250Mpix sensor

Canon develops 250 Mpixel CMOS image sensor

I came across this article on EE-times. A quarter gigapixels on a chip smaller than an old 35mm negative is a fantastic accomplishment—but what does it really mean?

The array of 19,580 by 12,600 pixels measures 29.2mm by 20.2mm—a fraction over APS-H format; that gives it a pixel pitch of about 1.5µm. Those pixels are somewhat larger than for commodity mobile phone 8-16 Mpixel imager chips (1.2µm) but a lot smaller than for your typical consumer DSLR (about 3µm), let alone professional DSLR (over 5µm).

Twenty Pound notes

Innovation Vouchers: Up to £5k for expert advice

Through InnovateUK’s “Innovation Vouchers” scheme SMEs can get up to £5k to pay for expert advice on innovation: This specifically includes product design and engineering. Panchromos qualifies both as Design Advisor and as Technical Consultancy, which makes this scheme suitable for kicking off a product development project with new clients.

At the start of a product development project there are a number of big questions that need to be answered: What is the main problem we’re trying to solve? What will the solution roughly look like? What are the main technical or project risks we’re facing? What is the project plan—resources, timing and deliverables?

iTeam Lent 2015 Gax

Who wants a pocket gas chromatograph?

This lent term I’m once again mentoring an i-Teams group (and eating plenty of pizza doing so). We’re looking at potential market applications for a small hand-held gas chromatograph (GC) with a thermal conductivity sensor.

The technology is the result of the research done by Dr. R. Vasant Kumar and Dr. Sohab Sarfraz of the department of Material Science and Metallurgy. The novelty of their thermal conductivity sensor—in itself a very well established sensor type—is that their version is insensitive to gas flow rate variations.

ISO 13485 certification

ISO 13485: My journey to certification – success

Last week I took scope of what I’d done: I solved all major non-conformances to the satisfaction of my assessor, and agreed to put my certification audit forward by one day

The last week has been hectic but not with ISO 13485 stuff: I was hard at work finishing another Horizon 2020 proposal I’m writing for a consortium of 16 parties—this one on using advanced simulation techniques in design and manufacturing. That was submitted yesterday just before 4pm.

Must read books

5 must-reads for aspiring entrepreneurs

Here are 5 must-read books for aspiring entrepreneurs. If you think you’ve got a great technology and are looking to create a start-up company to bring it to market these offer some food for thought.

1. The four steps to the epiphany – Steve Blank

The basic premise of this book is that the usual path a start-up follows to market—the Product Development path—is mis-used to guide all other business functions: Marketing, sales and operations. What works for product development turns out to be ill-suited for launching novel products into uncharted or undefined markets: A situation faced by many technology-driven start-ups.
The alternative Blank promotes is the path of Customer Development, where the most significant milestone is not “product ready for launch”, but “sales model validated by customers”.

Gloved hand with syringe

ISO 13485: My journey to certification – infrastructure

I work from home, where I have a comfortable office, small lab and well-equipped workshop

As far as the ISO 13485 standard is concerned, these rooms (two spare bedrooms and my garage) and the equipment, tools, machinery, IT systems and services I use in client projects are all part of the infrastructure used for product realisation, and I should therefore identify and maintain them.

Refuse collector

Horizon 2020 SME instrument

I’m once again involved in writing two Horizon 2020 proposals. One of them is for the “SME-instrument” where a single SME can apply

The SME-instrument offers support for the commercialisation of innovations that are fairly close to market. A phase-1 project is a feasibility study, where the EC will give a lump sum of EUR 50k to conduct a (commercial) feasibility study and come up with a detailed business plan. In phase-2 this business plan can be further developed through prototyping, operational validation etc. An SME does not have to do a phase-1 project but can directly apply for phase-2 if they have a detailed business plan. In phase-2, 70% of the eligible cost are funded by the EC—which is a pretty good deal.

Gloved hand with syringe

ISO 13485: My journey to certification – assessment visit

I’ve just had a first assessment visit by CQS (Certified Quality Systems), the certifying organisation I’m working with. That left me with a pretty positive feeling that I’ll be able to achieve certification within two months.

CQS’s Allan Baskerville is a big fan of using flowcharts. I also found that making them is very illustrative, as it forces you to think about the key activities and decision points in your processes. Allan’s most used phrase in our conversation was “is there appropriate evidence to support that …”. In a fair number of cases I could say “yes” to that.

Gloved hand with syringe

ISO 13485: My journey to certification – preparation

The first thing I needed to do was to define the scope of the certification. In my case “product realisation” includes design and development but excludes series manufacturing.

If I make prototypes or models they are not stand-alone products, but secondary to the engineering documentation I’m delivering. This means that those clauses in the standard dealing with production issues—and for medical devices there are quite a few—are not applicable.

Talk by Jaideep Prabhu

Jugaad Innovation: frugal, flexible and inclusive

Earlier this evening I attended a Cambridge Network event where Jaideep Prabhu—co-author of the book “Jugaad Innovation” and professor at the Judge Business School—gave a talk about innovation practices in developing economies.

Compared to their counterparts in the affluent West, Indian innovators seem to be more:

  • Frugal. They need to do more with less resources
  • Flexible. High uncertainty means they need to change their plans more often
  • Inclusive. Targeted at reaching consumers and partners outside the established economy

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