Nigel Whittle, Head of Medical & Healthcare, features in Cambridge Wireless News article today on How 5G Could Transform the Delivery of Healthcare.

“The next telecommunication revolution is just around the corner: 5G or fifth-generation cellular wireless holds out the promise of downloading data at least 10x faster than today’s 4G services. 5G operates primarily on the millimetre spectrum – the band between 30 GHz and 300 GHz – (although other parts of the spectrum may be used for specialist purposes) and is able to transmit large packets of data quickly without clogging the network. The first noticeable change for consumers will be the fast delivery of communications and entertainment to mobile and fixed devices completely wirelessly.”

To read the full article Click Here.

6 November 2019: Plextek-DTS (Defence Technology Solutions) has been awarded two contracts under the £2 million Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) competition to develop new capabilities to detect, disrupt, and defeat the hostile and malicious use of drones.

Both contracts build on Plextek’s world-leading research and experience in Low Size Weight and Power (SWaP) radio systems. The first project focuses on the development of innovative signal detection and jamming capability to detect and defeat hostile drones while ensuring that non-hostile systems in the vicinity are not affected. For the second project, Plextek-DTS will develop a miniature radar that can be integrated into airborne drones in order to detect, track and accurately target hostile drones.

The competition run by DASA – the MOD’s innovation hub – on behalf of Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), is the latest stage in Dstl’s ongoing research programme into countering unmanned air systems (UAS). The competition is also supported by the Department for Transport and NATO to counter the rapidly evolving threats from UAS.

“Drones are increasingly being used to conduct hostile activities due to their relatively low cost, ease of deployment and lack of technologies to adequately counter them,” said Dr. Aled Catherall, Head of Technology, at Plextek-DTS. “The threat posed is advancing rapidly and drones are being used effectively against military targets and to disrupt critical national infrastructure. New technologies to counter the drone threat is therefore required and the two projects awarded to Plextek-DTS will help to provide a significant step towards achieving an effective counter-drone capability.”

For more information about the DASA competition, please visit: https://bit.ly/34BLjZQ

For more information from Plextek-DTS, call Edwina Mullins on +44 (0) 1799 533200 or email: press@plextek.com or visit: www.plextek-dts.com

Plextek’s Annual Make-a-thon

Thomas Rouse - Senior Consultant, Medical & Healthcare

By: Thomas Rouse
Lead Consultant

24th October 2019

4 minute read

Home » Business

Thomas Rouse explains what a make-a-thon is and why it’s important for innovation.

What is a Make-a-thon? Well for us it’s a more constructive version of a hackathon, both literally and metaphorically. Plextek’s annual Make-a-thon is a chance for graduates through to senior consultants to work in teams to make amazing creations in a day. Why is this important? As a company grows, activities like Make-a-thons can test our normal working practices, help us to focus on the essentials, evaluate what it means to be innovative and just have fun with our colleagues using lots of cool tools.

The Results:

Team Green UI (Richard Emmerson, Steve Fitz, Ben Skinner and Ivan Saunders) have developed a novel user interface that can tell users the weather using a visual dome display that mechanically points to different weather states: rain, snow, mist, fog, sun, day, night – also a lot more energy efficient than displaying on a screen. Interesting to see what you can do away from traditional display technology using energy-efficient methods.

Team Infant Suffocation ( Polly Britton, Daniel Tomlinson, Alan Cucknell, Edson Silva) have developed a proof of concept for new parents with infants. Monitoring the fluctuation of the infant’s chest (using a soft flexible strap) while breathing, the device would alert the parent if the infant’s breathing became irregular. Measuring the voltage across an electrically conductive material to monitor the breathing, the material’s resistance would change according to the pressure created by the force of an inhale/exhale. A low cost, low power solution that democratises baby safety.

Engineers

Team Posture Detection (Ehsan Abedi, Thomas Childs, Bhavin Patel, Gifty Mbroh) looked at developing a proof of concept that could take readings across a number of different points across the back to detect and alert the user to incorrect posture. A novel use of accelerometers that looks to address the health issues of bad posture, either from sitting or standing, for prolonged periods of time.

