic lung conditions.


Bubble FLO® was set up by Katie Vance to develop a child friendly, engaging and effective physiotherapy medical device- a Bubble Positive Expiratory Pressure (PEP) Device for the treatment of chronic lung conditions.  

Positive-expiratory-pressure (PEP) therapy is a respiratory therapy that applies resistance to expiration, to produce positive airway pressure.  Since the 1930s, PEP has been used to improve oxygenation, increase lung volume and reduce venous return in patients with congestive heart failure.  PEP improves collateral ventilation, secretion clearance, aerosol distribution and functional residual capacity. (Respiratory Care:April 2009, Vol 54, No.4) 


The idea of creating a Bubble PEP device evolved when Katie’s daughter was diagnosed with a lifelong respiratory condition and the equipment supplied to carry out vital twice daily physiotherapy was very basic and lacked visual engagement for children.  Katie discovered there was no specific Paediatric equipment available, so she decided to develop a Bubble PEP Device which was fun, engaging and effective in clearing secretions from the lungs, and that was aesthetically pleasing, easily portable and easy to empty and re-fill.  

The technology did not exist to meet these key practical needs and Katie recognised that such a product could be revolutionary in this critical field.  The prototype that she developed was given very positive feedback from physiotherapists who worked with Katie’s daughter, and they expressed a need for a similar device for use by other patients and so Bubble FLO® was born.    


To develop the concept Katie contacted Interface, who, after putting out a search to Scotland’s universities and research institutes, partnered her with Kath Sharp, NHS Team Lead in Paediatric physiotherapy at Glasgow Caledonian University, (who introduced the technique to the West of Scotland and acted as a consultant on the project), and Professor Terence Gourlay, from the University of Strathclyde’s Biomedical Engineering Department, who has extensive experience in the design, development and commercialisation of medical devices.   

This collaborative project, funded by a Scottish Funding Council Innovation Voucher, focused on the development of a novel respiratory improvement technology aimed at the paediatric sector, but based on known and well-established approaches. The novelty in the proposed approach is centred around making what can be a tiresome therapy for children, fun and engaging.  

The experience the Department of Biomedical Engineering has in the production of laboratory, test-ready prototype devices was applied to the project to produce near clinically deliverable prototypes of the proposed technology which were then successfully tested under laboratory conditions. 

Subsequently Bubble FLO® was awarded a By Design Grant from Scottish Enterprise, which allowed the prototype design and ergonomics to be developed further. 

Through the support of South of Scotland Enterprise, Bubble FLO® worked with an engineer to develop manufacturing tools, create 40 prototypes and completed bio burden and chemical compatibility testing. 

Regulatory work has been completed with the support of CPI and Innovate UK to ensure the product is suitable for use. 

BubbleFLO are hoping to start clinical trials with the West of Scotland Innovation Hub at the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow soon. 

Interface have continued to assist Bubble FLO® brokering collaborations with the University of Strathclyde to create a brand and marketing strategy to target families of children with respiratory conditions and with Edinburgh Napier University to develop a “How to Set Up and Use” animated video with the aim of using animated characters to turn what can be a very daunting experience for a child into a fun and engaging one. 


As the Bubble FLO® PEP Device will be more engaging for children than the current NHS equipment; children will be much more motivated to carry out effective physiotherapy sessions and, in turn, this has the potential to save the NHS budget considerably through a reduction in hospital admissions for respiratory treatment. 

Whilst initially, sales of the Bubble FLO® PEP Device will be to parents online, it is hoped the NHS will purchase this new medical equipment as a long-term investment to reduce their overall budget after completion of an upcoming clinical trial with the West of Scotland Innovation Hub, Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow.

The development of the proposed technology will underpin the foundation of the commercial activity around this novel product. The company have benefitted from the University’s expertise in the development of prototypes, their laboratory evaluation and expertise in tooling design and production of the medical devices. 

Subsequent collaborations have provided Bubble FLO® with a marketing and targeting strategy and produced a novel animated guide for children and parents to be able to use the device at home. 

The academic partner has benefitted through this new research activity in the paediatric respiratory sector and in the use of this project as a case study for teaching purposes. In addition, the project fits very well with the Department’s objective of being supportive of the Scottish life science and med tech sectors. 

This project was nominated for Innovator of the Year at the Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards and won a Wild Card at the Scottish EDGE. 

Sign up for a day of inspiration, insights, learning and networking. Supply chain resilience, industry 4.0 technologies, leadership & culture, operational excellence and sustainability will all be covered. Find out how the manufacturing sector responded to a global pandemic, how it can recover and how we will reimagine the future.

