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Sussex and Plessey Semiconductors announce sensor collaboration

Signing the Plessey agreement

Revolutionary new sensors that can detect a heartbeat up to a metre away are the focus of a new partnership between the University of Sussex and Plymouth based Plessey Semiconductors.

This is a completely new area of sensor technology that measures changes in an electric field in a similar way to a magnetometer detecting changes in a magnetic field. The sensor, which requires no physical or resistive contact to make measurements, will enable innovative new products to be made such as medical scanners that are simply held close to a patients chest to obtain a detailed ECG reading or devices that can 'see' through walls.

The sensitivity of these sensors means they can also be used to detect muscle signals and eye movements and, in future, will be developed to detect brain and nerve-fibre signals.  The EPS research group team, based in the University of Sussex's School of Engineering and Design, is lead by Professor Robert Prance, Professor of Sensor Technology.

Professor Prance said: "These sensors are the result of a sustained research programme at Sussex. For the first time we are able to detect electrical signals from the body passively, without making physical contact, and in familiar environments such as the home or hospital."

Dr. Keith Strickland, Technology Director for Plessey Semiconductors, said, "The EPS technology created by Professor Prance's team at the University of Sussex is a significant innovation that will have a wide-ranging disruptive impact in the sensor market.  In conjunction with the University of Sussex, Plessey will be developing an exciting range of Array Based EPS sensors utilising our in-house expertise in semiconductor process technology and design.  We expect to have our first product prototype available in Q3 of next year for a medical diagnosis product that will significantly advance the ease and quality of cardiac measurements." 

For more information go to: http://www.sinc.co.uk/sinc_companies/sussex_ep_sensors.html

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By: Danielle Treanor
Last updated: Wednesday, 22 December 2010