Sensor City tenant pioneers 3D-printed brain to educate students about mental health

5th June 2018

Healthcare innovation company, Chanua Health, has built a 3D-printed brain to teach students about mental health.

With support via the LCR 4.0 project and delivery partner Sensor City, Chanua Health was able to access and implement 3D printing technology to create a model that enables students to learn about the different parts of the brain in an interactive and engaging way.

The collaboration has enabled the company to work alongside LCR 4.0 – which is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) – and as a result, create their first-ever physical product to complement their service-led business.

Chanua Health tackles some of the biggest challenges in healthcare, wellbeing, and mental health, and created the 3D-printed brain as part of their “Neuro Champions” programme, which provides young people with the knowledge and skills to become effective leaders in mental health. Constructed using advanced technologies, the model allows students to learn about the brain by visualising concepts and take a more ‘hands-on’ approach to learning.

Since the development, Chanua Health has been offered a place at Bethnal Green Ventures where it is developing an augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) game to teach young people about the brain and mental health. Chanua Health is also partnering with Alder Hey Children’s NHS Trust running co-design sessions with children, parents and clinicians within a range of their clinical services.

In addition, Chanua Health has received a public engagement grant from the Wellcome Trust so they can further develop their Neuro Champions Young Leaders programme, a project that enables researchers, youth workers and neuroscientists to teach young people about the brain, neuroscience and mental health.

Naomi Mwasambili, co-founder of Chanua Health said: “Harnessing the technology at Sensor City and working with LCR 4.0 has enabled us to create a product that encourages young people to be more active in understanding their thoughts, behaviours and emotions.

“We have worked hard to put young people at the core of what we do, and we’re thrilled to be expanding into new sectors and creating programmes that can benefit their health and emotional wellbeing.”

Alison Mitchell, executive director at Sensor City said: “This project is a powerful example of how incorporating advanced technologies into education and healthcare can create an impact with the potential to change lives. It’s fantastic to see innovative health organisations, like Chanua Health, working so effectively with our business support and technical team here at Sensor City.

Chanua Health has been a tenant at Sensor City since September, where it has been using the hub’s world-class facilities to develop innovative projects that are shaping the future of health and wellbeing.


  1. Sensor City is a joint venture project between the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University which brings together knowledge and experience in sensor technology and houses and supports high-tech businesses working on sensor systems and applications. It aims to create 300 start-up businesses and 1,000 jobs over the next decade, as well as foster industry – academic collaborations.  Sensor City will include a Technology Development Zone, an Open Innovation Lab, and offer coaching, business mentoring and access to funding.  Both universities will support entrepreneurial talent to enable the translation of innovative ideas from bench to revenue, stimulating business growth regionally, nationally and ultimately internationally.
  2. The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (now Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, BEIS) backed the project with a £5 million University Enterprise Zone status capital investment award in 2014. In 2016, the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020, awarded £5 million in capital investment as match funding to support the development of the hi-tech sensor hub.
  3. European Regional Development Fund.

The project is receiving up to £5m of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit

  1. The University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University are each committing £1.5m to the project and £2m of co-investment from corporate sponsors is to be secured over the next 5 years.
  2. Occupying a prime position in the city centre, Sensor City will be sited at the heart of the city’s Knowledge Quarter.
  3. Sensors are the crucial link between technological devices and the world around them, capturing data on a whole host of areas such as temperature, humidity and pressure. They can be used in everything from home security systems to medical technology and high value manufacturing.


5th June 2018