The conference, previously known as the Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service (SMAS) National Manufacturing Conference, will arm manufacturing sector and supply chain businesses with the ambition, vision, knowledge, tools and networks to increase productivity and maintain future competitiveness.

Making Scotland’s Future is a partnership between Scottish Government, public agencies, industry and academia that are collectively taking forward a programme of activity designed to secure a strong, sustainable future for Scotland’s manufacturing sector, aligned to the Scottish Government’s ambitions in the National Strategy for Economic Transformation. The power of Making Scotland’s Future lies in harnessing all of its collective networks, channels and support to help drive productivity, innovation and competitiveness, maintain and create high-quality jobs, and attract and develop talent, while embedding low carbon and sustainable manufacturing as its core. The vision is for Scotland to be a country inventing, designing, developing and manufacturing world-leading products and technologies. Through continuing support and investment, we are making Scotland’s future today.

The Making Scotland’s Future Conference is being led by Scottish Enterprise on behalf of the Making Scotland’s Future partnership.

Interface are exhibiting and we’d love to see you there!

With the world being in constant change over the last few years with the pandemic, geopolitical events and climate change is it time to take stock and build some resilience into your business? See what challenges can be turned into opportunities, and allow you to grow and prosper?

Join this event to hear about where the Dairy industry is at currently and heading, what the Digital Dairy Chain can do to support you, where technology is taking us and what expertise and funding is available.

Everyone connected to the Dairy supply chain is welcome; from farmers, to milk processors, cheesemakers, ice-cream manufacturers, agricultural suppliers, hauliers and technology businesses.

A day to be informed, to network and collaborate.

This event will give you the opportunity to explore the AIMS (Advancing Innovative Manufacturing in the South of Scotland) project facilities and meet the engineers that maintain and operate the advanced manufacturing capabilities available. You will also hear from Interface and the Defence and Security Accelerator – DASA who may be able to fund projects involving the AIMS facilities.

Refreshments and networking opportunities will be provided.

Advancing Innovative Manufacturing in the South of Scotland (AIMS) Project

The AIMS Project (Advancing Innovative Manufacturing in the South of Scotland) is primarily there to benefit SMEs. The use of the AIMS equipment and expertise is free of charge. Incorporating state-of-the-art equipment and technologies, we provide SME’s access to advanced manufacturing, business support and industry-led expertise, assisting businesses to:

• Innovate, develop, prove, and introduce new processes in product manufacturing

• Introduce businesses to new technology and innovate ways of manufacturing

• Turn their ideas into reality without the cost of R&D

Recent collaborations have resulted in assisting clients with introducing new products, automating processes and reverse engineering. We have a range of equipment available at our group of innovation facilities based at Dumfries & Galloway College (Dumfries Campus), The Bridge (Dumfries) and Borders College (Hawick Campus).

Rabbie Burns goes virtual – Robert Burns Ellisland Farm recreated in Minecraft highlighting the life and great works of the National Bard.

Ellisland Museum & Farm was the farmhouse built by Robert Burns, Scotland’s National Bard in 1788. It was his home, where he farmed, and where he worked as an Excise officer. Today Ellisland is a much-celebrated museum housing one of the world’s most important collections of Burns treasures.


Ellisland Museum & Farm near Dumfries was the farmhouse built by Robert Burns and was his home until 1791 where he farmed and worked as an Excise officer. During his time living there he experienced his most creative and fruitful years in terms of his poetry and song. This is where he wrote Tam O’Shanter and Auld Lang Syne. Today Ellisland is a much-celebrated museum housing one of the world’s most important collections of Burns treasures.

The Challenge

During 2020/21 Covid-19 saw visitor numbers drop dramatically and visitor attractions closing their doors for a significantly long period, some of them indefinitely. The main challenge during this time was how to maintain interest, widen reach and encourage visitors to return.

The Ellisland Trust, who run the Ellisland Museum & Farm wanted to develop an interactive Robert Burns Minecraft digital experience appealing to a younger audience to highlight the life and great works of the National Bard. Their idea was to depict his life as an Excise Officer and farmer as well as highlighting his poems and songs and other Burns associated landmarks in Dumfries and Ayrshire.

The Solution

Ellisland Farm, where Burns lived from 1788-1791, has been brought back to virtual life in Minecraft.

Students and academics at the University of Glasgow worked with the Robert Burns Ellisland Trust to faithfully recreate, in Minecraft, the 18th-century farm as Burns and his family knew it.  

