Dr Liam Donovan

The problem

A lack of access to in-depth technical knowledge about embedded computing can limit many talented individuals and small businesses when creating products. 

The solution

Bela is an integrated platform designed to make it easier for makers and artists to embed high-performance computing within products to enhance functionality. The technology comprises hardware designed, and suitably priced, for both prototyping and deploying at scale, and software that bundles all of the tools needed to build products. It has a particular focus on applications involving real-time audio processing.

The annual global embedded computing market is estimated at over $50 billion. Meanwhile there are more than 40 million adults in the US alone who identify as ‘makers’ – ambitious and creative individuals who want to build things to improve the world around them. 70% of these makers are involved in projects that require embedded computing but many do not have the technical skills to use it.

Embedded systems have low power consumption, small size and are low-cost. By making high-performance embedded computing more accessible, Bela’s solutions open horizons for businesses and makers to develop new, disruptive technologies.

Dr Liam Donovan draws on his expertise as a researcher at the Augmented Instruments Laboratory and as an artist to lead the development of the technology. He supports the project team at Bela to develop a small-scale demonstrator of its technology, targeted at sectors including digital musical instruments and wearable technology. The aim is to bring this to market in 2019, with a view to scaling up in the future.


  • 2018: Awarded funding from Innovate UK to further develop Bela’s technology.

Liam was awarded a 2018 Enterprise Fellowship to support him in developing a new technology at Bela and bringing it to market.


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