Medical

Developments in medical systems are helping to diagnose and treat more conditions than ever before, with devices ranging from blood pressure meters and glucosometers to leading edge MRI machines. It’s no surprise that medical electronics is a demanding discipline, which means companies involved in the sector, as well as those looking to enter the medical electronics supply chain, need to keep up to date.

New Electronics covers developments in the medical electronics sector, bringing technology updates and opinion from the market.

EMC basics and practical PCB design tips

Though often used as synonyms, Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) is really the controlling of radiated and conducted Electromagnetic Interference (EMI); and poor EMC is one of the main reasons for PCB re-designs. Indeed, an estimated 50% of first-run boards fail because they either emit unwanted EM and/or are susceptible to it.

Bringing on bioelectronics

As part of the UK’s Healthcare Technologies strategy, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council launched a competition in 2016 to identify promising research projects addressing challenging issues. Among the eight winners, announced in 2017, were Dr Rylie Green of Imperial College London and Dr Frankie Rawson of the University of Nottingham. Dr Green’s efforts centre on implantable polymer bioelectronics for devices such as bionic eyes and cochlear implants. Her aim is to create a soft and flexible conducting polymer.

Bluetooth turns 20

In January 2018, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) celebrated its 20th anniversary. Formed in 1998, the group was started with just a handful of companies who were looking to replace wire for mobile voice and data. Today, membership stands at more than 33,000 companies.

Low cost sensors will help the IoT to be realised

The Internet of Things is developing from being a concept just a few years ago to something far more tangible. But the whole idea of the IoT is dependent upon collecting masses of data from billions of so called edge devices, analysing it and deciding on actions. That data needs to be collected by sensors of all description – and those sensors need to be low cost if the aims of those creating products for the IoT are to be realised.

Industrial digitalisation made real

Last month saw the publication of the Industrial Digitalisation Review which outlined a series of proposals to boost the UK’s economy through the deployment of advanced digital technologies including: robotics, 3D printing, augmented and virtual reality and artificial intelligence.

Birmingham University is pioneering VR, AR, simulation and telerobotics systems

Established in 2003 by Professor Bob Stone, Birmingham University’s Human Interface Technologies (HIT) Team, based within the university’s School of Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineering (EESE) has been a pioneer in the development of interactive media and telerobotic technologies in the UK, building on Stone’s long experience in virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), mixed reality, simulation and telerobotics.

The NPL is looking to prove that measurement matters

The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) was established in 1900 with the aim of bringing ‘scientific knowledge to bear practically upon our everyday industrial and commercial life’ and, over the past 117 years, it has established itself as a world class centre of excellence in measurement science. Not only that it has maintained the nation’s primary standards of measurement while developing and contributing to a host of innovations and technologies, from radar to atomic clocks.

As security becomes an important part of the design process, what are the issues?

A report published earlier in 2017 by consumer body Which? reinforced the perception that companies designing products for the Internet of Things don’t take security seriously enough. In what it called a ‘snapshot’ investigation, it set up a network featuring such smart gadgets as wireless cameras, smart padlocks and children’s toys, then hired a team of ethical security researchers to hack it. While some of the devices proved harder to hack than others, eight of the 15 appliances on the network had at least one security flaw.

It’s the little things

It’s not that many years ago that MEMS devices were regarded as something of a novelty, with early applications focused mainly in the automotive industry – airbag deployment, for example.

Solution to heat challenges in UV LED modules

Applications using ultraviolet (UV) light were first used back in the 1900s, but it was not until the 1940s that it was used on an industrial scale curing resins and inks and being deployed to sterilise and then disinfect medical equipment.

A different approach to Big Data

In June 2013, Sir Mark Walport and Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, co chairs of the Council for Science and Technology, sent a letter to then Prime Minister David Cameron entitled ‘The Age of Algorithms’. The letter contained eight recommendations, the sixth of which was the establishment of a National Centre to promote advanced research and translational work in algorithms and the application of data science. “This could fittingly be named the ‘Alan Turing Centre’,” they noted.

Industry associations' take on the Industrial Strategy White Paper

Despite the UK economy’s reliance on the financial and services sectors over the recent past, there remains an understanding that the development of technology has – and will continue to have – an important role to play. And if that technology can be translated into the creation of thriving companies, then all the better.

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