The Minecraft Ellisland world was built by around 15 students – undergraduates and postgraduates drawn from a range of different subjects – who are part of the University’s Minecraft Society.

Bailey Hodgson, the Minecraft Society’s President and one of its founders, who has been using Minecraft for 12 years, played a significant role both in project setup and delivery.

The Minecraft Ellisland project was led by Dr Timothy Peacock and Dr Matthew Barr from the University’s Game and Gaming Lab, a cross-disciplinary lab – based in the University’s College of Arts – with a focus on how games and gaming can be used in research and teaching.

Interface were able to find an academic partner at very short notice to tie in with funding from South of Scotland Destination Alliance (SSDA) and made the relevant introductions between the University of Glasgow, SSDA and Ellisland Trust.

The project was funded through SSDA from the Scottish Government’s Tourism Leadership & Recovery Fund which supports tourism enterprises taking the lead in the sector’s COVID-19 recovery.

The Benefits

Venue: APEX City Quay Hotel, Dundee

The Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards, sponsored by Salix Finance, is the flagship event that celebrates the partnerships between business, third sector or public sector organisations and academia. Now in its eighth year the annual event recognises, rewards, and celebrates the impacts achieved through these exciting collaborations that enrich society and support sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

To discover more about the categories, and how to apply visit our recent article. Read More.


Wanlockhead Museum represents the local social and industrial history of this once important site of lead mining. The museum consists of an underground mine (open to the public); Straitsteps Cottages, representing miners’ lives in 1750, 1850 and 1910; the Miners’ Library and the Visitor Centre; and the Museum. The library holds 2800 books and is the second oldest subscription library in Europe.


Restrictions due to Covid-19 have had a negative effect on how the Museum can deliver the visitor experience.  In May of 2020, Interface joined forces with VisitScotland and the Scottish Tourism Alliance to launch the Adopt a Business scheme; a new initiative aimed at boosting the sector’s recovery from Covid-19 by connecting tourism businesses to university academics and students for research and development projects, helping businesses to diversify and adapt to the new environment.

Wanlockhead Museum were looking to develop an informed digitisation strategy. They have valuable resources in the library which could be more widely shared on a digital platform. Social distancing would be very difficult to undertake on the mine tour, but a virtual tour could widen their audience and increase access for those not physically able to enter the mine; and, with the inclusion of text, could also be accessible to the hearing impaired.


The Trust applied to the Adopt a Business initiative looking for academic support.  Mari Findlay, Business Engagement Executive at Interface, put Kathryn Linsell, Trustee, Wanlockhead Museum, in touch with Dr Kirsten Cowan from the University of Edinburgh and Dr Alena Kostyk from the University of Glasgow, who had expressed interest in participating in the Adopt a Business initiative.  Intrigued by the Museum’s rich history and everything it had to offer, the academics volunteered to work jointly on the project as there was a good fit between their expertise and the needs of the Museum.


The academics were able to secure funding for the project that included ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) Impact Acceleration Account funding from the University of Glasgow; allowing them to create and test digital marketing solutions for the Museum as well as being able to purchase the necessary equipment to do this.

In collaboration with filmmakers “Silly Wee Films” from Glasgow, a static scenes VR tour for the Wanlockhead’s Lead mine, Miners’ library, and Miners’ cottages was created.

Audio narrations for these VR scenes were created in collaboration with “The Big Light” podcast company from Glasgow.

A small pre-Christmas Facebook campaign was tested to facilitate donations to the Wanlockhead’s fundraiser, and to build social media following. It generated 18,000+ post engagements, and 1,575 link clicks. Facebook page following went from 2,300 to 2,700 potential visitors during that brief campaign.

The academics are now preparing (January 2021) to launch a Facebook campaign to build a larger social media following for the Museum as well as generating more traction for the fundraiser. They will be testing out several digital campaign designs to find optimal solutions.

A further student marketing project is currently underway with the University of Glasgow.

Drs Cowan and Kostyk have supported the Museum throughout the course of the project and continue to do so. 

The Adopt a Business scheme was shortlisted by PraxisAuril for the 2021 Pandemic Pivot of the Year Award.


The Whithorn Trust was founded in 1988 to inspire the public with the story of Whithorn, which is one of the earliest sites in Scotland where archaeological evidence of Christian practice is found. The site was an early medieval monastery and later a pilgrimage shrine. The Trust operates a visitor centre; museum; guided tours, including its full-scale replica Iron Age Roundhouse; and a café and shop to support its activities. It also promotes wide ranging economic development and educational initiatives, working with bioarchaeologists on dating and population information for the early burials.


