Researchers from the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Large-Area Electronics came together on 8th June 2016 to foster new ideas and collaborations. The workshop held at the University of Cambridge featured a product design competition and was called ‘Designing the Future’. Five teams were set the task of combining their broad skill-base into innovative and new product ideas that demonstrate the advantages of large-area electronics. Their work culminated in a ‘Dragons’ Den’ inspired pitch to senior centre members who judged their ideas on market potential, manufacturing feasibility, expected performance, and use of large-area technologies.
After a closely fought competition, team ‘Dynamic Use-by Date’ comprising John Armitage (University of Cambridge), Dr James Semple (Imperial College London), Dr John Hardy (University of Lancaster), Dr Ehsan Danesh (University of Manchester) and Dr Neranga Abeywickrama (Nottingham Trent University) were crowned the overall winners. Judges were impressed by their concept for a smart packaging sensor, capable of detecting when food was about to spoil. The team successfully argued how existing CIMLAE technologies could be integrated into packaging, with the potential to reduce the huge amount of food waste caused by inaccurate use-by dates. Other ideas presented included:
- DermaSense - a wearable patch for medical and cosmetic applications
- Touch Light - an infrared based proximity sensing system enabling touch-free control
- Wifi Battery Extender - an energy-harvesting sticker that trickle-charges your mobile
- WE(a)PONS - a wireless biosensor integrated into dressings to monitor wounds
Workshop facilitator and CIMLAE researcher Dr Stuart Higgins said: “It was inspiring to see the exciting concepts that each team came up with, by combining their individual expertise. From the discussions going on in the room, it’s clear researchers really enjoyed the opportunity to come up with new ideas with colleagues from all across the centre.”
The workshop forms part of the Centre’s core objectives to address key manufacturing research challenges and promote the adoption of large-area electronics by the wider UK manufacturing base, achieved by both identifying and solving individual technical challenges, as well as demonstrating to industry the possibilities of this new technology.