Team Microfluidics (Kieran Bhuiyan, Frederick Saunders, Poppy Oldroyd) aimed to demonstrate whether low-cost microfluidic systems can be made using rapid prototyping. A microfluidic channel was made in acrylic and various concentrations of saltwater were supplied to these channels. Measuring the rate of flow demonstrated that geometrically consistent channels could be made using rapid prototyping. The results of which proved that solutions with a higher salinity did indeed have a higher viscosity.

Team Autism EEG (Tom Rouse, Josip Rožman, Glenn Wilkinson, Elliot Langran) have developed a proof of concept system using real-time neurofeedback and a traffic light wristband. The idea is to assist autistic children in identifying emotions, as many have difficulty with this. Brainwaves measured using low-cost EEG sensors and a Raspberry Pi running a Multilayer perceptron (MLP) determined whether Elliot was calm or stressed and gave near-instant feedback. The model had been trained on the day especially for him, based on two 5 minute measurements while he was experiencing different emotions. The device can, therefore, be personalised to both the individual and the concepts they would like to understand.

This year’s make-a-thon was run our Summer student Poppy and myself. Many thanks Poppy!

As you can see, giving a short timeframe can focus the mind to create amazing solutions that otherwise could take longer. Lean working can create innovation where you least expect it!

If you have any questions about any of the projects and would like to know more about any of our projects in the make-a-thon, do get in touch – I’d love to hear from you!

Thomas Rouse explains what a make-a-thon is and why it’s important for innovation.

What is a Make-a-thon? Well for us it’s a more constructive version of a hackathon, both literally and metaphorically. Plextek’s annual Make-a-thon is a chance for graduates through to senior consultants to work in teams to make amazing creations in a day. Why is this important? As a company grows, activities like Make-a-thons can test our normal working practices, help us to focus on the essentials, evaluate what it means to be innovative and just have fun with our colleagues using lots of cool tools.

The Results:

Team Green UI (Richard Emmerson, Steve Fitz, Ben Skinner and Ivan Saunders) have developed a novel user interface that can tell users the weather using a visual dome display that mechanically points to different weather states: rain, snow, mist, fog, sun, day, night – also a lot more energy efficient than displaying on a screen. Interesting to see what you can do away from traditional display technology using energy-efficient methods.

Team Infant Suffocation ( Polly Britton, Daniel Tomlinson, Alan Cucknell, Edson Silva) have developed a proof of concept for new parents with infants. Monitoring the fluctuation of the infant’s chest (using a soft flexible strap) while breathing, the device would alert the parent if the infant’s breathing became irregular. Measuring the voltage across an electrically conductive material to monitor the breathing, the material’s resistance would change according to the pressure created by the force of an inhale/exhale. A low cost, low power solution that democratises baby safety.

Team Posture Detection (Ehsan Abedi, Thomas Childs, Bhavin Patel, Gifty Mbroh) looked at developing a proof of concept that could take readings across a number of different points across the back to detect and alert the user to incorrect posture. A novel use of accelerometers that looks to address the health issues of bad posture, either from sitting or standing, for prolonged periods of time.

Team Microfluidics (Kieran Bhuiyan, Frederick Saunders, Poppy Oldroyd) aimed to demonstrate whether low-cost microfluidic systems can be made using rapid prototyping. A microfluidic channel was made in acrylic and various concentrations of saltwater were supplied to these channels. Measuring the rate of flow demonstrated that geometrically consistent channels could be made using rapid prototyping. The results of which proved that solutions with a higher salinity did indeed have a higher viscosity.

Team Autism EEG (Tom Rouse, Josip Rožman, Glenn Wilkinson, Elliot Langran) have developed a proof of concept system using real-time neurofeedback and a traffic light wristband. The idea is to assist autistic children in identifying emotions, as many have difficulty with this. Brainwaves measured using low-cost EEG sensors and a Raspberry Pi running a Multilayer perceptron (MLP) determined whether Elliot was calm or stressed and gave near-instant feedback. The model had been trained on the day especially for him, based on two 5 minute measurements while he was experiencing different emotions. The device can, therefore, be personalised to both the individual and the concepts they would like to understand.

This year’s make-a-thon was run our Summer student Poppy and myself. Many thanks Poppy!

As you can see, giving a short timeframe can focus the mind to create amazing solutions that otherwise could take longer. Lean working can create innovation where you least expect it!