In May of 2020, Interface joined forces with VisitScotland and the Scottish Tourism Alliance to launch the Adopt a Business scheme; a new initiative aimed at boosting the sector’s recovery from COVID-19 by connecting tourism businesses to university academics and students for research and development projects; helping businesses to diversify and adapt to the new environment.

Julia Muir Watt, Development Manager at The Whithorn Trust, responded to the Adopt a Business initiative saying: “We would be interested in hearing from anyone who can work with a heritage organisation on virtual reality. We already work with archaeologists who are looking to produce an interactive archaeopuzzle with 3D models, but we have lots of resources where virtual reality experiences may be applicable.”


Mari Findlay, Business Engagement Executive at Interface, put Julia in touch with Dr Kirsten Cowan from University of Edinburgh and Dr Alena Kostyk from University of Glasgow, who had both expressed interest in participating in the Adopt a Business initiative and volunteered to work jointly on the project during their summer holidays.


Drs Cowan and Kostyk were able to secure funding for the project that included ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) Impact Acceleration Account funding from both the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow that was used to fund filmmakers, post-production costs, podcasts and 3D headsets; enable the continuance of the collaboration; and support the creation and testing of digital marketing solutions. 

In collaboration with filmmakers, Silly Wee Films based in Glasgow, a static scenes VR tour for the Whithorn Trust’s Iron Age Roundhouse and Priory was created and the academics are in the process (January 2021) of creating a 360-degree video VR tour, which is in line with the Trust’s new digital ambitions.  Audio narrations were developed in collaboration with The Big Light podcast company from Glasgow.

A Facebook campaign was designed and tested to facilitate the sales of the Whithorn Trust’s “digital ticket” initiative and to build a larger social media following.

An additional student marketing project was also secured by the academics to look at improving the Trust’s general marketing activities for 2021.

The academics continue to support the Trust.


Dr Werner Kissling was a German aristocrat who was born into great wealth but ended up living as a tenant of a bedsit in Dumfries. He left the German diplomatic service whilst posted to London in 1931, unwilling to work for a Nazi government. Instead, he pursued academic research in the UK even after anti-Hitler activities cost his family their fortune.

Dr Kissling was a distinguished ethnologist, particularly taking photographs in the Western Isles of Scotland.  He made the first ever film to use spoken Gaelic and is regarded as one of the great photographers of the Western Isles.

Dumfries Museum houses an extensive collection of photographs taken by Dr Kissling between 1935 and the 1970s.  Many show images of crafts people and agricultural workers from New Zealand to the Western Isles of Scotland at work, some practising crafts which have since died out.


In 2018, a suitcase of Dr Kissling’s personal possessions was donated to the museum.  A great deal of work had been done already in terms of sorting, copying and documenting the contents of this suitcase, but further work was required to archive, digitise and catalogue them.

This inspired the Dr Werner Kissling Project 2019, a project to document the newly acquired collections and collect reminiscences from people who remembered Dr Kissling.


Mari Findlay, from Interface, put Siobhán Ratchford, curator at Dumfries Museum, in touch with the Scottish Graduate School for Arts & Humanities (SGSAH) Internship/Artist Residency programme, where PhD student Kirsty Kernohan expressed an interest in the project.

Kirsty, who was studying anthropology at University of Aberdeen, created over 500 new catalogue records for the museum’s collection and developed a record identifying Kissling collections in other institutions, available for future research by public and experts. She also compiled three online information pages including around 120 digitised photographs for Future Museum, a resource showcasing the collections of museums in Ayrshire and Dumfries & Galloway. Kirsty’s work on Futuremuseum.co.uk can be viewed here.


Company – A Scottish museum’s internationally significant collection of photographs has been expanded and preserved for future generations, thanks to Interface’s connections. The staff at the museum were delighted to see Dr Kissling’s collection finally honoured and become more accessible to the public.

Academic – The Dr Werner Kissling Project 2019 gave the PhD student the chance to take on a multi-faceted project in a museum context, allowing her to put into practice skills she had gained volunteering in other museums and through her PhD research.  Previous experience on anthropological fieldwork allowed her to conduct ethical interviews and add to the museum’s records, and research experience allowed her to collate information about Dr Kissling, enhancing the museum’s collection.

Kirsty won the Truckell Prize 2020 for her research paper into Dr Kissling, awarded by the Dumfriesshire and Galloway Natural History and Antiquarian Society.