Researchers in CEPE and USW's Wireless and Optoelectronics Research and Innovation Centre worked under the instruction of the Welsh Government’s Critical Equipment Requirements Engineering Team (CERET), led by Industry Wales to develop a locally-sourced medical grade oximeter in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In collaboration with Welsh Government, Panasonic UK, and clinicians at Hywel Dda University Health Board, the device, known as a pulse oximeter, has been designed to be manufactured in Wales and breaks away from the standard oximeter supply chains, effectively eliminating future sourcing bottlenecks.
The oximeter device clamps onto to a patient’s finger, allowing clinicians to monitor the level of oxygen in the bloodstream, and, importantly, the performance of their lungs. It also has the potential to be used in community settings, allowing clinicians to remotely assess patients with Covid-19 to monitor the performance of their lungs whilst at home, to determine appropriate and early lifesaving treatment such as CPAP to support breathing.
The design involves the development of a real-time system using ARM-CORTEX M series microcontroller utilising the Digital signal processing feature of the core.
The system fully utilised the peripherals and the communications interfaces to enhance the system reliability. Moreover, it uses CMSIS-RTOS for scheduling.
Ergonomics and suitability have been kept in mind when designing the enclosure and finger clamp. Additive manufacturing has allowed the first fully functional prototype to be ready in record time.
We turned around the concept from first principles to prototype in just two weeks, but have developed a product that importantly will provide high accuracies at lower oxygen levels, an essential requirement for effective Covid-19 treatment.
Research and development of an innovative entertainment system for commercial planes. Design and manufacture of a proof of concept including electronic hardware, embedded firmware, and integration into existing mechanical constraints.
As well as commercial work, CEPE conducts its own research, particularly into advanced digital systems. This is the development of a portable wireless vibration-monitoring device designed to measure collision impact on athletes in the field. The device has the capability to measure vibration in real time. Data is stored in the internal memory and can be downloaded after several measurements. The device utilises data from a 3-axis accelerometer that can be accessed real time as well as stored on a Flash memory for the period of 8 minutes. The device is small enough to operate with a coin cell battery and communicate wirelessly with the PC via a RF dongle.
A powerful and user friendly LabView application has been developed to display, log and process the data.
Research and Development of a hand held air flow measurement device to detect lung disease, based on the Venturi effect.
Development of a proof of concept of a low cost hand-held PCR machine. This project involved the development and electronic hardware with embedded PID temperature control, high definition photosensors and a Labview user interface.
Development of a teaching tool. Involved the development of a custom electronic hardware with embedded firmware and Labview user interface. Boxed up in a custom made enclosure.
Development of a custom air quality monitoring system, sensing CO2, Temperature, Humidity and PM2.5. All data is continuously sent via the LoRa network to the cloud for storage and analysis. The device is powered by batteries and solar panels, making it autonomous and easy to deploy.
The aim of the project was to deliver teaching lab equipment for the School of Engineering to support and enhance student experience.
A Temperature Controlled Boiler (TCB) was custom designed, developed and manufactured by CEPE engineers with embedded firmware and Labview user interface to measure the real time temperature and control the 95-watt heating element attached to the system. It was boxed up in a custom made enclosure.
The measured data can be graphically visualised on a LabVIEW platform. Students are given the flexibility to experiment with a number of closed loop control theories using this equipment such as Proportional controller (P), Proportional Integral Controller (PI) and Proportional Integral Derivative Controller (PID). The equipment also allows students to experiment with temperature calibration mechanism which uses two thermistors and thermocouple.
The University of South Wales (USW) has been awarded £43,000 from the Welsh Government’s Covid-19 RD&I fund to do research into wrist-worn technology that can measure a person’s temperature over a full day.
If the research is successful, the armbands could be used to discover if an individual has been suffering from fever in the previous 24 hours, and whether they need further tests to see if they have a Covid-19 infection.
Led by Alexandre Oleon, a design engineer and lecturer in Automotive Engineering at USW, the project will look at a way to log body temperature over a 24-hour period in an effort to help identify the presence of virus-induced fevers.
The relative temperature measurements will be taken via a bespoke wristband, which will trigger a notification on entering a variety of areas, such as a school or university, or other community settings.
USW is working with manufacturing business Procter Bros, which has a base in Bedwas, Caerphilly, to develop a thermal imaging system that can be triggered by the same connection.
Government Covid funding and/or private investment funding will be applied for to scale up the trials if the concept is proven, IP protected, and market requirements identified. It will also be designed for manufacture in Wales via licensing agreements.
It is expected that the technology could have applications in a wide range of workplace and community settings across the world.
Development of a teaching tool for embedded firmware modules. Involved the development of a custom electronic hardware.
This is another commercial product to interface a newly sourced touchscreen colour display to a RapberryPi. EMC and enclosure constraints have been kept in mind during the design process. The design review contains power supply design, HDMI interface and the touch colour controller for the screen.
The upgraded version of the old embedded system teaching development platform was designed and developed to deliver a cutting edge learning experience to our BEng/MEng students. The newer Renesas Rx63N platform replaced the Renesas M16C. The replacement of a 32 bit MCU range is fully enabled modern Microcontroller with features such as DSP and Floating point calculations which were not facilitated by the previous version of M16C series.
The USB powered platform has a number of advantages including design flexibility where more I/Os are enabled for single board usage, which is perfect for students to continue to use the same platform without needing to learn another MCU series to minimise the learning curve. The board has been designed to be compatible to a wider custom designed motherboard that includes peripherals such as LEDs, H bridge, LCD display and switches.
Dr Ali Roula, Director of CEPE