If you have any questions about any of the projects and would like to know more about any of our projects in the make-a-thon, do get in touch – I’d love to hear from you!

Nigel Whittle, Head of Medical & Healthcare, features in Critical Communications Today this week.

Drones have the potential to revolutionise public safety operations in areas such as fire and rescue. But there are regulatory and logistical barriers.

Drones are also being used in remote areas for the transfer of biological samples to hospitals, says Dr Nigel Whittle, head of medical and healthcare at Plextek. He points to an overseas company based in Indonesia. “They have a drone system to carry samples. They have navigation and control aspects and they need cameras and radars to help fly and avoid obstacles. We offer a sense-and-avoid radar system which can detect power lines. There are lots of these throughout the islands and you need to avoid them.”

Plextek’s sense-and-avoid millimetre-wave radar system operates at 60GHz. “It’s more for reconnaissance purposes – to fly around buildings, for example,” says Dr Whittle. “With a camera, you might not see obstacles, but with a millimetre-wave radar you might – and it works in bad weather too.”

To read the full article Click Here.

First city-wide Sentir monitoring system installed in New York with Con Edison

Cambridge, UK – 16th September 2019 – UK engineering and design consultancy, Plextek has been working with US-based CNIguard to develop a new IoT-based system to prevent manhole explosions, primarily caused by bad weather and flooding interacting with aging underground power infrastructures. For example, a mixture of melting snow and road salt can wash into manholes, leading to the electricity cables arcing.

In America’s biggest cities, hundreds of service manholes catch fire or explode every year, with the consequences ranging from serious injury to actual fatalities. In the UK, there have been more than 80 recorded incidents in London alone in the last few years, according to the UK Health and Safety Executive.

CNIguard’s new Sentir system – the first innovation of its type – is currently being deployed in New York by energy supplier Con Edison and being trialled by others, delivering successful results. It works by monitoring gas, stray voltages, arcing, salinity, temperature and humidity with embedded IoT sensors underground and transmitting these signals to a dashboard on a smart phone, laptop or other device by radio, cellular, PSTN, fibre optic or satellite links. The system uses powerful cloud-based analytics to identify and predict conditions that may result in an incident so that preventative actions can be taken to avoid a potential disaster.

The Sentir system also helps to secure underground boxes, chambers, vaults, cabinets, kiosks and bunkers from intrusion, theft and vandalism with the help of visual and infra-red cameras, while providing flood warnings and other safety, environmental and quality monitoring.

“Plextek’s expertise in communication and sensor systems allowed us to accelerate our development and rapidly deploy Sentir into the market,” said Dr. Edward Klinger, CEO of CNIguard. “Their work has enabled Sentir to include several different variations of environmental sensor with cellular capability powered by a reliable long-life battery or harvested power from underground cables themselves.”

“Up until this technology was developed, these issues have been approached by utility companies and networks in a reactionary way, so little has been done to predict or prevent conditions which could cause explosions or stray voltage events,” added Klinger. “On top of this, global urban populations are set to rise, putting increased pressure on networks and this combined with environmental and climate factors will make these incidents even more common.”

Following the successful launch with Con Edison in New York, CNIguard is looking to work with other energy suppliers in the UK and around the world, helping to increase the safety of city street infrastructures and networks.

Notes to editors

About Plextek
Based near Cambridge, UK, Plextek designs new products, systems, and services for its clients in a diverse range of industries including defence & security, medical & healthcare, and wireless communications.

Central to its culture is the company’s ability to innovate, taking an idea from concept to market. For more than 25 years the team of consultants, engineers and project managers has turned our clients’ business opportunities into commercial success, designing, manufacturing and supplying leading-edge products. Supported by our network of suppliers, commercial partners and research organisations, Plextek is the trusted partner of choice for more than 300 commercial clients, government agencies, and ambitious start-up companies.

About CNIguard
CNIguard is a high technology firm delivering infrastructure protection and asset management solutions to the energy, electricity, water, transportation and other vital sectors. Our devices include Sentir (Manhole Monitoring System), GasMarshal (Gas Monitoring System), InDetect (Intrusion Detection System) and OverLine (Overhead Line Monitoring System).
https://www.cniguard.com/about-us/

For images, information or interview requests, please contact: Adam Roberts via email: press@plextek.com or call: +44 (0) 1799 533200