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Time travel is no longer a concept of the future thanks to a 2013 project funded by the Technology Strategy Board.

A new method of transporting accurate time has just been invented by British company Chronos Technology - and there is nothing else like it in the world.

Called TimePort™, it is the only handheld battery-operated transportable time base of its kind, and it can calibrate to the nanosecond using the stability of an atomic clock. 

TimePort will be used by financial institutions, telecoms networks and power utilities where time delay errors caused by cables, equipment and networks must be quantified and removed to enable current and future services to operate more efficiently. 

‘It is a real coup for UK R&D activity - and for us - in fact we are interviewing this week for a full-time export manager; TimePort is a real success story,' said Charles Curry, Managing Director of Chronos Technology.

Prof. Charles Curry BEng, CEng, FIET is a Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology, has a degree in Electronics from Liverpool University and holds honorary professorships with Bath and Liverpool Universities.

He applied for a Technology Strategy Board grant in 2012 to develop a Proof of Concept system under the TimePort project in order to meet perceived demand from global markets. 

‘We already have an arrangement with international organisation Doble Engineering which operates in 110 countries, and we have an order for 50 TimePort systems from them with the potential of 200 more in the pipeline,' said Charles. 

‘It is most unlikely that TimePort would have proceeded in such a timely manner or with the technical challenge of completely new markets without the support of the Technology Strategy Board grant.

‘This project would have stalled at our internal Gate 0 review and may never have started - since we had to manage finite R&D resources. The opportunity would have been lost.

All about timing

All about timing

‘Like any other high-tech organisation we are never short of ideas, but we knew we had a sound business case for TimePort. We just didn't have the resource to take it to market at the time, and in these cases if you don't do it when the market is right you miss the boat altogether,' explained Charles.

‘There are three key markets which will benefit from the enhanced portability over current conventional methods of calibrating sub-microsecond time: power utilities with their evolution to ‘Smart Grid'; High Frequency Trading in the financial services sector; and the new mobile services such as ‘Co-ordinated Multipoint' which will be enabled as the recently auctioned 4G bandwidth that comes into operation in 2014.

‘The Technology Strategy Board has given us the opportunity to service these markets.

‘Conventional methods to calibrate time can involve transporting heavy Caesium atomic clock technology - or running a GPS cable all the way from a convenient outside location into an equipment room and using other test equipment to measure the time difference,' explained Charles.